Just in time for Autumn’s bountiful harvest and the cooler days’ call to turn on our ovens and roast up the plentiful produce coming from our local farmer’s fields, we are thrilled to announce the release of the first-ever Birchwood cookbook!
Like all cooking and sharing of food, this book was a labor of love. Over ten years in the making (that’s what happens when you simultaneously plan a major cafe remodel, tackle rezoning AND welcome new babies into the world!), it truly reflects the spirit of our “Good Real Food” with a wide variety of recipes you can take into your own home kitchen. It’s in many ways an invitation to cook like us, to source ingredients locally and seasonally, and to learn a little bit more about the cafe’s story and some of our farmer friends.
The Zen meal prayer that greets guests as they enter the cafe is at the heart of all we do (I actually first found it in a cookbook!): “Innumerable measures bring us this food. We should know how it comes to us.” This quote reminds us to be grateful for every farmer, every distributor, every cook, server & dishwasher — even our composting service that converts food scraps back into soil — every partner who helps bring these ingredients to our table. I can’t think of a better way to honor these relationships than this book! It reveals how connected we are to the land, the animals, the environment, and ultimately to each other.
We hope YOU make new connections through exploring this book. Get to know your local farmers as you shop for ingredients, learn what foods are in season in our region, and welcome loved ones to the table to share a meal. It’s a cookbook that’s meant to be used, really used! We hope the pages get spattered and stuck, dog-eared, and marked up. Write-in your own variations, pass on the ideas and inspiration to fellow cooks, and let us know how it goes!
We approach every new menu season (for us, there are eight: Autumn, Dusk, Frost, Winter, Thaw, Spring, Summer, and Scorch) not just by calendar, but in dialogue with each farmer, distributor, and producer to ask what’s available and what’s at its peak. Inside the book you’ll find 120 recipes, organized by our eight seasons, alongside beautiful photos and peeks into the lives of some of the farmers with whom we work. There are make-at-home versions of our Savory Waffle, Hand Pie, Turkey Burger, Broccoli Salad, Heirloom Tomato Sweet Corn BLT, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, and vegan, gluten-free Donuts. Chef Marshall’s “Cook’s Notes” are also spread throughout to give you extra insight and tips on technique. All of the recipes in the table of contents are marked whether it’s vegan or gluten-free, too!
To celebrate the release of “The Birchwood Cafe Cookbook” we’re throwing a Launch Party on Thursday, October 22nd in the cafe’s Community Room. Join myself, Marshall, and our collaborators Beth Dooley and Mette Nielsen. We’ll all be on-hand to sign books and talk about the experience of putting the collection together. We’ll have snacks and sips to share, as well as signed copies of the cookbook for sale (also available for pre-sale).
Food can be a transformative part of your day, and even your life. Both Marshall and I have had personal transformations that started with food. For me, it began with my serving job at Lucia’s, where I began to understand the value of real food and its impact on my own life as well as the lives of the people who grow, cook, serve, and enjoy it. I truly believe that eating this way is a recipe for greater connection, compassion, and overall engagement in life. When we see the impact of our food choices, we see how we’re all agents for change. We CAN make a difference.
For Marshall, too, as he works to shape Birchwood’s menu, the cafe shapes him. Since joining us in 2007, he has altered his eating habits and taken up yoga, and his patient, respectful approach has helped make Birchwood one of the most desirable places in town to work, where employees and purveyors are trusted collaborators in the day-to-day operation. “We encourage our servers and cooks to partner in making Good Real Food, as well as to be good people, healthy people, fully present, connected people,” Marshall says. “Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.”
We can’t promise this cookbook will transform your life, but we hope it’ll at least inspire your cooking! Recreate a beloved Birchwood classic in your kitchen, or use our recipe as a launching point to experiment with ingredients heretofore unknown! Who knows what could happen! They say the revolution starts at home, and after welcoming you into our home, the Birchwood Cafe, for over 20 years, we are beyond joyful to finally welcome the spirit and flavors of our recipes into your kitchen. We invite you to cook like we do. Get to know your ingredients and where they come from, and bring a little Birchwood home!
With love and gratitude,
Tracy & the Birchwood Cafe crew