in a Northern Town: Cooking, Eating and Other Adventures Along Lake Superior(Wisconsin
Historical Society Press, ISBN: 9780870208287, 250 pp., $29.95).
|Food, Family Makes Great Stew for Bayfield
"Generations of men and women have stood on these beaches, listened
to water rushing over these basalt rocks, and picked wild blueberries here
well before I sailed into the Bayfield harbor. The families of those men
and women are still here, tethered to a place where they can slip behind
their ancestor's eyes and take in essentially the same view."
From Life in a Northern Town
The book was released Aug. 12, 2017.
IAP - What is the most important kitchen tool?
MD - Sharp knives (although mine are never sharp enough)
IAP - Irish cooking is more than corned beef. Do you have
any favorite Irish foods such as salmon or lamb?
MD - We buy a lamb every year and a case of salmon from
a friend who has connections in Alaska. Iím a big fan of beef stew in the
IAP - What do you love about photography?
MD - I like the mindfulness and attention to detail that
accompanies photography. Iím shooting with a Nikon D810 with either a 24-70mm
zoom or a 60mm micro lens.
IAP - What are your favorite photography subjects?
MD - Nature, dogs and food are my favorite subjects.
I have a photography project called Words for Water (www.wordsforwater.com)
that I enjoy, as well. Those photos are portraits of people holding a chalkboard
with their words for water written on it. I showed my Words for Water project
at Bayfieldísí Northland College. My photos are available to view on my
IAP - Is there a relationship between the craft of cooking
and craft of photography?
MD? I havenít thought about it before but I think there is. Both endeavors
require a plan/a vision for the meal or photo shoot but also a sense of
allowing the unexpected to come into the plan. There canít be a strict
adherence to rigidity because some of the creativity and intuition can
be the best thing that happened to your meal or photo.
IAP - Whatís your writing process?
MD - I wrote my cookbook at my kitchen table and on my
porch (once it warmed up). I write in the evenings after the kids go to
bed and the house is finally quiet. Iíve since moved into a small office
in our house.
IAP - How did the Wisconsin Historical Society Press pick
up your book?
MD - Hereís an essay with the story of how the cookbook
came to be:
IAP - With five kids, how do you accomplish all these
MD - Itís all a part of our daily lives. I had our kids
when I was young (24) and in order to keep myself together, I knew I had
to tend to my creative side. In the early years, that creativity manifested
itself in cooking. As the kids grew, I started to branch out and, thankfully,
the things I love happened to fit with having a bunch of kids and dogs.
The kids all have cameras and go on Ďphoto safarisí together. We all
need to eat dinner so I cook and they hang out in the kitchen with me.
It was a lot harder when they were little but my youngest is 14 and itís
much easier now.
IAP - Why are you so concerned about water purity?
MD - When I stand on the shore of Lake Superior, I know
that Iím a steward of that water ó that my children, grandchildren and
all the ones coming after me deserve clean water. Iím not willing to accept
Ďgood enoughí when it comes to water.
Itís a human right and Iím disgusted at what passes as just governance
in this country. CAFOs are predicated on an unsustainable platform that
says private profit trumps the public good and a communityís right to clean
water to be safe in their homes and itís wrong.
I donít like bullies and Lord knows, this industry is going to keep
me busy for quite some time.
IAP - How do your environmental causes sit with your neighbors?
MD - Itís been a struggle. But for the most part, Iíve
enjoyed a tremendous amount of support. In the beginning, it was a little
rough but that old adage about truth prevailing is true. Weíve joined together,
drafted and passed ordinances and are working together to keep our community
IAP - Is it tough to be so out front on such issues in
a farm community?
MD - Iíve never believed that anything worth doing is
going to be easy. Five kids in nine years was a good training ground for
this work because Iím familiar with the feeling of being wholeheartedly
in love and committed to something but also learning to accept that the
road isnít always going to say but when itís good ó my God, itíll take
your breath away.
I had a dream a few years ago where I was talking with Pope Francis
when I getting ready to address a large group of people. He asked what
I wanted them to know. I said I wanted them to know that they could do
what Iíve done ó wake up one day and decide to get involved.
He said no, donít tell them that because thatís too limiting. Instead,
he told me to tell people their only job is to build and maintain their
signal fire and the divine is the wind that take their embers where they
need to go ó to start new fires or add to fires already burning.
So, I donít worry about being too 'out thereí because my job isnít
to save the world, itís to serve my community and family. And I know how
to do that.
IAP - Is there a streak of Irish in you for fighting for
MD - I suppose there is. That old saying about Ďgetting
your Irish upí has a kernel of truth in it. I think we carry the stories
of generations past in our bones and itís those stories that fuel my fire
to set things right where I can, feed and nurture the ones I love, and
keep fighting for what I know to be true.
IAP Could you share a recipe?
MD - Try these. http://www.thecookerymaven.com/cookery-maven-blog/2017/4/11/poulet-au-pain
(this chicken is seriously good) and http://www.thecookerymaven.com/cookery-maven-blog/2013/09/a-riff-on-gyros
(one of our favorites around here)
IAP - Whatís next for Mary Dougherty?
MD - The way things are going, Iím going be busy with
CAFOs in Wisconsin for a while! Iím getting ready to take my Words for
Water project around Lake Superior and we were recently in Ontario to begin
to gather their words for water.
In addition to readings and signings, Iím opening a cookery school
in my home in the summer of 2018. In between all that business, I plan
to eat lots of good food, drink lots of even better wine, walk on the beach
with my pups, cook for the people I love and spend time around our table.
Not too shabby, huh?