Giving away The Homemade Pantry

When I grow up, I want to live high on a cliff in a little house with a red door, with the city close enough to bike to, with green and beach everywhere. There will be maple trees that turn bright orange and red in fall, and baby goats on my house’s grass roof. Nick will hunt in the forest and fish the water, and I will pick clams out of the sand and plant radishes in the garden and write stories from my breakfast nook. We will have kittens and teacup pigs and golden retrievers. There will be dinner parties every Saturday and long picnic lunches with pink wine that last until dusk every Sunday. When you come to visit we will drink hot tea and cold cider, and eat the bread I made fresh that morning with homemade ricotta and jam made from the blackberries that grow on the path down the hill to the shore.

I am a long way away from this, but it’s nice to fantasize and I often let my mind wander. Especially on days like today, where I misjudge the weather and wear sparkly ballet flats and capri pants when galoshes and a raincoat would have been a wiser choice and I come home with wet feet and make-up that’s traveled to all the wrong parts of my face. (When I grow up, I will know to buy waterproof mascara.) Especially this week, when it seems like I could do anything, because suddenly I am unemployed and don’t have any place to be.

There is a blog I like to visit, and it’s written by a charming woman from the type of verdant place I’d like to someday live. I’ve followed it for years now, since she first said hello to me. She writes about grand adventures and everyday ephemera, and the way she writes makes me feel like I am there with her in her kitchen, sitting at her table, nibbling warm pastries filled with homemade jam. And while I am always trying to write a book, she has actually gone and done it. Alana is who I want to be when I grow up.

The Homemade Pantry is a wonderful book, eloquent and beautiful, and it’s filled with recipes for things you can absolutely make but always just buy. Why not fill your freezer with homemade toaster pastries and wholesome chicken nuggets, and why not make your own mustard, butter, tea, vanilla extract, or crackers? These are all things any of us can make with things we already have in our kitchens and just a quiet weekend afternoon or weekday morning.

I want to give you this book. Well, one of you. I would give it to everyone but even in my grown-up fantasy I don’t have a lot of money. (This is something I should amend for future daydreams, maybe.)

Leave me a comment below and tell me a little story about the best thing you’ve ever eaten, made, or grown. On the evening of May 2, I’ll put the names in a hat and pick a winner at random. I’ll mail it anywhere, so it doesn’t matter where you’re from.

I’m really looking forward to sharing The Homemade Pantry with you!

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28 thoughts on “Giving away The Homemade Pantry

  1. This sounds great! I’m really starting to work homemade items into my lifestyle. One of the best things I’ve made was a gingerbread trifle dessert with homemade gingerbread, fresh whipped cream, rasberries, and a few other things that I don’t remember right now. It looked so pretty and was really yummy! Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to win this book, it really looks like a neat read.

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  2. Raspberries straight out of my mother’s garden on the warm august evenings of my youth. My brothers and I would graze for an eternity if it were allowed, our faces always stained red with their sweetness.

    A friend pointed me your way and I am so glad she did, this place is delightful! I’m sorry about work, I heard the story and it is awful. Your future life sounds way better than that place anyway, now go out and get it!

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  3. I’ll come to your dinner parties on saturdays and have you all over for dinner parties on sundays. I make the world’s best hot chocolate — It’s really drinking chocolate and I make cardamum whip cream to put on top or to spoon into you mouth before each sip. And you can add all kinds of liquors to it. It’s a very versatile beverage.

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  4. A cinnamon bun … it was made with yams, so it was kind of orange and very moist, and it had the perfect amount of perfect icing and buttery cinnamon that caramelized at the bottom just right. Perfect balance of crispy and chewy. I dream of being rolled up in one and eating my way out ;).

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  5. What a lovely image. You had me at the beach.
    Probably the best thing I ever made was mushroom-goat cheese rustic tarts. I have always been a bit afraid of pastry, but this time, the pastry worked and the savoury tart was tasty, tasty, tasty. A hit at Thanksgiving that year.

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  6. My husband is a true city boy, and one of my best memories of food is taking him blueberry picking for the first time. He ate a blueberry right off the bush and said that the blueberries tasted artificial. This was his first taste of a truly fresh blueberry, and he had no clue that store bought blueberries are only half as flavorful as the real stuff. To this day, fresh blueberries from a bush are my favorite.

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  7. All the best meals I’ve ever had happened in Italy. But the best thing I’ve ever cooked …. I make a mean meat pie. It’s so simple and totally idiot-proof and works every time.

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  8. Any meal paired with a good wine is a fabulous meal in my mind! I do make a mean ‘healthy’ chocolate brownie made with apple sauce, however 😉

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  9. I would say the best dish I have ever eaten was in Santorini, in a restaurant that was on a cliff. It was a greek casserole that I forgot to write down the name of. To this day I try to think of what that casserole was, so I could try to make it myself. It was reallllly good.

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  10. After going thru a 22 hour labour and not eating for over 26 hours, the nurse gave me a toast with strawberry jam and a hot cup of well steeped tea, it felt like the best thing I ever ate =)

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  11. Hmm, I’d be able to write for days about the best things I’ve eaten, made or grown! If I have to pick one I’d say homemade sausage rolls. Pastry from scratch, a mix of ground lamb and pork, secret spices (don’t forget the apples!) and an attentive baking process (you have to drain off the grease so the pastry gets crispy) makes for a delectable snack or meal.

    I enjoy reading your blog and only realized today that I hadn’t actually signed up to follow it but just had it bookmarked. Now I will keep more up to date! Thanks for writing about such yummy topics.

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  12. I see what appear to be home made “pop tarts” on the cover page…already this book is a winner without opening it.
    As a professional cook I am ashamed to say I hardly prepare nice well thought out meals at home. I tend to rise to the occasion for friends and eat cereal for dinner after a shift on the line lol. How sad really.
    However, I love gardening in my fathers back yard. I look forward to turning the copious amount of excess tomatoes into sauce and bottling them to last over winter. Delicious.
    Oh and I make the best buttermilk fried chicken ever

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  13. Well, since relocating to Toronto, I have nostalgic memories of the potluck dinners that I would have with friends in Vancouver. After bringing one of your dessert recipes (the cherry pie, perhaps?) I was instructed to only ever bring dessert. I probably made it through about a dozen of your dessert recipes after that! Thank you for contantly reminding me of the importance to connect with our food, and the resulting joy in eating!

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  14. Uh, I would LOVE to have Alana’s book!
    I’m really proud of baking a lot of breads at home. I love my hazelnut bread and homemade baguette. It’s so much better than bought ones.

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  15. Best thing I’ve ever made? I am often delighted by the alchemy that results from following an apparently mundane set of instructions, but I think the first time I made hollandaise sauce (on a whim, having seen it demonstrated) was the most magical. The sheer joy of having this gorgeous YELLOW smooth and deeply flavoured sauce, in very little time … I’ve tried a couple of other recipes since, neither of which has in any way matched up!

    Lovely posts, thank you.

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  16. I also love to daydream about where I would one day love to live…mine is slightly different being a secluded island with no power, but similar in growing and finding my own foods….
    As for the best meal I have ever made it would have to be Chicken Tikka Masala and a potato and pea side dish called Aloo Phujia. I am absolutely crazy for Indian food and these two dishes were quite fun to make and serve at a dinner party. People weren’t sure at first because they look a little different, but by the end of the meal the dishes were all but licked clean! It was so good!

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  17. I was charmed by the description of where you would live… I could picture everything so vividly! The best thing I have ever eaten, made or grown would have to be a toss-up… I’ve made some pretty incredible jam combinations (the latest two were tangerine marmalade with Earl Gray tea & a chocolate orange marmalade). But there is something absolutely sublime about a fig, apple or pear picked perfectly ripe from a tree & paired with the perfect cheese….

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  18. The best thing I’ve ever made is my one year old daughter, grace. She has also become the inspiration for making as much as I possibly can make from scratch. I’m proud to say that she stuck her tongue out at her first taste of store bought ice cream and refused to eat it! However, She was happy to devour my vegan chia seed pudding! I’d love a copy of this book!

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  19. The best things I’ve made are the Christmas cookies I make with my family every year. Its a tradition and that my mum had as a child as well. Hopefully it will keep going for generations!

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  20. I am so delighted to have found your blog! Thank you for sharing your dream of a house with a red door. While growing up in Arkansas, my summers were filled with fresh tomatoes grown by my mother and eaten right off the vine. The sun would beam down on me while I picked the fruit. The first bite was warm, juicy and delicious. I dream of a white farmhouse with a babbling brook, fresh tomatoes and baby goats.

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  21. One of the best things I have ever made would be apple pie, crust from scratch using the apples from my apple tree in the yard.

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  22. By far the best thing I’ve ever eaten was any dish from “The Garlic House” in Tokyo, Japan. When I was working there a group of us would take the train and each would order one dish and then we’d all share them. The restaurant had (has? this was waaaay back in 1994-6) an open kitchen and the smell!!!! EVERY dish was laden with garlicy-goodness. My fav was broccoli and galic, of course. We went as often as we could and it was not nearly often enough, now as I look back. 🙂 Your blog is a hoot, by the way. Thanks for writing and for sharing a copy of what looks like a great cookbook! God bless.

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  23. Best things I’ve ever eaten or made? Homemade, really garlicky tzatziki. And lasagna made with ricotta that the hubby made from scratch. And this garlic naan from this Indian restaurant in the interior. And as I said on your more recent post, carrots straight from the garden.

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  24. The best thing I’ve ever eaten, made, or grown? That’s a tough one… Perhaps the first ever loaf of home-baked bread. Or the first ever fish I caught as a child, which my mother then carefully fried for dinner. Or jam made from wild blackberries. Or elderflower cordial, the flowers filling our house with heavenly scent. The cordial and jam also remind us of sunny summer days when winter comes, which makes them even more special. Could go on and on…

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  25. The best thing ever eaten, made or grown… Must be a cucumber sandwich! I’d grown the cucumbers, made the sandwich, and eaten it very slowly, savoring each bite.
    My grandmother first introduced me to the cucumber sandwich, and every year I eat more than my fair share of them. It MUST be a freshly-picked, home-grown cucumber. Peel it, and slice it thinly. Generously butter a slice of bread, layer the cucumber on it, and give it a good shake of both salt and pepper. Nothin’ on earth comes close to that honest-to-goodness taste.
    Thanks for generously giving away Alana’s book. I’ve been thinking of buying it…

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