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The first draft of the cover.

When Joshua was two weeks old, Stewart walked in to the room to find me laughing, baby in arms, laptop open in front of me. I had been in that dreamy first two weeks where nothing really exists except babies and food – ya know, cuz you’re feeding another human. This was the day I was finally willing to fully delve into my inbox.

The email that made me laugh came from an Editor at Page Street Publishing who I now know as Elizabeth. She said she was a fan of Nourishing Days and had shown her publisher our site and he recommended exploring a book option with us.

I laughed for so many reasons. Because I sat nursing my two-week old baby. Because we’d talked to other publishers before and it was never a good fit. Because I was already feeling that guilt you get when you have a new baby and you’re sure all of the other children are feeling neglected. (In reality they don’t, I realize. They get to spend more time with Daddy which is pretty much always way more fun.)

Stewart encouraged me to set up a call and so I spent an hour talking to Will who runs Page Street. No other publisher had offered to sit down and talk to me, and certainly not for an hour, so that was encouraging. He asked what I wanted to write about. He asked why my take on fermentation was different. He told me he wanted to get goats too and that he and his family were interested in going to solar and maybe even homesteading. I could hear his baby girl cooing in the background.

After much prayer and discussion, we signed with Page Street and I got to work. Jars and jars and jars of vegetable ferments filled the earliest weeks. Dozens and dozens of wheat and gluten-free sourdough baked goods came out of my oven shortly thereafter. Milk kefir and yogurt and wild kvasses filled my summer. Hot sauces and fermented vegetable brine-based sauces and salsas ended in August.

I handed in the manuscript, including 80+ recipes, August 30th and celebrated with a huge glass of water kefir. Huge.


A photo outtake including various recipes from throughout the book.

One of the sticking points for me, having fermented a lot of these foods for over a decade now, was to make sure that the photos accurately represented the reality of fermentation – yeast strands in kombucha, bubbles in kvass, the funk along with the pretty. To that end, after a crash course in basic food photography, they signed me on as the photographer for the project. In this respect, they really took a chance on me and I am grateful.

On September 30th I handed in 90-some photos of the 80+ recipes. I celebrated by nursing the baby and picking vegetables from the garden.

The thing that was different about Page Street – and one of the reasons we signed with them – is because they seemed to believe wholeheartedly in allowing me to write the book that I wanted to write. For the first time I was not being shoved into some fermented foods book mold made generically to throw another book on the shelf. Elizabeth and Will cared about my vision enough to let me write about the sustainability aspect of fermented foods, the science behind making fermented foods work in your kitchen, how to use and store these foods without refrigeration, and recipes that go beyond the usual suspects you can find on the internet.

I’m finishing up some edits this week and, in reading back through it all, am so grateful for how this has turned out. I am really excited to share it with you all!

Lord willing, Traditionally Fermented Foods will be available May 9, 2017.

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Golden sunshine streams through the Eastern window and I hear the milk pale swing from its hook. Boil water for coffee, chop potatoes for the skillet, and wrangle Joshie and Ruthie into chairs. Breakfast is later and later in October, in accordance with the sunrise.

Stewart set aside a couple of roosters last night so right after fried potatoes, eggs, and milk the kitchen is a bustle. I feed the baby, strain the milk, and start chopping apples to can sauce. Soon a rooster is on the other kitchen counter and the children are asking far too many questions about chicken anatomy.

It’s Friday so I mix up some All Day Sourdough Bread for the Sabbath. A rooster goes in the pot for supper and the other will sit in the solar refrigerator for several days before it hits the table. The apples are chopped and the pot begins to simmer.

Everyone’s getting hungry so I throw together some beans and rice and mash a couple of avocados with garlic for lunch. Another cup of coffee is left in the pot so I splash in the morning’s milk and sip while we discuss afternoon chores.

The kitchen smells like chicken soup laced with apple pie. The baby is down so I ladle sauce into jars. Not moments later Joshie appears on Daddy’s hip and he bounces him around as I get the jars in the canner. It’s now time to wash dishes which looks a bit like guerrilla warfare as I splash and scrub my way through the past three meals and makings worth of dishes.

The applesauce comes out, the baby goes back to sleep, and I head to the garden for greens. Beets and cabbages need to be thinned so they’ll make their way into the soup pot. I grab a couple of eggs from the coop for breakfast muffins.

Back inside I shape bread loaves, turn off the rooster, and begin scalding chicken feet. The boys are eager helpers on that last account and I am more than happy to let them peel away. Gluten-free carrot muffins by the two dozen head into the oven and the children need a snack. Goat yogurt, quick, before I start supper, we decide.

The baby will be up soon. Supper needs to be finished and the muffins need to come out of the oven. The bread will be baked, the soup served hot, and the dishes washed once again.

This busy day in the kitchen comes but once a week, in preparation for the morrow’s Sabbath- a day of rest for me, a day of rest for our kitchen.