A growing list of cooking/gardening/thinking mentors, and links to some great sites.

on a rainy morning


Apart from family, friends and former students (and I’m lucky to have family and friends that love to cook and eat together and former students who can cook their way merrily around the world), here are the people whose writings and examples I turn to frequently these days, in alphabetical order:

Gary Allen Herbalist and great, funny blogger. The Herbalist in the Kitchen.

Lidia Bastiniach–Chef and writer. I like her relaxed attitude to cooking.  Lidia’s Family Table.  I also consult Mario Batali‘s Molto Italiano.

Rick Bayless Okay, so I watched him on Top Chef Masters (it’s my daughter’s fault) and found him exacting and charming.  He’s so passionate about Mexican food and really enjoys himself in the kitchen.  Mexican Kitchen and Mexican Everyday.

Mark Bittman–Food columnist and cookbook writer and now trying to get an online community started around food.   The Best Recipes in the World.

Penelope Casas–Cookbook writer.  She does for Spanish food what Roden does for the Middle East.  The Foods and Wines of Spain.

Elizabeth David Great great writer about food from France and Italy. French Provincial Cooking.

The Gardeners and Framers of Terre VivantePreserving Food without Freezing or Canning.

Marcella Hazen She writes beautifully about Italian cooking and focuses on the classic dishes.  The Classic Italian Cookbook.

Amanda Hesser Food columnist and cookbook writer. Some great, approachable French recipes in  The Cook and the Gardener (plus my good friend Kate Gridley did the lovely illustrations).

Madhur Jaffrey Spirited vegetarian cooking from around the world: World Vegetarian.

Diana Kennedy Such great background on the cooking of Mexico–so much more than a cookbook.  The Essential Cuisines of Mexico.

Giorgio Locatelli Italian chef. Made in Italy: Food and Stories From the book cover: “Italians just want to welcome people by sharing what they have, however simple, in abundance.  An Italian’s role in life s to feed people.   A lot.  We can’t help it.”

Deborah Madison of The Greens Restaurant, the vegetarian Alice Waters. The Greens cookbooks are fabulous, but I find myself mostly consulting Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Copeland Marks and Mintari Soeharjo wrote the book that helped me learn to cook Indonesian food.  The Indonesian Kitchen.

Richard Olney Great teacher of French cooking:  Simple French Food.

Claudia Roden Indispensible food historian & teacher, primarily of the foods of the Middle East and Mediterranean,  The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray One of the first cookbooks that inspired me to dare make such things as my own lemon curd: London River Cafe Cookbook.

Julie Sahni Fabulous resource for cooking Indian food: Classic Indian Cooking.

Martha Rose Shulman‘s Mediterranean Harvest is packed with terrific vegetarian recipes–I like the ones from North Africa in particular.

Alice Waters Great chef and teacher: starting the school garden movement as well as championing organic, local foods at Chez Panisse.  The Art of Simple Food

Paula Wolffert Chronicler of the foods of the Mediterranean (was writing about Moroccan food in the early 70s): The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

Clifford A. Wright I love his history/cookbook of the Mediterranean–I have learned a good deal about the origins of foods from him.  A Mediterranean Feast.

Plus I read Gastronomica Magazine.

Additional Foodie Blogs and Websites I Visit Regularly

101 Cookbooks

A Cooking Life (from Vermont)

Amateur Gourmet Community Blog

An Obsession with Food (and Wine)

Chez Pim

Curious Cook

David Lebovitz

Eating Asia

La Tartine Gourmet

Rambling Spoon

GARDENING (not as many books–I rely on just a couple)

Eliot Coleman He’s the great teacher of organic farming.  All his books are wonderful.  I especially like The New Organic Grower.

Barbara Damrush, garden columnist married to Eliot Coleman, and writer of some great gardening books, including the very useful, filled-with-good-sense The Garden Primer.

Gordon Hayward (although he doesn’t write about vegetable gardening, his books on flower gardening and landscaping remind me to consider the aesthetics, the geometry of my gardening space, the relationships between form, color, scale, perspective.

Susan McClure, The Herb Gardener.

Diane Anthony ‘s The Ornamental Vegetable Garden is fun to look at for design ideas, but not for gardening techniques.

Blogs and Websites

Allen Becker (Montreal Based)

A Way to Garden

Cold Climate Gardening

Garden Rant

Grow Better Veggies

In My Kitchen Garden

You Grow Girl


I have so many teachers–these are a few who have inspired me along this part of my journey.

Kiera McPhee and her School of Sustainable Living Arts: Well before I left higher ed to explore the world of community-based learning, Kiera had made just that trek and with her colleagues have modeled the inspiring learning parties. Their motto is: “Bringing local folks, local knowledge and local resources together for hands-on learning experiences.”  Exactly.  If you’re ever up in British Columbia, say hi from me and do check out what they’re doing  and how they’ve tried to save the University of British Columbia Farm and local independent businesses in their neighborhood.

Nancy White and her gazillion experiments with online community via Full Circle Associates and how she models living a joyful life, even with chickens in a city.  She’s the full package.

Laura Blankenship, who also recently left higher ed to start her own consultancy.  She’s a remarkably generous blogger, insightful thinker and leader in the edtech field.  Plus she loves to cook.  I’ve learned a lot from my collaborations with her and inspiring cohorts Barbara Sawhill, Leslie Madsen-Brooks and Martha Burtis (also so important to my thinking in the world of formal learning).

Alan Levine (aka cogdog) for exploring everything from cameras to marathons to the far corners of the earth to any kind of cooking you want to try.  That and the fact that he is incredible–generous and creative–teaching and learning online.  He’s amazing.

D’Arcy Norman for his photographs and tips on taking photos, and his inspiring bike riding not to mention brilliant use of digital tools and practices.


Bryan Peterson  Understanding Photography Field Guide


  1. Exploring the World in a Vermont Kitchen and Garden | Open View Gardens - April 29, 2010

    […] in a Vermont Kitchen & Garden Skip to content About Open View GardensAbout BarbaraInspirationsWhat’s GrowingWhat’s CookingBG’s WritingsKitchen and […]

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