A Fresh Start

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Hi! Welcome to my refreshed online home. It was high time for a new coat of paint.

Every recipe from before is still in the archives—look for recipes by category in the Recipe Box, or search for something specific with the little magnifying glass icon in the upper right of the screen. I hope you’ll have a look around, and bear with me as I work out any kinks in the system as I get used to my new digs.

If you’ve been checking in me with on Instagram, you know that I’ve been working on a new cookbook for the past 147 years, sharing photos, teasing recipes, and doing just as much as I’m allowed to do while building a new collection of recipes and stories for you. I can’t believe it’s been THREE YEARS (!!!) since we moved from California to Illinois, but here we are, never having once regretted the move back home (save for a few good West Coast friends and perfect avocados). Soon after we settled in, I started looking for ways to reconnect with this place that formed me, and before I knew it, I was digging through old recipes, writing a book proposal, selling it, and then writing and testing recipes like a lunatic, all the while finding myself in the process. Heavy stuff!

The resulting book is a giant love letter to the Midwest—big-batch, cozy recipes designed to share, comfort, and celebrate life and all four seasons (like my mom’s Cherry Shortbread Cake Squares in the photo above, which have long lived in the recipe archives). In addition to recipes, there’s also some food history exploring recipe origins and the endless immigrant influences of the region, and a few personal stories about baking my way back home. In short, it will be the most insane full-circle moment to see this book out in the world. Five years ago, I never could have imagined writing a book like this. But man, I’m so glad that the universe pushed me here.

I’m excited to share that the book now has a real, official title—Midwest Made—and will be in your hands October 2019. Next Christmas you can bake with it, you guys! (There is an entire Winter Holidays chapter.) I’ve submitted the manuscript and loads of beautiful photos from the lovely team I worked with here in Chicago and in Michigan, and we’re getting into the heavy editing and fine-tuning stages now. We’re also working on finalizing the cover, which is equal parts thrilling and agonizing. Which is cookbook-making in a nutshell, if we’re being honest. And parenthood, and just about anything worth doing in life, really.

With the book now in the collaborative phase (read: I’m not stuck in a vacuum with a massive document that I can endlessly tweak and fret over until there is nothing left but a pile of self-doubt and Xanax dust), I’m getting back into all kinds of fun new projects, and am aiming to get back to some semi-regular writing here, posting recipes I can actually tell you about immediately, all high-tech style and what not.

I hope your visit here finds you happy and well, and gearing up for a lovely holiday season. See you around!

Shauna Sever