Sharing Stories in Bits & Bites

All In the Family

Sadly, I have no sisters. Many in spirit, definitely and two wonderful ones through marriage. However, not one by blood. With my overactive imagination I’ve created the romantacized version of what my sister and I would be like together. Ironically, as I watch my two eldest daughters grow into adults, they’ve become the reality of the sweet sisterhood I’d envisioned. As their momma it makes my heart swell when I see how close they are, but as a woman without that connection…I admit feeling a twinge of envy.

Only eighteen months apart, they now share secrets, friends and occasionally even clothes. Although they can easily complete each others sentences, and know with one glance what the other is thinking, their personalities sharply contrast one another. The past few years they have learned from those differences and used each others strengths to work through everything from school assignments to everyday life challenges. A true symbiosis. Whenever the three of us work together, whether it be making a large meal, baking or more recently assembling our Christmas Village…I confess to feeling a little left out. Their experiences are so interwoven sometimes it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. Once I get past their crazy goofiness and allow them to get to work, they are an amazing team that can tackle nearly anything. I’ve often thought that with our combined skills we could be a force to be reckoned with!

I think this is why I was so drawn to the story behind the Sea Salt Cookbook. Originally I was just looking for something local to give away on the blog, and was immediately drawn to the fresh, West Coast style cover. I’ve never been a sailor, but loved the stories of their family  adventures. As I was pulled in by page after page of stunning photographs and enticing recipes, it dawned on me that many of their mentioned sources paralleled my “to interview” list for the blog. I sincerely appreciate their efforts to incorporate so many of the deserving Vancouver Island food resources. Beyond all of that however, is the fact that a mom and her two adult daughters collaborated on a fascinating project that took over seven years from start to finish. The coordination and patience required to successfully complete such a task is simply inspirational.

On a picture perfect fall afternoon, Lorna Malone generously gave me a tour of their elegant sailboat Aeriel. Proudly displaying all of the features of their well organized galley, she introduced me to many of the tricks that led to effectively feeding crews and family alike! In Sea Salt there is a section dedicated to the organization of such a wee kitchen as well as consciously planning for food storage. Lorna’s years of experience and natural knack for organization  offer invaluable information for sailors, campers and those with limited space.

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The majestic Aerial

Growing up Lorna recalls her mom’s faithful dedication to the monthly arrival of Better Homes and Gardens.  She chuckled as she reminisced that very few of her mother’s recipes looked anything like the pictures in the magazine. As any confident cook would, she would substitute this for that, add in her own flavours and accommodate for her families preferences. Her mom’s attitude towards cooking was passed on to Lorna’s own children, who felt free to experiment and try new things while they were growing up. The Malone’s sense of adventure extended beyond their sailing to their fun in the kitchen. That creativity is expressed beautifully in their cookbook. Each recipe clearly explained, simply executed and highlighting the very best of our local food offerings. It is the perfect gift for your favourite cook or for family far away that you want to share the beauty of this part of the world with.

This close knit family admits that actually getting the cookbook to publication was much more challenging than they anticipated. Fortunately they were able to maintain a flexible approach and as a family, they weren’t confined to regular work hours. Although each woman brought specific skills, Lorna had the lions share of sailing insight, Alison was the primary writer and Hillary was the ‘head’ chef and recipe tester; they maintain that it was a true collaboration. Working together not only with each other, but with their editor, publishers and photographer. As first time cookbook authors they were very grateful for the guidance that was offered to them throughout the process.

An example of their simple, delicious recipes is available here, how can you say no to Sea Salt Caramel Brownies? If you’d like more of the same…you can win a copy of this cookbook generously donated by Harbour Publishing. Simply like this recipe either here or on my Facebook page and share this story on your Facebook wall. On Sunday, Dec 7th, 2013 I will draw from the entries. Don’t despair, if you can’t wait, you can pick up a copy at Chapters or online from Harbour. The copies that were at our local Costco appear to be sold out…so don’t wait!

When I asked if they would do it again, knowing what they do now…the answer was a resounding “Yes!” In fact, rumours of a second publication are already floating around. I can’t wait to see what this talented family comes up. And as for my daughters…I think we need to chat and see what we can come up with. 😉 Thanks lovely Malone ladies for the inspiration, just amazing what a fab mom and her daughters can do when they work together!

A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves – a special kind of double. 

~Toni Morrison



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