all the faces familiar


This past Saturday, Danny and I had a date. Granted, it only lasted about an hour and a half. It was in the middle of the afternoon. And we went shopping at the farmers’ market. Still. Both kids were hanging out at my brother’s house with my parents, whom they adore. We were free to walk together, holding hands, and buy salmon. Hurrah!

This summer lurched by us. With all this medical stuff, running a business that’s going in a dozen interesting directions at once, writing this site, and marketing a cookbook by talking about it every day for months (and showing photographs of the baked goods and dishes we made again for this purpose), all without school or much childcare? Well, I had nearly reached my limit by the end of August. Calgon, take me away! (Autocorrect keeps wanting to change that to Calvin, take me away, which frankly is much funnier than my intended sentence.)

A week or two can make a big difference.

The cookbook is out. So many of you have been writing, sharing photographs and stories of the dishes you have been making. It has absolutely made our year to hear about your joy in eating lasagna with slow-roasted tomato sauce, coconut layer cake, bagels, St. Louis gooey buttery cake, chicken fried steak, smoky corn fritters, date shake coffee cake, cornbread, pizza, hazelnut banana bread, buckwheat crepes, key lime pie, heirloom tomato soup with goat cheese croutons, green chile breakfast pie, English muffins, yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting, buttermilk chess pie, hoagie rolls, whoopie pies, hot and sour soup, sandwich bread, and Texas sheet cake. (And that’s just on Instagram!) We loved creating this book for two years. Marketing a book is hard, hard work, mostly wandering in the desert of sales rankings and pre-order reports, wondering. Now? This book is yours, not just ours. We are blown away by how happy the people who are cooking and baking out of the book seem to be. Some people have made 6 to 8 dishes already and are sharing it all with us! Keep it coming.

(If you did buy American Classics Reinvented, and you have been enjoying it, would you consider writing a review on Amazon? The more voices that sing out about happiness with the book, the more other people who might love the food in it are likely to hear about it. Thanks!)

A week after the book was published, school began again. Lucy started the first grade. First grade! This one is a big leap up. She’s a big kid now, in all-day school. She eats lunch in the cafeteria with the rest of the school. Four recesses! she told us at the end of the first day, joyfully. This kid continues to dance and grin, take life in her stride, and make us laugh every day. Oh, we adore her. And having her in school again — and darling Desmond in daycare three days a week now — means we can actually work, uninterrupted, for hours at a time.

We are new people.

How do we celebrate? We go to the Vashon farmers’ market, where all the faces are familiar. Where we know our farmers by their first names. Where there are not many stalls — maybe 12? — but we linger at each one. Where we buy our salmon from the young man who caught those fish on a boat in the waters of Alaska the week before.

Some people have bars where everyone knows his or her name. We have the Vashon farmers’ market.

late summer collage

It’s fall, really. But the last lingering warmth of summer means heirloom tomatoes so ripe that one too-firm squeeze means a burst of juice and seeds. We made a cashew-leek romesco sauce with these tomatoes and a handful of garlic and red peppers, some sherry vinegar, and a splash of good olive oil. That sauce drizzled on top of shrimp roasted with smoked paprika and a pile of zucchini noodles was so good that both kids ate an entire bowl. This morning we had a frittata with ham, sliced olives, swiss chard, and roasted potatoes and drizzled the romesco on top of it. A few tomatoes from the farmers’ market go a long way.

I wish I had bought some of those beans, though.

Asian pears

I don’t remember eating Asian pears when I grew up in southern California. They’re everywhere here. Crisp and only lightly sweet, juicy without too much running down the chin, smooth and surprising — these have a light pear flavor with the crunch of an apple.

There’s a cider orchard and winery here on Vashon called Nashi Orchards that makes its cider out of the Asian pears they grow. Soon I’ll go visit and share the story about these folks. There are some incredible people on Vashon growing great gardens, roasting coffee, running supper clubs, making cheese, brewing kombucha, baking bread, creating great ice cream, and constantly interacting with food in a way that isn’t trendy but meant to feed people. We’re going to be sharing more of their stories with you here soon. I love this place, this crazy little island where we live.

That was one of our favorite parts of creating American Classics Reinvented: the specific regional dishes that most Americans might know know. Before we started making that book, I’d never heard of Amish potato filling or the Midwestern tater tot hot dish or tuna poke from Hawaii. I love those dishes now.



If we’re lucky, we have a place called home. Good food is part of what makes that place a home.

Soon, we’ll share with you a new idea we have, a way to gather people at your table to make the comfort foods of where you live. We won’t be touring much with this book. Instead, we’d love to see what you make. (However, we could show up for a brief appearance, if you want.)

We’re also going to be offering more baking classes on Vashon and Seattle soon. More bread classes! And in November and December, plenty of holiday baking classes. (Maybe one or two for kids, as well.)

In the meantime, if you’re in Seattle, I’ll be making an appearance at Book Larder at 6:30 on Tuesday evening. I’d love to meet you and hear about the food of the place where you call home. Certainly, I’m also going to have treats from the book in hand. Come on out, if you can.

And we’d love to hear about the dishes you love, the comfort food you associate with family and friends, that might not have made it into our book. We’re in the mood to start re-inventing again. Right now, we’re working on an apple cake from a recipe sent to us by a sweet young woman who reads this site. Her mother, who is no longer here, never shared this family recipe with anyone. But Rachael gave us permission to make it and share it with you. Next week, we’ll offer you some of Marian’s Apple Cake, in time for the Jewish holidays.

If you have a family recipe you’d like us to make gluten-free, send me an email at Let’s talk.

In the meantime, I hope that soon you have time for a walk, hand in hand, with the person you love most in this world.

Maybe at the farmers’ market this weekend?


22 comments on “all the faces familiar

  1. Heather

    When you mentioned “Calvin”, I immediately thought of Calvin and Hobbes, and their game CalvinBall, because of course that’s what autocorrect meant 😉

  2. Stacy

    Your mention of tater tot hotdish made me smile. It’s a dish that my husband, a Colorado-born and Maine-raised transplant to Minnesota, has grown to love.
    Looking forward to your planned posts about Vashon food producers, it sounds like a very special place.

  3. Lisa

    You’re actually late with the apple cake for the Jewish holidays – the apple and honey holiday (Rosh Hashana) was yesterday and today. Yes, there are more Jewish holidays coming up (Yom Kippur, which is next Wednesday, is a fasting day, with food only at the very end), and Sukkot (harvest holiday) after that, but apple cake is traditional for Rosh Hashana primarily.

  4. Laura B

    Just ordered your cookbook, can’t wait!
    Also, can’t wait wait for the apple cake recipe. (Btw, Rosh Hashanah ended today at sundown, the cake would have been perfect. Yom Kippur is next week)

  5. Jamie

    Hello, Shauna and family! Thank you so much for all the wonderful recipes, stories, and inspiration. This is not specific to this post, but a request for direction and suggestion – although I am going to the farmer’s market tomorrow with my son who is certainly one of the people I love most.
    That same son makes the world’s best cheesecake – county-fair-blue-ribbon-winning cheesecake. ‘Please make five for our rehearsal dinner’ cheesecake. The most requested cake in our family, and we are craving it.
    In the spring, my daughter became our family’s gluten-free girl, with a celiac dignosis and while we can find ( or make) GF graham crackers, cream cheese is not so sure. There was already a careless moment where we did not check the package well enough, and after having a couple of pieces, she was wiped out. Well, we did check then, and there is wheat in that facility. What brand do you recommend ? Thanks so much!

    1. shauna

      Jamie, I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter. Cream cheese should be gluten-free! We use Nancy’s organic cream cheese, which has never made me sick.

      1. Jamie

        Thank you! Being Oregonians, we love Nancy’s and will find it! My son has been making this since he was a little boy, and it is somethung he really loves to do!
        By the way, I ordered the new book and the Gluten-Free Girl American Classics Reinvented for my daughter, and when they arrived, texted her the recipes I desperately want to make or have her make and share. I think these are books that will end up spattered and loved!

  6. Lisa

    I have a question about the grain free flour blend in the cook book. It says that it needs Almond flour however that doesn’t seem to exist here in Australia. Google keeps correcting it to Almond Meal. Would you mind clarifying that it’s not almond meal and if it isn’t what substitute might work instead?

    1. Lisa

      Wanted to add, the book is beautiful. Even though it’s clearly an american recipe book, there are a lot of recipes that look great, or the components could be hijacked for a similar recipe. I’ve only used the gf flour mix once, and it worked really well. Pretty excited to have this flour blend recipe up my sleeve.

    2. shauna

      Lisa, almond meal is generally more coarse than almond flour. Here in the States, there are companies making finely ground almond flour. The meal you have will work but it won’t absorb liquids in the same way. You can just adjust accordingly

        1. Lisa

          I hope you don’t mind me posting again, but I just wanted to let other Aussies know that I’ve found Almond Flour in Coles in the health food aisle. It’s only a small packet but I was excited to find it exists!

  7. Louise Lacaille-Boost

    I would love the recipe for the shrimp and cashew-leek romesco sauce…any chance you could post it??

  8. Kristin

    I don’t know how I missed the June 30th post, but it has been quite a summer for us as well. I am so glad that your TIA wasn’t a bigger problem. I’m so sorry that Lu has to have surgery again, and the hearing loss…gah. We found out that our daughter had hearing loss when she was in kindergarten. It was shocker, as her language development was phenomenal, and the only sign was that she would occasionally miss a beginning consonant. Fortunately for her, she does not need hearing aids, but I remember the feeling of loss and heartache we felt one year when the audiologist messed up her test, the doc told us her hearing was getting worse (it was and remains stable since it was discovered), and that she would need hearing aids by high school. I’m sure you got back to reality and perspective at least as quickly as we did, and know that it’s not the end of the world. But there is still that feeling of loss and the pain and worry that our children will have to suffer in some way. Being a parent the by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but is definitely the most rewarding. Good luck with everything. You know there are many of us out here pulling for you.

  9. Jess

    Your cookbook is currently traveling and I will have it soon. I can’t wait to cook something and I wonder will it look as good as your photos.

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