As mentioned earlier in this week's blog residency, our inaugural cookbook, The Kinfolk Table, brings together our extended circle of friends from Brooklyn, Copenhagen, the English countryside, our local Portland, and beyond to create a rounded tome of culinary goodness. Today, we'd like to give you a small insight into some of our favorite people we broke bread with through this process.
Here, we've chosen to profile three international contributors from The Kinfolk Table: the ice-cream making couple behind Brooklyn institution Phin & Phebes, one of Copenhagen's most well-respected young interior designers, and the founder of Sam's Kitchen in the historically stunning town of Bath in the United Kingdom.
As Portlanders ourselves, we also have gleaned recipes and stories from a cohort of local residents, which can be read and devoured in the pages of the cookbook. Some of these include the likes of the Heart Roasters founders contributing their recipes for Pulla (Finnish dessert bread) and, naturally, a meticulous recipe for home-brewed coffee. Some of our staff members, such as Kinfolk-cofounders Doug and Paige Bischoff, are featured as well as Community Director Julie Pointer, and Kinfolk contributors such as photographers/videographers Andrew and Carisso Gallo, florist Riley Messina, and photographer Laura Dart also make an appearance. And although she may still be residing in my native Canada, my mother Vera even offered up her family-famous recipe for her savory buns.
For now, here is a glimpse into the corners of the Earth in which we searched for the most interesting people and food to bring back to your own table.
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Brooklyn, New York: Crista Freeman and Jess Eddy
(Phin & Phebes Ice Cream Makers)
Recipe: Hummingbird Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
In 2010 Crista Freeman and Jess Eddy, better known, respectively, under the business name Phin & Phebes, found themselves literally neck high in ice cream, which could assumedly be the best place to find yourself. The pair had started making ice cream from their kitchen as a way to pass the frigid winter months. The hobby quickly became more than a fleeting seasonal activity, and soon enough, Crista and Jess were selling their tasty creations in markets and stores across New York City. Full-time jobs were quit, a business plan developed, and ingredient sourcing was determined. Phin & Phebes was standing on both legs and running.
By maintaining a strict demand for only the best ingredients, sourcing them locally, and constantly coming up with inventive yet balanced flavors, this young ice cream partnership has taken New York by a sweet storm. Their model is based on the idea that good ice cream comes first from good milk. So, they source from a cooperative of farms from surrounding New York counties, where the milk is so good it wins awards. Then they use that milk to make flavors that are natural, yet still new. Flavors like Vietnamese Coffee, Vanilla Cinnamon, or Coconut Key Lime. As far as flavor combinations go, Crista and Jess are willing to do what it takes to translate delicious flavor pairings into an ice cream — even if that calls for throwing entire chunks of pie into their mixer.
At home and away from the dessert world, Crista and Jess find peace and quiet on slow Saturday mornings, when they can scramble some eggs and lazily watch the early hours pass. During the week, their days are much more rapid. They sneak time to grill in the summer, but otherwise, their dinners have to be fresh, tasty, and fast. These ladies do not have the time for the unnecessary trappings of high-end cooking and entertaining when the world of ice cream is on their shoulders. They opt instead for simple dinners with friends and shaken cocktails in vintage glassware. That was all right by us. They fed us ice cream and kept us full, and we enjoyed every minute of their hospitable company.
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Copenhagen, Denmark: Nathalie Schwer
Recipe: Hearty Barley Salad with Broiled Feta and Tomatoes
Nathalie Schwer is the face of young Copenhagen artistry. An accomplished interior designer, a frequent traveler, and a bike commuter, Nathalie embodies the ideals of the rising Danish generation, a generation looking to establish new traditions, further creative strides, and prove to the whole world that the Danish people have a voice to share and a voice worth listening to.
Nathalie's sanctuary is a spacious apartment overlooking Copenhagen's canal. Her rooms are light and airy, brimming with art books and vintage furniture. Her kitchen, filled with the fragrance of fresh rosemary and basil and with sun, provides room enough to gather friends around a sprawling tableful of roasted vegetables and wine.
Like many young Danes, Nathalie eschews archaic traditions. But she holds steadfast to the tenets of cooking with the season, grocery shopping daily, and making meals in the home. "I come from a great number of willful people," she told us while slicing avocados, adding that crafting "homemade food with a variety of fresh ingredients is the healthiest thing you can do."
Nathalie's experience and education in the kitchen began when she was a young child, helping her mother prepare meals or just setting the table. A lifelong contributor to the process, today she cooks with an easy passion and is always ready to host another party or jump on a plane to Paris. She is Copenhagen with curls and Chuck Taylors, a lover of food, people, and sartorial excursions, rooted in the past yet always looking toward the future.
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The English Countryside, United Kingdom: Sam Wylde
Recipes: Pot Roast Shoulder of Veal with Tuna Sauce and Roasted Butternut Squash, Urfa Chile, and Buffalo Mozzarella Salad
Every town should have a resource like Sam's Kitchen. A meeting place in Bath with constantly evolving menus, Sam's Kitchen is a go-to spot for locally sourced food and artisanal treats. The restaurant is intimate and homey, open during the week for lunch and on Friday nights for live music and tapas. There are no individual tables, just a family-style communal one, and once the food is gone, it's gone. The space has played host to pop-up restaurants and supper clubs and is also available to rent out for catered parties and other gatherings.
Sam Wylde, proprietor and founder of his namesake restaurant, is laid back and approachable. He lives with his young daughter, Florence, in a historic town house in Bath, and constantly brings home delicacies and innovative new recipes to sample. Sam is moving forward in his culinary art, excelling in his craft of cooking and taking local residents along with him.
He has owned farmland with his family for more than 15 years, and that farm supplies a significant amount of the restaurant's produce. Over the past several years, however, the farm has also started raising pigs, whose meat is used in the restaurant and sold at farmers' markets around the region. The land holds higher aims still, as Sam has begun to plan special events there, beginning with a Pig Feast paired with local wines and farm-pressed cider.
Sam's Kitchen represents more of a movement than a mere restaurant. It distinguishes itself not only in the freshness of the food but also in the finely tuned rhythm of cooking with the seasons. This commitment ensures that Sam's food is richly flavorful but not complicated, wholesome and natural though not contrived. Whether in the city or on the farm, Sam and his kitchen are worth a visit.
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We'd also like to express a quick thank you to everyone who came down to our popcorn-infused launch event last night at Powell's. We love getting to meet our readers and hope your bellies went home full and satisfied. See you again soon?
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Nathan Williams is the founding editor of Kinfolk magazine and the author of The Kinfolk Table: Recipes for Small Gatherings. He works with a team of photographers, writers, illustrators, and designers in a collaborative effort to encourage a natural approach to entertaining. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
Books mentioned in this post
Nathan Williams is the author of The Kinfolk Table: Recipes for Small Gatherings