The Hedgebrook Cookbook: Celebrating Radical Hospitality by Denise Barr and Julie Rosten

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Hedgebrook is a retreat center for women writers located on Whidbey Island in Washington, not too far from Seattle. Their purpose is to offer women a quiet, beautiful space, surrounded by nature, so they can direct their energies towards their writing. Called radical hospitality, the staff is dedicated to providing an atmosphere that nourishes and supports the creative process. Of course, part of the deal is that delicious, straight-from-the-garden meals are cooked from scratch and served up at a large, communal table every evening. Sigh.

Quick Facts

Who wrote it: Denise Barr and Julie Rosten

Who published it: She Writes Press

Number of recipes: over 90

Recipes for right now: Tuscan Kale and Apple Salad; Roast Chicken with Carrots; Ginger Pumpkin or Vegan Pumpkin Bread; Ginger Broth with Sweet Potatoes; Lamb Curry; Lemon Polenta Cake.

Other highlights: The Hedgebrook Cookbook is a collection of recipes from the Hedgebrook kitchen. Along with gorgeous color photographs and short essays from authors such as Ruth Ozeki, Dorothy Allison, Gail Tsukiyama, and Nassim Assefi, the book offers crowd-friendly, comforting recipes. From snacks to brunch dishes to soups, salads, mains and desserts, there is something here for everyone.

The beauty of this cookbook is that these recipes are tried and true, tested over the years on hundreds of guests and staff at Hedgebrook. They know what works, they know what makes people happy, for they cook for a diverse and ever changing population. The pictures and essays are very inspiring, encouraging us to offer radical (or I would say warm and attentive) hospitality from our own homes.

The Hedgebrook Cookbook is a paperback, with a sturdy cover and glossy pages. It has the usual table of contents and index and lots of pictures of not only of the food but of the people and gardens of Hedgebrook as well. I can imagine it dotted with post-its and splattered with olive oil as this is one of those cookbooks you will return to again and again.

Who would enjoy this book? I'm sure that this cookbook will go home with anyone who has visited and eaten a meal at Hedgebrook. But even if you haven't been there, it's worth checking out. If you have a big kitchen or dining room table and nothing makes you happier than seeing it filled with well-fed, happy people, then the Hedgebrook cookbook just might be for you.

Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Hedgebrook Cookbook: Celebrating Radical Hospitality by Denise Barr and Julie Rosten

Visit the website: Hedgebrook

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.

(Images: Dana Velden)

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Dana Velden is a freelance food writer. She lives, eats, plays, and gets lost in Oakland, California where she is in the throes of raising her first tomato plant.