I HAD THE pleasure of visiting with Kate McDermott last week, our very own local food celebrity.
(It’s not too late to get a signed copy of her book “Art of the Pie” if you have an aspiring chef on your gift list.)
We talked about life, family, cooking and the unexpected things that can happen when you simply follow your curiosity and do what comes naturally.
“How did you get into pie making Kate?” I asked.
‘Made a lot of pie’
“I just made a lot of pie,” she replied.
I have an image of McDermott in her small home kitchen mixing up batch after batch of flour, fat, salt and water.
Varying the proportion of each ingredient over and over to get the right consistency, dough structure, roll-ability and flavor.
Once she nailed the proportions, she began to study the ingredients: pastry flour, unbleached, whole wheat and gluten free.
Butter, lard or oil.
I am sure she did her research, reading the folklore and the science.
But it was the slight insanity of repeated batches that taught her.
She did it because she was interested.
I have my own obsession with pickles and brine.
I make batch after batch of salt, water, herbs and vegetables.
I vary the container, the ingredients, the pH and salinity.
Our kitchen counter is a chemistry lab and I am a curious folklorist attempting to re-learn the art form, batch by batch.
Here we are at the close of 2017, when we generally resolve to make ourselves better in the coming year.
Inspired by McDermott, my plan for the new year is to just keep at it, to stay obsessed and weirdly curious.
Not because I expect a particular success, but simply for the doing.
I hope you have some weird obsession, and as long as it isn’t hurting anyone, I hope you will resolve to be yourself, follow your curiosity whatever it might be and keep at it.
Here is a recipe from McDermott’s book and website.
Pot Pie is a great after holiday way to use up leftover chicken, turkey or even roast beef.
Betsy Wharton is the proprietor of the Clallam Canning Co., a local purveyor of artisan pickles and other farm to jar goods. You can find her and her products at the Sprouting Hope Greenhouse at 826 E. First St. in Port Angeles. Or contact her at betsy@clallam canningcompany.com.