In the summer of 2011, I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph Sandra L. Oliver’s book, Maine Home Cooking: 175 Recipes from Down East Kitchens. Working with Sandy (and the Down East Books crew) and photographing on Islesboro island was a rare treat. The food was amazing, sumptuous, and beautiful; the laughter contagious; and the surroundings a dream to photograph.

Maine Home Cooking is not only a terrific book to draw culinary inspiration from, it also captures Sandy’s humorous voice and character. She relates entertaining stories about the recipes, shares her passion for food history, gives sound and helpful advice, and connects us to local foods (from her own bountiful gardens to Maine’s local growers).

I know I am slightly biased, but the imagery in the book offers a sense of place on many levels: We explore inside the farmhouse, outside in the gardens, around the island. From the depths of the cellar we spy canning jars residing on shelves; in the garden one of Sandy’s cats is on the prowl; along the shoreline a cairn rises above the stony beach; we bid adieu and depart on the ferry to head back to the mainland.

This delightful book celebrates recipes from the past and new ones from the present. As an avid cook and person interested in learning about the history of food, I find Maine Home Cooking an excellent jumping off point for more adventures in my own kitchen, and I bet you will, too!

From the Publisher: About Maine Home Cooking:

Residing on Maine’s Islesboro Island, Sandra Oliver is a revered food historian with a vast knowledge of New England food history, subsistence living, and Yankee cooking. For the past five years she has published her weekly recipe column “Tastebuds” in the Bangor Daily News. The column has featured hundreds of—from classic tried-and-true dishes to innovative uses for traditional ingredients. Collecting more than three hundred recipes from her column and elsewhere, and emphasizing fresh, local ingredients, as well as the common ingredients found in most kitchens, this volume represents a new standard in home cooking.

(Down East Books; September, 2012; Hardcover; 7″ x 9″; 240 pages; 40 color photos; ISBN: 978-1-60893-180-4.)

Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Powell’s

Available direct from the publisher: Down East Books.