Last Spring was a whirlwind of work. I was wrapping up my new book for Chronicle (more on this next week) and was able to fit in shooting this wonderful cookbook by Portland-based Ivy Manning, Crackers & Dips: More Than 50 Handmade Snacks. I worked with an incredible team of friends including Chris Bryant (more on Chris soon as well) who recreated all of Ivy's recipes with love and meticulous attention to detail and Kristina Urquhart whose illustrations really make this book extraordinary. I prop styled and photographed this book in my home studio and we ended each day by sampling (i.e. devouring) the leftovers.
I love eating this way. Easy bites lead to a casual and unpretentious atmosphere where I find that I'm most comfortable. When my parents would visit us in England, our favorite dinner was baked dips, cheese boards overflowing with the bounty of the Suffolk country side and dotted with fruit... and of course, crackers. And a lot of Irish whiskey. The recipes in this book remind me so much of that special time at the beginning of my marriage - the simple but elegant recipes transport me.
Crackers & Dips will be available everywhere in May - in the meantime, I'm giving away one copy to my favorite "cracker & dip" story. Comment on this post and I will choose a winner next Wednesday on the 27th of February.