Anna Del Maso had known that she wanted to be a chef since she was in the seventh grade. "Somehow everything in my life ends up being about food," she realizes, as she begins the latest of her food-themed quilts. Her twin passions have converged in a brand-new position as head chef for Elm Creek Quilts, Waterford, Pennsylvania's popular quilting retreat.
As she joins the circle of quilters at historic Elm Creek Manor, Anna is eager to preserve the manor's culinary heritage, dating to 1858, while also celebrating the new favorites of their many guests. Yet as Master Quilter Sylvia Bergstrom Compson well knows, the manor's kitchen, last updated in the 1940s, can't create food that compares to the state-of-the-art quilting instruction for which Elm Creek Quilts is renowned.
A full renovation of the kitchen must be completed by the start of the new camp season. Though the task is daunting, Anna is assured in her belief that "A kitchen is the heart of a home." As she and Sylvia begin to dismantle the old to make way for the new, Sylvia's reminiscences remind them both of just how many of the manor's traditions have involved food and celebrations. Whether the feast is one of the holiday menus prepared and enjoyed by generations of Bergstroms, or one of the Welcome Banquets and Farewell Breakfasts that have become hallmarks of Elm Creek Quilt Camp, there is a story for every recipe, and a recipe for every story.
The Quilter's Kitchen follows Anna's flavorful explorations of the kitchens of Elm Creek Manor, past and present. As she records beloved recipes and creates original dishes seasoned with love, she discovers anew how the gifts of the table gather friends and family ever closer.
Find out how Chef Anna ends up writing the official cookbook for the Elm Creek Quilters and get 100 recipes in the bargain. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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1 . Long on recipes, short on stories
Posted October 02, 2009 by Jutta , WinnipegAs a fan of Jennifer Chiaverini's stories I was very disappointed when I downloaded the book and found out that it was less than 350 pages in medium fond. Even more disappointment followed when I found out that each story was accompanied not by one or two recipes but five and more. This is more a cookbook with some interspersed stories than a novel with some recipes.
Simon & Schuster
October 06, 2008
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Excerpt from The Quilter's Kitchen by Jennifer Chiaverini
Chapter One Welcome BanquetAs Jeremy turned the car off the main highway from Waterford and onto the narrow gravel road that wound through the leafy wood encircling the Bergstrom estate, Anna instinctively clutched her seat cushion with one hand and braced herself against the dashboard with the other. "Maybe when we're finished remodeling the kitchen," she said, voice shaking with each bump and jolt, "we can convince Sylvia to do something about this road."Jeremy kept his eyes on the winding way that led into the forest; if a car approached from the opposite direction, he would have to react quickly and pull halfway off the road to avoid a collision. Both sides of his car were already marked with fine scratches from past diversions into the underbrush. "I doubt it," he replied, his wire-rimmed glasses sliding down his nose a millimeter or two with every pothole. "Sylvia's a traditionalist. The longer you know her, the more you'll realize that she's reluctant to alter the old family estate too much." "She's letting me make big changes to the kitchen," Anna reminded him.Jeremy shrugged and offered her his familiar cheerful, crooked grin. "Only because she didn't think you'd take the job otherwise."As much as Anna was thrilled with her new position as Elm Creek Manor's chef, she had to admit that Sylvia had guessed correctly. She would never forget her first glimpse of the kitchen when she had come to the manor for her job interview. It was larger than she expected to find in a building constructed in 1858, but there was not a single appliance post-1945 except for a tiny microwave on the counter, possibly the first ever invented by the look of it. The pantry was spacious and well stocked, but poorly lit and so badly organized that it would have taken Anna longer to find ingredients for one of her signature dishes than to mix them together. And as for the cooking utensils left to soak in the sink...The whisk looked to be at least fifty years old, which wouldn't have bothered her had it not been bent out of shape, and the hand mixer had rust, actual rust, on the handle. How the Elm Creek Quilters had managed to feed fifty-plus people three meals a day with that four-burner gas stove was a mystery, but Anna knew that she couldn't work in such conditions, not after being spoiled by the sparkling clean, modern facilities at Waterford College. Fortunately Sylvia had agreed that the kitchen was long overdue for an upgrade, and she had accepted Anna's condition for taking the job.Now that Elm Creek Quilt Camp had ended for the season, Sylvia and Anna would launch the remodeling process in earnest. With weeks of planning and hours of consultation behind them, in two days they would usher in a team of workmen to tear out old cupboards and haul away dilapidated appliances, to demolish the wall between the kitchen and the west sitting room, to install new wiring, lighting, shelving, appliances, and everything else Anna desired and Sylvia's budget would allow. If all went well, Anna would have a fully operational, professional kitchen in time for the holiday feasts she intended to prepare for her new colleagues.She hoped, in time, that they would become her friends.Late-morning sunlight broke through the leafy wood, gold and rust and scarlet with autumn, as the road forked, wound through the trees, and emerged beside a sunlit apple orchard. They passed a red barn, climbed a low hill, and crossed the bridge over Elm Creek. All at once the manor came into view -- three stories of gray stone and dark wood surrounded by autumnal beauty.Anna knew the Elm Creek Quilters considered the grand manor a second home. She was an Elm Creek Quilter now, too, she reminded herself. Perhaps in time Elm Creek Manor would become as important to her as it was to her new coworkers.On the other side of the creek, the road broadened into a parking lot that circled two towering