Sharing (and Sometimes Stealing) Food With Family and Friends

Wild Flour Bread. Good stuff.Writing, cooking and gardening are often thought of as a mostly solitary pursuits, but we find that the opposite is true. Fresh fruit on the tree, new recipes and a well-earned drink seem to always supply a path to more time with family and friends and easy opportunities to engage with our community. In a time where so many voices express outright fear of food and drink, it is worth noting that few things unify us more than the simple act of breaking bread together. And if that bread happens to be tasty, then so much the better.

And this week we literally got to break bread and share with many family and friends. Carolyn’s Dad, Bill, was generous enough to bring us bread from Wild Flour Bread in Freestone, California, a few hours north of us. Wild Flour bread is a truly artisan baker that bakes all of their bread on-site in wood-fired brick ovens. They feature a few dozen varieties of bread and pastry each day. They do not sell anywhere but the bakery and when they are out of bread for the day, you are out of luck. Happily, Bill brought us four loaves; olive, super seed, garlic rose and a sweet cardamom bread. The bread was terrific, and the kids loved it (and since they have no “filter” their praise is noteworthy). We enjoyed the cardamom bread toasted with butter at breakfast and made simple, tasty grilled cheeses for the kids with the other loaves.

Good bread = good grilled cheese sandwiches.

What makes the bread so special was not just the taste, but that Bill was so willing to go out of his way to share the bread with us. His simple logic was, “it’s really good bread and I thought you might want to write about it”. The same thing happened a few months back when Carolyn’s Aunt and Uncle, Ann & Russel, started trying our cocktails and sent us Bernard DeVoto’s marvelous book “The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto“. My sister sends photos of an endless wall of bitters, and our buddy Chad sends us envy-inducing photos of fresh bay scallops. Our friend Scott has a recipe for a new variety of Manhattan and we just have to try it out….

The Hour. A good case for including the occasional cocktail in your life.

Later in the week, our friend (and true gourmand) Phelps came by to pick up some beef. This spring, we bought 1/4 of a grass-fed cow from Stemple Creek Ranch and the steer was recently harvested. Phelps bought half of the beef and needed to pick it up (a 1/4 cow is a lot of beef, if you are curious, it fills two large coolers). We got to catch up with Phelps, walk through the garden, share (and show-off) some of our berries and even pluck a few more of the early cherries. We are just a few days away from a full cherry harvest. It was a brief visit, but a good one, and we look forward to cooking with Phelps this summer.

Ribeye steak from Stemple Creek Ranch.

And finally, when we aren’t sharing with friends we resort to stealing their produce. Well, not quite stealing, but certainly being “opportunistic”. Recently our friends Roger and Greta rented a house in a nearby town. The house was built by an old Italian family years ago and they literally covered their property with citrus trees. Lemons, limes and oranges, and the trees are huge and very productive. Our friends haven’t really moved in yet, but Carolyn was in the neighborhood and stopped by the house to check it out. It’s late in the year for citrus but there were still limes and lemons on the trees and Carolyn decided to “help herself”. She did get permission after the fact, so the stealing became sharing (ex-post-facto). In any event, we did mix Roger a drink using his lime juice, so we hope they will forgive our transgressions and let us “liberate” more of their citrus in the future. It will certainly give us a good excuse to stop by.

We hope our citrus trees get this big and productive.

A soon to be “liberated” lemon.

So to all of our family and friends who willingly (or not so willingly) share with us, we want to say thanks. We hope you enjoy the words, photos, food and drink we share with you.

9 thoughts on “Sharing (and Sometimes Stealing) Food With Family and Friends

  1. I need to look up Freestone…I am in Northern California often enough…but don’t know that town. I’d drive up for that bread! I have friends and family, too, who inspire me to be a better host! It isn’t always just the food itself, but the way it’s presented and the level of hospitality that brings me back for more. I think you probably have a great sense of hosting along with great meals. Very nice! Debra

    • Thanks for the kind words. We take hosting / entertaining seriously. Hospitality is a virtue..;-)

      Freeestone is near Occidental / Sebastopol. It is on the Bohemian Highway, which is a nice drive near the coast. If you are doing a Sonoma wine tour, you can make a side trip…

    • Purloined…good word. Tolkienesque..

      Syncopation cocktail. Cognac, lemon juice, applejack / calvados, cointreau and a dash of angostura. It went over well. We even got some extra fruit in the deal. We certainly earned a reprieve.

      Sometimes crime pays…

  2. All these last posts are looking scrumptious. Like ordering off a good menu! I use to get beef from a neighboring island and even an 1/8th of a cow could get us pretty far. I love having the freezer stocked up. My pantry could always feed 15 people for about 6 months if we planned carefully!

    • Thanks. We are enjoying the grass-fed beef, but there is a lot of it. We just got a sous-vide cooker to help deal with the tougher cuts. You will be seeing some posts on it…

  3. Purloin, pilfer, filch.

    All you really did was appropriate for the greater good. Some might say that is downright Obamaesque.

    But I am not a political guy and that statement may not reflect my true feelings. The words sometimes do just spill out… 😉

    Thank you for the ingredients– sounds like a great summer social lubricant.

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