When The Forest Feast (Anthropologie, $35), a new cookbook from Erin Gleeson, landed on our desk, we thought we'd died and went to a very Pinterest-worthy heaven!
The innovative cookbook is laid out in double-page spreads: one page is an artful collage of ingredients and hand-lettered directions; the other is a mouth-watering photo of the finished product.
"When I look at a recipe, I want to be able to scan the ingredients, see the picture of the finished dish, and have a basic idea of how I could make it,” Gleeson says. “My goal with this book is to present accessible recipes in that way: visually, beautifully, simply."
Gleeson first created The Forest Feast as a blog, when she and her husband uprooted their New York City lives and headed westward. Mossy woods replaced concrete streets and Gleeson, a food photographer by trade and watercolor enthusiast by choice, was inspired by the change in scenery.
“When I started showing my work to San Francisco magazine and cookbook editors, it became increasingly clear that the West Coast sensibility was far removed from my minimalist/slick/well-lit work, shot in high-end big-city restaurants,” Gleeson writes in the book's foreword. “My prospective Bay Area clients wanted less beet foam and more kale chips … so I started cooking and shooting, and I started a blog, calling it 'The Forest Feast' mainly so I’d have a link I could send out to editors. ‘They want earthy, I can GIVE them earthy!’ I thought.”
As her blog grew in popularity, Gleeson was able to create her dream cookbook. A self-taught cook who is a devotee to fresh produce—whatever is in her CSA (community supported agriculture) delivery is usually what’s for dinner—she created an archive of healthy vegetarian recipes that are just as gorgeous as they are easy to make.
The Forest Feast is beyond beautiful. It is transformative. Paging through the book is like being whisked away. Suddenly, you're in Erin's West Coast cabin, buried deep amongst the towering redwoods, footsteps muted by moss. As the golden light drifts through the early evening, Erin produces a spread of drool-worthy goodies that are bursting with color and simple flavors.
As a sneak peek into her book, Gleeson curated the perfect Memorial Day weekend meal for us! From cocktails to dessert, get ready to throw the most beautiful dinner party you’ve ever had.