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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Quilter's Kitchen...Review

About the book:
Anna Del Maso had known that she wanted to be a chef since she was in the seventh grade. "Somehow everything in my life ends up being about food," she realizes, as she begins the latest of her food-themed quilts. Her twin passions have converged in a brand-new position as head chef for Elm Creek Quilts, Waterford, Pennsylvania's popular quilting retreat.

As she joins the circle of quilters at historic Elm Creek Manor, Anna is eager to preserve the manor's culinary heritage, dating to 1858, while also celebrating the new favorites of their many guests. Yet as Master Quilter Sylvia Bergstrom Compson well knows, the manor's kitchen, last updated in the 1940s, can't create food that compares to the state-of-the-art quilting instruction for which Elm Creek Quilts is renowned.

A full renovation of the kitchen must be completed by the start of the new camp season. Though the task is daunting, Anna is assured in her belief that "A kitchen is the heart of a home." As she and Sylvia begin to dismantle the old to make way for the new, Sylvia's reminiscences remind them both of just how many of the manor's traditions have involved food and celebrations. Whether the feast is one of the holiday menus prepared and enjoyed by generations of Bergstroms, or one of the Welcome Banquets and Farewell Breakfasts that have become hallmarks of Elm Creek Quilt Camp, there is a story for every recipe, and a recipe for every story.

The Quilter's Kitchen follows Anna's flavorful explorations of the kitchens of Elm Creek Manor, past and present. As she records beloved recipes and creates original dishes seasoned with love, she discovers anew how the gifts of the table gather friends and family ever closer.

In the tradition of every character needing their own book, comes The Quilter's Kitchen. Anna was introduced to Elm Creek in Circle of Quilters. In that book, she interviewed to become one of the new Elm Creek Quilters but was, instead, hired as the head chef for Elm Creek Manor. This book covers one day as Anna and Sylvia clean out the Elm Creek Manor kitchen in preparation for a major remodeling.

Anna is trying to find her place among the quilters and, predictably, the story is full of Sylvia's reminiscences and she shares her memories with Anna as they come across old family heirlooms. Elm Creek stories are always about traditions and here we learn more about the Bergstrom family feasts and celebrations. Elm Creek stories are also about Sylvia helping the younger members learn about life and their place in it, and this book is no different. Lessons are learned, the kitchen is cleaned and a new quilt is planned.

The book is as much a cookbook as it is a novella. As a recipe is mentioned as part of a memory, the real recipe is shared at the end of a chapter.

While I like the story's premise that "a kitchen is the heart of the home" and "gifts of the table gather family and friends close", I think that you can have too much of a good thing. I don't think that every character needs their own story. Having said that, I did enjoy the book.

A short, easy read.

Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 10/08

* * * *
3/5 Stars


  1. I bought the first three books in this series in a set a couple of years ago, but I've yet to read any of them. I tend to forget I have them.

  2. I have been working my way through this series for a while now. I didn't realise that there was an associated cookbook! Thanks for posting about this!