How long have you been baking?
Leah: 34 years Henry: 2 years Isabelle: 5 years
What is your favorite thing to bake?
Isabelle: a lot of things…
What is the most challenging thing you’ve ever baked?
Probably sourdough bread. We got a starter at Mass MoCA of all places that Isabelle really really wanted and we didn’t realise that having a starter is like having a new pet. We had lots of fun baking sourdough bread and making sourdough pancakes though.
What is your favorite ingredient?
Lemon zest. It can really do great things to highlight flavours. It’s great for baking, cooking, and cocktails.
What is your favorite cookbook or recipe resource?
I am a big fan of epicurious.com and then using Google to browse all the fabulous food blogs from all over the world. As for cookbooks, Ina Garten’s books and a classic Jewish Canadian cookbook called Second Helpings, Please! by Norene Gilletz.
What is the one baked good you’re known for or would like to be known for?
I would love to perfect my butter tart. It’s my favorite traditional Canadian treat and last month when I was back in Canada I saw an amazing version at The Bannock. That’s my goal.
What will you be baking for Cupcake Camp?
Since the kids chose to participate when I asked if they were interested this year I had them choose the cupcake flavours.
Henry chose Pink Lemonade.
Isabelle chose Lemon Meringue Pie.
What is the name of your website?
Leah’s Life: Pearls & Oysters
Feel free to include any additional information about yourself, your baking, your favorite baking story, etc.
My earliest memories are waking up from naps and groggily coming downstairs to find my mom in the kitchen. She made everything from rhubarb pie, to Indian feasts (even though she grew up in the Canadian prairies eating North American, and traditional Jewish treats). She made maple syrup with me when I was four by tapping the tree in our back yard. We went to the Mennonite farmer’s market near our small university town in Canada. We spent two years in France living and eating the French way. When I was in high school, we moved to the land of delis and pizza, and the grand smorgasboard that is New York City.
I spend a lot of time writing, taking pictures, being with my children and husband, locking myself in the bathroom, laughing, crying, being silly and then serious…and then silly again. The heart of my home is the kitchen, not just because it’s in the center of the house, but because what goes on in the kitchen is often paralleled with what goes on in life. Great things can come out of it as can sticky messes. There is success, there is failure, there are preserves that last a long time and delicate zucchini blossoms that need to be enjoyed right away in the moment.