Fish sauce. Mustard seeds. Smoked paprika. Not your typical country-cabin pantry. Not your typical country cabin. Four years ago, Canadian authors and photographers Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford undertook two mammoth projects simultaneously: writing a new round-the-world cookbook and renovating a hundred-year-old cabin. The book is done. The cabin is a work in progress. Both reflect the couple's eclectic, almost anthropological appreciation of people, places, objects and food.
Out last fall, Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World is a follow-up to Duguid and Alford's award-winning books on flat breads, rice and Asian food. A pastiche of recipes, photos and anecdotes, it jumps from Canada to Vietnam to Italy to seemingly all points in between. Here's a recipe for Farsi tandoor bread. There's a recipe for mushroom strudel. A photo of loaves rising in a bakery in Crete contrasts with an image of salt beds evaporating in Guérande, in France. Words and photos reflect an appreciation of natural beauty.
That's how Duguid and Alford cooknaturally, beautifully. Long-simmered stews from France, pungent salads from Thailand, seeded flat breads from the Middle East. The food they make at home isn't always entirely authentic, but the flavors echo those of faraway lands. For instance, their three-bean soup resembles congee, the Chinese rice porridge, enhanced with cauliflower and thyme. The beans cook until some burst, making the soup thick and creamy. For their kouign amanna sweet, flaky pastry from Brittanybutter folded into a rich, yeasty dough melts and browns as it bakes, producing an aroma that's both dreamy and homey.