I’ve written before about a very special place in the Pacific Northwest where I spent my junior high and high school years: it’s called Wenatchee (Two Rivers Run Through It).
It’s a place of apple and pear orchards, chinook and sockeye salmon and rolling Columbia River Valley vineyards. It’s also a place of sunshine, to the disbelief of many: it has often been boasted that Wenatchee gets “300 days of sunshine” annually.
The north central Washington city is on the arid (eastern) side of the Cascade mountains, which is in sharp juxtaposition to the rain and fog often associated with Seattle and the Pacific Northwest in general.
Whether you focus on the eastern or western side of the mountains, there’s no doubt the Pacific Northwest has a distinct vibe and sense of place when it comes to food.
Washington state stores many strong food memories for me:
There were the smoky meals cooked around a campfire on the edge of an alpine lake during chilly summer backpacking expeditions.
There was the welcome coziness of family meals in drizzly restaurants precariously perched in the islands of Puget Sound after putting down anchor on a sailing trip.
There was the clink of glasses, china and silverware from my first experiences in upscale dining at unique places – some still thriving, others long gone.
There were hearty sandwiches on sourdough with grainy mustard, thick fries and frosty beers on the edge of Icicle Creek as the ultimate reward after a day hike.
All that to say: there was never any doubt that there would be a place of honor in my cookbook collection for Sea and Smoke: Flavors From The Untamed Pacific Northwest.
It’s a gorgeous, moody and magical book… part coffee table photography collection, part travel guide and part cooking school.
You’ll find everything that is infused with being outdoors in the place of my teen years here: juniper and cedar, salmon and scallops, apples and wildflowers, sunshine and smoke.
Sea and Smoke is worthy of a place of honor in your collection too… and it would make the perfect gift for the cook or foodie in your life who seems to have every run-of-the-mill cookbook.
Now I’m off to nibble on one of my beloved D’Anjou pears and pour a glass of Indian Wells red blend from Chateau St. Michelle to sip on while I plan a nostalgic dinner of cedar-plank salmon. Cheers!
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