Let’s you and me team up, get an old historic brick warehouse in a picturesque little river town somewhere, and start publishing our own cookbooks, K? We’ll photograph heirloom tomatoes picked from our garden in old crockery dishes. Maybe roast sweet potatoes in the coals of the vintage stove. If anybody calls and wants us to test some recipes or take some photos for their cookbook, we’ll do that too. Oh, and we’ll have a cocktail around 5 p.m. everyday, naturellement.
Hey, that’s reality for Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton, so we can all just go feel jealous now. The two are both former Saveur staffers (Hamilton was its food editor, Hirsheimer a founding editor, and then an executive editor), and Hirsheimer is a renowned food photographer, as well, who helped spearhead the idea of naturally lit, naturally styled food shots. (She took my favorite food photographs ever, in The Gift of Southern Cooking by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock.)
In the forward to their first book, Canal House Cooking, Volume No. 1, they explain that before they decided to “join forces” they had been living in towns across the river from each other, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Now they occupy a historic loft on a canal in Lambertville, NJ, which is their “studio, workshop, dining room, office, kitchen, lair, lab, and atelier devoted to good ideas and good work relating to the world of food.”
Their main endeavor there, Canal House Cooking, will be a quarterly seasonal cookbook series, a cross between a magazine and a book. The first volume, which just came out, is beautifully shot and filled with simple, produce-driven recipes, such as two ways to make potato leek soup (puréed or chunky), roasted eggplant and zucchini with breadcrumbs, and paella cooked over an outdoor fire. (OK, maybe that last one isn’t so easy, but they sure make it look fun.)
Anybody want to go in on a warehouse with me?