Joanne Weir didn’t intend to write another cookbook. She had already written seventeen but when she found herself being asked by Sunset Magazine editors what kind of cookbook she would write if she could write anything, she suddenly realized she had another in her.
“Over the years, I had shared these adventures, these stories, with family and friends and sometimes with my students. But I had never gathered them together in a single place. I realized what a wonderful opportunity it would be to tell this tale — this story of my culinary journey,” writes Weir.
And what a journey it has been. From her beginnings being raised in a New England family of farmers whose handcrafted legacy fueled her passion for farm to table cooking, to her time at the iconic Chez Panisse, to her inspired food journeys throughout the world, Joanne Weir has many tales to tell in her culinary memoir aptly titled Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food.
For readers the book is a passport to a world of flavors as well as a peak into the arc of her food driven life — her memories seen through a culinary perspective. She writes of her first food memories, of a stunning tomato sandwich redolent with the scent of heavily ripe tomatoes. She describes how finding a fly in a bottle of wine led to a lifelong pursuit of its pleasures. And of course, she describes the incomparable experience she had working for Alice Waters at Chez Panisse and how that experience continues to inform her essential knowledge of cooking today.
The lifelong romance has been a fruitful one for Weir. She has filmed nine PBS television series, taught classes all over the world, and opened a restaurant, Copita, in Sausalito, California. “When I stop to think about it,” Weir reminisces, “I can’t believe this is where life has taken me.”
“Food is my life,” Weir writes, “I want to write a book about how everything I’ve done in my life has gotten me to exactly where I am at this moment. I want to write about my path. And I want the recipes to show the way.”
With the publication of Kitchen Gypsy out last month, Weir has realized her vision, and the result is a thoroughly enjoyable foray into her life through recipes — a delicious, edible scrapbook.