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Guest Writer ~ Ellie Alexander

Foodie Edition


June 17, 2020

Dear Book Lovers!

Happy Guest Writer Wednesday! I hope you are hungry today because Guest Writer Ellie Alexander is talking to Mr. Hemingway about the importance of truly listening, passing down recipes from generation to generation, and memories made in the kitchen with those you love. Ellie is the queen of writing cozy mysteries. She wrote The Rose City Mysteries (Kensington Books) about a budding floral artist and the Pacific Northwest Mysteries (Kesington Books) about an aspiring journalist under the name Kate Dyer-Seeley. She also wrote The Sloan Krause Mysteries (St. Martin’s Press) set in the Bavarian-themed paradise of Leavenworth, Washington, and The Bakeshop Mystery Series (St. Martin’s Press), which not only includes murder but fabulous recipes too 🤗🤗. Both of those series were penned under Ellie Alexander. When Ellie isn’t writing, you can find her in her kitchen whipping up something delicious to eat or on a nearby hiking trail, burning off all the wonderful sweets she bakes. I hope you enjoy her letter to Mr. H. I know I did!



P.S. Be sure to check out Ellie’s website for all her books, recipes and more.


Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Of the many things one could glean from your writing, I think the most important gift you taught me is summed up in this oh-so-wise quote: “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”

There is no greater gift than listening. It’s in the silence and the leaning in that we learn, connect, and begin to gain understanding. 

Listening for me began in the kitchen. The kitchen was a place of happy laughter and banter, whirring mixers, and storytelling. The kitchen was a space for gathering and lingering. While the living room and dining room might have had more seating and comfortable resting spots, the kitchen always took center stage. That was thanks in large part to my mom’s belief in buttercream and her ability to listen. While she slathered homemade chocolate cakes with copious amounts of fluffy buttercream, she would ask leading questions, and hold the space for me to be heard. She imparted her wisdom during baking sessions where she taught me to knead pie crust, cutout sugar cookies, and fold egg whites for the perfect soufflé. 

Her baking style mirrored her personality—easy going and infused with fun. Her cakes were often lopsided. They might not be Pinterest or Instagram-worthy today, but they tasted divine and they were handcrafted with love. The cookbooks of my youth were Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book and Hershey’s 1934 Cookbook, both passed on from her mother. Now they reside on my kitchen counter, splotched with stains from the generation of bakers who came before me. The gift of these cookbooks is so much more than recipes for chocolate cream pie, jam thumbprints, wagon wheels, or coconut lemon bars. Although, those classic gems still find their way into my baking routine. But, the well-worn pages of my mother’s cookbooks serve as a reminder that food is a love language. The important conversations and the everyday conversations take place in the kitchen.

There’s a slowness about spending an afternoon pressing dainty spritz. I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of that magic until after my mother and grandmother died. I’m living their legacy every day. We think of legacies as something grandiose, but I’ve discovered that the most lasting memories come in the form of sweet little packages—my grandmother’s Parker House Rolls, my mom’s almond raspberry shortbread. The women who formed me live on with each cracked egg and stick of butter. 

My cookbook collection has expanded over the years, but I treasure my Betty Crocker and Hershey’s cookbooks the most, especially as my teenage son has started his own journey into baking. We blast Pentatonix as he tackles lemon tarts with Swiss meringue. Now it’s my turn to listen. I ask him leading questions, I lean into the silence, giving him space to speak when he’s ready. I understand the significance of baking together. This time we have in the kitchen is fleeting. Soon he’ll be off to college and stocking his own cupboards with vanilla bean paste and cornmeal. But, that’s okay because we’re continuing the tradition, I’m passing on family stories, and learning his one snickerdoodle at a time. As for the cookbooks, they’ll be waiting for him when he’s ready. 

Wishing you many leisurely days spent listening.


Click on the updated versions of Ellie’s favorite cookbooks to purchase.

Click on Ellie’s book below to purchase the first book in her Bakeshop Mystery Series!

Guest Writer ~ Cathy Barrow

Foodie Edition


June 12, 2020

Dear Book Lovers,

Its Foodie time over here on Dear Mr. Hemingway, and today I am literally drooling over Guest Writer~Cathy Barrow’s letter to Mr. H. Trout with a buttery crust, scrumptious pancakes, roast chicken, and a cookbook that reads like a memoir are front and center on the menu today. Let me tell you a little bit about Cathy. She is the author of three fabulous books, When Pies Fly (Grand Central Publishing), Pies Squared (Grand Central Publishing), and Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry (W.W. Norton & Company). She is a writer, teacher, recipe developer, knitter, traveler, and a ponderer (oh how I love to ponder). I truly want to spend time with her. Don’t you? Cathy’s letter to Mr. H. completely won me over. It’s thoughtful, clever, and absolutely delicious!

Enjoy my dear friends!



P.S. Cathy is at work on her 4th book, BAGELS, SCHMEARS, AND A NICE PIECE OF FISH, (Chronicle, February 2022). Check her out here.


Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I’ve read cookbooks almost as long as I’ve read your work. Every cookbook was an adventure story to me, although it isn’t cookbooks that I relate to Ernest Hemingway. Instead, it’s my mother’s Trout Hemingway, for which she was famous. It’s not that my Old Man had any relationship with The Sea, but still, Mom wrapped boneless trout, head on, with two slices of smoked bacon. Then she dipped the entire fish into milk and crushed crackers (Ritz or Saltines.) From there, the trout went into a hot pan with plenty of oil and a little butter for flavor. The fat would splatter and snap and the bacon crisped with the skin of the fish. It was ready fast – no more than a few minutes – and soon we were sitting around the picnic table in the backyard with fish and corn on the cob and my mother, ever the English teacher, would tell us what a rogue you were, Mr. H.

I’ve always loved a novel and The Sun Also Rises is one of my favorites, although when the sun rises here, I am more likely to turn to Marion Cunningham’s excellent The Breakfast Book, a classic with such precise and perfect recipes that I can let it fall open to any page and just make whatever appears before my eyes. Buttermilk Pancakes are a house favorite, but the granola bread is a sure winner, too. Her headnotes are clean and clear. I think you would appreciate her sensible words.

Your books, Mr. H, have such a rugged sense of nature woven into every word. For that reason, surely, you would appreciate the sensibility of Amanda Hesser’s The Cook and The Gardener, a cookbook that feels like a memoir, with recipes that tell the story of her relationship with a cantankerous French gardener, and how his sense of the natural world informed her creativity in kitchen. It’s a beautiful book and I cooked every recipe in it one spring, summer, and fall. Now, reliably, I return for the recipe for a currant and gooseberry tart. The berries rest atop a rich eggy custard in a sweet short crust. It’s a spectacular summer beauty for Whom all The Bells will Toll.

When the Snows of Kilimanjaro are falling, I count on Zuni Cafe to fill my kitchen with heady rich scents. Surely Judy Rodgers’ roast chicken with croutons and greens would be a meal you would appreciate, Ernest. It’s rich and robust and layered with textures and juicy bites.

If I had to choose, vis a vis cookbooks, whether To Have or Have Not, I would always choose Have. Perhaps you, too, would choose to have one of mine? I’ve published a primer on preserving, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry, and two books on pie, Pie Squared and When Pies Fly. I think you might enjoy the Cowboy Beef Stew Slab Pie or the Turkey Piccadillo Empanadas.

For now, I’ll say Farewell as I’m going To use these Arms for rolling out a pie crust instead of typing a letter to you,

All the best,

Cathy Barrow

Click on the books below to purchase

When Pies Fly book cover

Guest Writer ~ Nikki Marie

Foodie Edition

June 10, 2020

Dear Book Lovers,

Happy Guest Writer Wednesday! I am delighted to introduce you to today’s Foodie Guest…Nikki Marie. Nikki is the creator of the popular food blog, Chasing The Seasons and the author of the delicious and ever so stunning cookbook, Simple, Elegant Pasta Dinners (Page Street Publishing). Nikki lives in Northern New Jersey (fellow Jersey Girl) where the seasons are fabulous and the farms are abundant. Not only does Nikki develop all of her recipes, but she also styles and photographs all of her pictures for her blog (beyond impressive). I am giving you fair warning…Nikki’s passion for food is infectious. She loves celebrating her love of family and friends with incredible meals. She is a huge supporter of local agriculture and cooking with the freshest and cleanest ingredients possible. Nikki is no stranger in the press either. She has been featured in Publishers Weekly, Pittsburgh Post -Gazette, The Washington Post, Manhattan Book Review and Crate & Barrel...just to name a few. Nikki is a big fan of properly French-pressed coffee, 1940’s style and music, a good book that she can’t put down, period dramas, rainy days, history, and October.  Last but not least, her literary crush is none other than the charming Mr. Darcy! I hope you enjoy Nikki’s letter to Mr. H. It is a delicious one!



P.S. If you are looking for a seasonal cocktail that will knock your socks off, check out Nikki’s Strawberry Bourbon Smash. 🍓🍓🍓


Dear Mr. Hemingway,

While the world reveres you for your writing, many of us appreciate your insatiable appetite for good food, too.  The way you indelibly wove food and drink into your storylines, it was once written that to read you, is to have a seat at your table.

Much in the way that your father influenced your culinary taste and appreciation, for me, it was my grandmother.  By way of example, I was introduced to the Italian ideology to allow the seasons to direct the meal.  I learned that food is more than a source of nourishment – it is part of our story and another way in which we can express our love, from the inside out.

I think you would agree with me then, if I told you that a good cookbook needs to be something larger than a collection of ingredients and methods.  It needs to have a voice. Like a good novel, it must pull me in and course me onto a journey.  A journey that I can trust will always end at the table.  

While there are many cookbooks I love for this reason, I find I linger the most inside the pages of Mimi Thorisson’s A Kitchen in France.  

With each turn of the page, I traverse through the seasons of Médoc.  By way of an artichoke soufflé or roasted asparagus with chervil, I browse the open-air markets in spring.  In summer, the market is abundant, and I am taken first by the succulent cherries.  I will savor them in a cherry clafoutis I can bake from scratch with hints of orange flower water.  The peaches are ripe and plump, and I know that chilled peaches simmered in white wine will be divine on a steamy August evening.  

In autumn, I find myself in the windy fields, walking across the twisted vines with a pumpkin propped on my hip.  The aroma of chimney smoke hangs heavy in the air.  Back at the chateau, I pull up a chair in the flickering glow of dinner’s candlelight.  The pumpkin has roasted slowly into a fragrantly rich soup.  Mimi presents us with a piping hot dish of potatoes a la Lyonnaise which she refers to as “the little black dress” of side dishes.  A local Bordeaux is set down to breathe.  The night’s feast crackles in the old kitchen fireplace, and conversation erupts about how roasting over dried grapevines creates a palatable distinction.  

I am there with every page I turn.  

The recipes and notes read like passages from a memoir, or perhaps love letters to France.  I think it will remind you of a time when you once lived and loved there.  

Life in Médoc is amplified, and I am left bewitched and inspired in my own kitchen.   

Let us uncork the Bordeaux, Mr. Hemingway, and meet me in A Kitchen in France.

With love,


P.S. Remember how you fell under the spell of Italy’s lore during World War I?   How in A Farewell to Arms, Italy itself, was a character?  Well, I have taken our beloved Italian ingredient, pasta, and created 75 seasonally inspired sauces, in my cookbook, Simple, Elegant Pasta Dinners.  I hope you will find it full of satisfying inspiration.

As always, stop by to see me anytime at  

Click on the books below to purchase

Guest Writer ~ Suzanne Nelson

Foodie Edition


May 27, 2020

Dear Lovely Readers,

I am thrilled to share with you today’s Foodie Guest Writer, Suzanne Nelson. Suzanne is no stranger to the book world. Before settling into her career as a middle grade/young adult author, she worked as a children’s book editor in New York City for eight years. Suzanne is the author to dozens of books. I instantly fell in love with her foodie series for middle graders including Cake Pop Crush, Donut Go Breaking My Heart, Hot Cocoa Hearts, I Only Have Pies For You, Macarons At Midnight, Shake It Off, and Sundae My Prince Will Come. These books are so delicious, that her 2017 hit, You’re Bacon Me Crazy was even made into a Hallmark Original Movie this year 😮! Incorporating foodie fun into books for our next generation to devour is the ultimate treat!

I hope you enjoy Suzanne’s letter to Mr. H. She shares with him her love of A Farewell To Arms, A Cat in the Rain, her grandmother’s recipes and one of her go to cookbooks. Enjoy!

Happy Reading and Happy Cooking!



Check out Suzanne with a compilation of her Grandmother’s recipes. 🥰🥰🥰


Dear Mr. Hemingway,

My younger, more naïve self of decades past wasn’t particularly fond of your writing. After reading A Farewell to Arms in high school, I felt downright cheated by its tragic ending. I was angry at you for making me uncomfortable. You forced me to think about the unfairness of life, when I only wanted to believe in its goodness and beauty. You might’ve laughed at my adolescent criticism of your “simplistic” style, especially if I’d told you about my own dreams of becoming a published writer. You might’ve bluntly reprimanded, “there is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man.” You might’ve ordered me out of my sheltered existence and into the great wide world, commanding me to live my own truth before I condemned yours. And you would’ve been justified on all accounts. 

The fact is, Mr. Hemingway, I owe you an apology. I misjudged and underappreciated you. Over the years, I’ve grown to better understand you and the many ironies, beauties, and tragedies that accompany life. And I’ve been thinking of you more than usual lately. You see, recently, our world has slowed its pace. The scope of our daily existences has shrunk to the size of our own backyards. Much of what you loved about life—adventuring to far-off places, enjoying the lively and satisfying company of friends, feasting on eclectic cuisines—has come to a screeching halt. In the midst of this unsettling limbo, I searched my bookshelves for solace and stumbled upon your short story, A Cat in the Rain. The story is, of course, about a cat trapped under a café table during a storm—alone, uncomfortable, and afraid to leave for fear of getting wet. What serendipity, to revisit your story during this moment in our human history! How many of our circumstances lately have become like your cat’s!

But even during this surreal and disquieting confinement, I’ve discovered comforts. The frantic, spinning hamster wheel of schedules has relaxed. There is more time for creativity, more time for spontaneous family fun, and more time for cooking and conversation around the table. I have never been more acutely aware of how food connects us. I miss the cheery hum of restaurant conversations, the succor of morning coffee talks with friends, the chaotic, extended family feasts on holidays. But our family still has daily gatherings around our own kitchen table. No matter which corners of the house we each retreat to, eventually, we find one another again around our table. We’re drawn back to that connection, sooner or later, by the inevitable, gravitational pull of food and love.

Although I never had the chance to ask her, I believe my grandmother, Christine Tallman, understood this to be true. She knew the art of food as balm. Her chicken pot pie was a staple in my household growing up. My mom made it whenever we were sick, or on rainy, wintry days when we needed a dose of coziness.

Grandma was only nineteen when she married my grandfather. In 1941, she left the bustling town she’d grown up in to move to a potato farm in rural Pennsylvania, where she quickly learned the trials and travails of running a farmstead. She had eight children over the span of two decades, juggling a never-ending stream of household and farm chores with parenting. My grandfather—an ebulliently talkative man—constantly invited employees, customers, friends and fellow farmers to their table. On any given day, Grandma never knew how many extra mouths she might have to feed. The farm table had two long benches made for elbow-to-elbow, sardines-in-a-can style dining. The table was loud and boisterous, often with laughter but also with passionate arguing. Grandma’s kitchen was the sun around which the household orbited. 

I often wonder how my grandmother felt about the life she chose. She passed away when I was eight, so I never had the chance to know her as a grown woman. I was never able to ask her if she felt fulfilled as an individual, a wife, and a mother. I wonder if, at times, she felt like your cat, confined by her times or her roles. My grandfather held the purse strings as well as the car keys in their marriage. Grandpa tried to teach Grandma how to drive only one time. When he began with an in-depth lecture on engine parts, the lesson failed. So, Grandma didn’t get her driver’s license until she was fifty-six years old. There were many places she longed to visit, but she rarely travelled beyond Pennsylvania. Geographically, her world was small, but her influence on those who knew her was wide and all-encompassing. She loved and was loved deeply. She opened her home to so many, inviting them to her table for comfort and company. And her cooking brought many other “cats” in from the rain. 

Decades after her passing, some of the women in my family compiled my grandma’s recipes into a cookbook, Christine Tallman’s Cookbook, Written in Her Own Hand. The recipes sit beside photos of her throughout her life. On the book’s pages, I see a lovely, petite woman on her wedding day, a school girl laughing with friends, a young mother holding her firstborn, and a grandmother cuddling her grandchildren. The recipes give me a taste of her love. The photos are clues to a life I’ll never fully know, but can sense the joy in my grandma’s smiles.

It is ironic that so much of my own writing centers on food, when I’ve never had a true passion for cooking. I’ve suffered my share of cooking calamities through the years, but I keep trying. Second to my grandma’s cookbook, my favorite cookbook is Betty Crocker’s Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Cook from Scratch, now in its twelfth edition. It’s a staple in my kitchen, because it gives wonderful, basic information for cooking amateurs like myself, plus tried-and-true recipes that I’m relatively confident I can’t ruin. Given my lack of talent in the kitchen, you may wonder, Mr. Hemingway, why I’m drawn to write about food. The truth is, I write less about food itself and more about what food gives us. Food offers us comfort. It delights us with infinite flavors and textures. It inspires us to gather around tables with family and friends, to share, to laugh, to fight, to talk, and, most of all, to love. Perhaps like my grandma, I sense that when we have a mealtime table to congregate around, we’re no longer solitary cats trapped in the rain.

Thank you, Mr. Hemingway, for giving your water-logged cat a happy ending. By bringing your cat in from the rain at the end of your story, you offer hope amidst sadness. Your cat finds shelter, safety, and warmth. May we all find the same as we re-enter the world in the coming months. And, in the meantime, may we find it with delicious meals around our own tables. 

Yours with humble gratitude,

Suzanne Nelson

PS. If you want to read about how one mysterious, one-of-a-kind food helps to restore the faith of an orphan, an elephant, and a dying town during the Dust Bowl, check out my middle-grade novel, A Tale Magnolious. For more fictional foodie fun for middle-graders, check out my line of Scholastic foodie books, including the upcoming Pumpkin Spice Up Your Life, which arrives in bookstores in September 2020.

Click here to check out Suzanne’s Website!

Click on the book pics below to purchase

Guest Writer~Kate Shaffer

Foodie Edition

May 20, 2020

Dear Book Friends,

Happy Guest Writer Wednesday. I am thrilled to share with you this week’s Foodie. Kate Shaffer, Owner and founder of Black Dinah Chocolatiers, is typically all about the chocolate. Today however, she is talking all things picnic related to Mr. Hemingway. Before we get to that, let me tell you a little more about Kate. In addition to owning two chocolate shops in Maine, she is the author of two books, Chocolate For Beginners and Desserted. She has appeared multiple times in Martha Stewart Living Magazine, Gourmet Magazine and Good Life Magazine. She has won countless awards, including Top ten Chocolatiers in North America, The Good Food Award, Food & Wine Magazine’s Top 25 Cookbooks, and many many more. You can find Kate’s recipes on her Black Dinah Chocolatier Blog, Zest Maine and in her yummy cookbooks. I hope you enjoy her delicious letter to Mr. H. When an outdoor picnic sounds like a five star dining experience, I am all in.

Happy Reading & Happy Cooking!



P.S. Be sure to subscribe to Kate’s newsletter. She will be hosting a Father’s Day Giveaway with one of her favorite Maine Based Mystery authors.


Dear Mr. H.,

It’s been a while, and I’m sorry for that. I’ve been busy, and you’ve been dead, and frankly, our correspondence while I was in high school kinda killed the romance for me.

It wasn’t you. It was me.

Anyway, let’s not rehash the past. The plain truth is, at this moment in time, there isn’t much I wouldn’t do to be sharing a coffee, croissant, and lively banter with you at Place de la Contrescarpe; or discussing anything but the daily news over the bouillabaisse Marseillaise at Café du Dôme. From here, it seems an escape from the grim, stale reality of the day to day, sheltered in my tiny apartment, seeing not much else other than the well-worn route to and from work.

Recently a line you wrote famously in The Old Man and the Sea came to me as I was feeling a little sorry for myself: “Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.”


It is spring in Maine! The birds are singing, the bees are buzzing, there are fresh lettuces, ramps, and fiddleheads in the farmers’ markets! The grass is finally green again, and the sky is blue more often than it is grey. It is perfect weather to be outside! And because it is Maine there is a rock, a patch of grass, a soft bed of moss beneath a towering maple tree that waits for me in solitary welcome, far from the Portland crowds. A place to lay a blanket and a book, and unpack a well thought-out picnic.

Mr. H, I love eating outside! Outside, salads are crisper, fruit is sweeter, bread is fresher, butter is buttery-er. There is nothing like a fresh, steaming cup of coffee next to a morning campfire. Just as no indoor “grill pan” can replicate the clean, crisp char on a perfect T-bone from an outdoor charcoal-fired Weber.

Fifteen years ago, I discovered that author Jeremy Jackson shared my love of outdoor dining when I stumbled upon his sweet, simple cookbook Good Day for a Picnic. In it, Jeremy not only introduces us to “simple food that travels well”; but chronicles the history of picnicking (and how it is, in fact, different than simply “eating outside”), makes suggestions for simple picnic gear (an old blanket, a ukulele, your dog), and shares some perfect places to have a picnic (an orchard, a small airport, the lawn behind the state capitol).

He can be downright philosophical about it, and I can again picture lively debate among your Dômiers about what exactly defines a picnic.

And yet, he retains a joie de vivre about it all that is completely antithetical to the world-weary art of your Lost Generation. And this is what I love about this book. It sparks joy, imagination, and encourages us to plan and create for the simple pleasure of eating outside. “Think of what you can do with what there is.”

And the food! Jeremy gives us recipes for a global collection of portable delicacies such as Gougères with Fontina and Chives, Poached Salmon with Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette, Cornish Beef Pasties, and Sesame Noodles. There are drinks galore, classics such as a Pimm’s cocktail and several variations on lemonade; as well as weird things like a vinegar-based beverage from the Middle East called Sekanjabin (which is delicious and shockingly thirst-quenching). And, of course, dessert: Apple Cider Tartlets, Little Chocolate Cookies, Plum Tart Painted Purple.

“Now is no time to think of what you do not have.” These days, we can’t just skip off to the outdoor cafes of Paris or Istanbul; and we can’t plan the grand summer fêtes we’ve looked forward to all winter. But we can enjoy a pretty, well-planned meal outside, and bask in the good company of the birds and the trees and the sky.

Thanks for the counsel, Mr. H. I wonder what other good advice is lurking in those books of yours. I plan to find out at my next picnic.

With warmth,


P.S. Be sure to check out my own cookbooks, Chocolate For Beginners and Desserted. Hope to see you at the store one day!

Click on the book pics below to purchase!

Guest Writer ~ Julia Mueller

Foodie Edition


May 13, 2020

Dear Book Friends,

Today’s Guest Foodie Writer is in my opinion..a food and wellness guru! Julia Mueller, creator of the extremely popular food blog, The Roasted Root, makes delicious food that is actually good for you! Julia’s recipes are nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory and are primarily centered around vegetables and meat. Her approach to cooking is far from a “one size fits all” approach. Listening to your body and feeding it what it needs is totally her jam. Whether you follow a vegetarian, vegan, keto, paleo, or gluten-free diet, Julia has you covered. There is no shortage of recipes when you visit The Roasted Root. Julia’s blog is bubbling over with healthy meals to make any time of day. I must confess…I am a frequent user of her recipes and her blog has successfully planned many of my weekly meals! Julia’s greatness doesn’t stop there though. In addition to her popular food blog, she is the author of three very successful cookbooks…Paleo Power Bowls (one of my favorites), Delicious Probiotic Drinks, and The Quintessential Kale Cookbook. Not too shabby. Anyone who is looking to cater to their dietary needs without compromising the deliciousness of what they are eating needs to check out this gem of a foodie! I hope you enjoy Julia’s letter to Mr. H. It’s a tasty one!



P.S. You must try Julia’s Teriyaki Turkey and Vegetable Skillet. It is absolutely fabulous!

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Some of my fondest childhood memories involve me sitting on the kitchen counter stealing bites of butter and sips of Diet Pepsi while “helping” my mom bake up some form of deliciousness. Bread, cookies, cakes, bars, rolls…anything made with leavening agents is my mother’s specialty! While my parents cooking was never anything to write home about, my mom put a lot of love into baking for our family. 

It is because of those calm afternoons baking with my mom, when there was nothing to care about, nowhere to be, nothing to do but combine flour, butter, sugar, and magic that I have always been inspired to create in the kitchen. You could say these experiences engendered the respect for both precision and freedom in the kitchen right into my soul.

I’ve been writing my food blog, The Roasted Root for almost ten years, and have written three cookbooks. I have learned there is beauty in keeping cooking and baking simple using minimal ingredients and keeping the prep time low, such that the process remains approachable and stress-free. I like keeping it simple, fresh, and nutritious, thereby maximizing both efficiency and palatability. 

I remember the first time I met another food blogger. I didn’t know what to expect, as I felt I was about to encounter a celebrity – someone about whose success I could only dream. Sitting down to lunch at a local restaurant with Natalie Perry was a life-altering for me. Here was a completely down-to-earth human who is an expert mom, home chef and food blogger, who has a balanced perspective on life and is an all-around great human and fun person with whom to spend time.

Natalie and I met the very first year I began blogging and have been friends ever since. We share the love of creating whole food recipes using clean ingredients, an addiction to cheese, and the resistance to following mainstream trends. By now you can probably guess that Natalie’s cookbooks are my absolute favorite. 

Both Natalie’s cookbooks, The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking and The Big Book of Paleo Pressure Cooking are my go-to resources when I’m low on inspiration and desiring a delicious home-cooked meal that can be prepared easily any night of the week. In essence, when I’m sick of my own cooking, I turn to Natalie. 

When pressed to divulge my favorite between the two, I would have to go with The Big Book of Paleo Pressure Cooking. As reluctant as I was to evolve from my slow cooker, there is just no denying the convenience of the pressure cooker! Recipes in both books are equally magnificent, but I simply use my pressure cooker more often than my slow cooker. The upside to having to choose between slow cooking and pressure cooking is Natalie has converted the recipes in both books to use either one!

The Big Book of Paleo Pressure Cooking includes 150 recipes for everyday dinners as well as entertaining for guests. The book is broken into dish type and meat type. Within the dinner section, you’ll find recipes for poultry, beef, pork and lamb, and seafood. There is also a section on vegetable side dishes and even a section on dessert! There is a chapter for Pantry Essentials, which is awesome for those who are new to cooking, the paleo diet, and/or the pressure cooker. 

I love that Natalie uses all sorts of seasonal ingredients, making it a super useful resource for pressure cooking any time of year. Anyone who enjoys a home-cooked meal will love this cookbook!

Many thanks for having me here, folks! I hope you enjoy Natalie’s book as much as I do!

With love,

Julia Mueller

The Roasted Root

P.S In addition to Natalie’s cookbooks, take a peek at some of mine as well. Paleo Power Bowls, Delicious Probiotic Drinks, and The Quintessential Kale Cookbook.

Guest Writer ~ Natalie Slater

Foodie Edition


Natalie Slater, Foodie Author

May 6, 2020

Dear Book Lovers,

Happy Wednesday and Happy Guest Writer Day! As you may already know, we are in the middle of the Foodie Edition series. I can’t wait for you to meet today’s guest writer…Natalie Slater. First, let me back up a minute. My youngest son had a sleepover at his good friend’s house last fall (also one of my BFFs sons). He came home the next day raving about how my girlfriend Molly, made him these awesome Chocolate Waffles for breakfast. I asked her for the recipe and she sent me the link to Natalie Slater’s website, Bake and Destroy. Not only did I find the waffle recipe there, I found a ton of other delicious and fun things to make including this fabulous Edamame Beans & Toast recipe. I started following Natalie and all her work. I was thrilled to have found a new and inspiring VEGAN foodie to follow. A few things to note about Natalie is that not only is she an animal lover, cookbook author, recipe developer and The Marketing Director for the vegan food brand, Upton’s Natural, she also has appeared on The Food Network and The Cooking Channel😮😮😮. How awesome is that? I hope you enjoy her letter to Mr. H. I am not going to lie… had me drooling for Italian food!

Happy Reading & Happy Cooking!



P.S. The percentage of vegetarians, vegan, and other semi-vegetarianism categories was estimated to be around 8% in 2018. According to an article in WTVOX, the number of vegans grew in the United Staled from 4 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2018. CNBC reported that in 2019, London was named the most vegan-friendly city!🖤🖤🖤


Dear Mr. Hemingway, 

When you were writing A Farewell to Arms could you ever have imagined that one day people would study your love of Italy, trying to dissect which part of it – the food, the landscapes, the women – inspired so many of your works? In fact, I just read an article by Silvia Ammary, professor of American literature and writing at John Cabot University, focused solely on your “knowledge and respect for Italian cuisine,” citing example after example from your short stories and novels. 

As a third-generation Italian-American with roots, like you, in Illinois, I too spend much of my time romanticizing food. When I was a little girl, my grandma Sharon Rigazio, daughter of Italian immigrants Defendente Petitti and Gianna Sampo, was famous for her spaghetti. I should add that at 84 years old, now retired in Florida, she is still famous for her spaghetti. Back then, though, my grandpa would bring men home from work with him just to try it – and they always left begging for the recipe for their wives. She shared it willingly, knowing that the ingredients were nothing special – it was the patience, and love, that went into slow-cooking the sauce all day, and her use of spaghettini, spaghetti’s skinnier cousin, that gave her pasta its magic. 

My grandma loves me fiercely, always has, and a bowl of her spaghetti for me is what spinach is for Popeye. And so, I’m drawn to Italian people and Italian food. My first job when I moved to Chicago was in an Italian bakery, where my boss, Letizia, fretted over the fact that I was vegan and sent me home with containers of penne in carrot sauce so I wouldn’t starve. 

Every year around Father’s Day my parents would make the hour drive from Joliet to Chicago to meet me in Little Italy for the Festa Pasta Vino. I’d eat Italian ice while everyone else filled up on stuffed artichokes and wine. I honestly can’t remember how it happened – if there was a cooking demo, or if my mom and I just wandered over to the author’s table, but somehow, I went home once a year with a spiral-bound, self-published cookbook called Recipes My Nonna Taught Me.  The author is simply “Francena” and she listed her AOL email address somewhere on one of the back pages. It features blurry copies of family photos, illustrations by Chuck Lawson, and just the right amount of “so-and-so can’t get enough of this dish” to make me smile and think of my grandma. 

My mother was thrilled to find dishes like Onion Sandwiches listed inside. A simple sandwich made from sliced onion, mayonnaise, tomato, and parsley that she used to eat with my great-grandpa Teno. These are not Italian restaurant recipes, these are, as the title suggests, recipes your grandma would teach you – and aren’t those the best kind? I skipped over things like Breaded Veal and gravitated instead toward the Baked Ziti, which I could make pretty easily with vegan mozzarella shreds and seasoned tofu instead of ricotta. 

It quickly became one of my husband’s favorite dishes, so I sent an email to Francena to thank her, and to let her know how I’d been veganizing so many of her Nonna’s recipes. Her reply was very sweet – she seemed tickled at the thought of an Italian vegan and told me her Nonna would be amazed at how many people bought the book, and how they made her recipes their own. 

I’d be lying if I said Francena’s nostalgic style didn’t influence me when I wrote my own cookbook, Bake and Destroy: Good Food for Bad Vegans a few years later. I even included my grandma’s spaghetti sauce recipe, which no one will ever make exactly right, but they seem to enjoy it anyway. 

And now, when I get emails from people who love my recipes, or who tell me how they’ve tweaked them to suit their own dietary needs or preferences, I think of Francena and hope that I made her feel as good when I emailed her. 

I did some internet snooping and discovered that Francena is still selling her cookbook at Italian festivals all over the country. Most recently she ran an ad in the Italian Times, a newsletter for Milwaukee’s Italian community, offering two copies for $16 (or one for $10) along with instructions on how to mail order or email her. If you’re the granddaughter of a great Italian cook, you might want to pick it up. But, if you’re hoping for vegan Italian without thinking up your own substitutes, you might want to try Chloe Coscarelli’s Vegan Italian Kitchen instead. 

I wonder what you would think of an Italian vegan, Mr. Hemmingway! I know you were a meat and potatoes kind of a guy… but I bet I could win you over with my famous Vegan Baked Ziti. 


Natalie Slater 

P.S. Be sure to check out my cookbook, Bake and Destroy: Good Food for Bad Vegans (Page Street Publishing) and Upton’s Naturals!

Click on the book pics below to purchase

Bake and Destroy book cover
Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen cookbook cover

Guest Writer~Melissa Joulwan

Foodie Edition


April 29, 2020

Dear Readers,

I am thrilled to present to you the Dear Mr. Hemingway Guest Writers~Foodie Edition series. For the next eight Wednesdays, I will be bringing you the best of the best lovers of food. Cookbook authors, writers, food bloggers, photographers, food stylists, and business owners from all around will be writing to Mr. H. about their love of cooking and their favorite cookbook. The series kicks off today with none other than Melissa Joulwan, an American living in Prague. I first came across Melissa many years ago when she lived in Vermont. Her blog at the time, The Clothes Make the Girl (now called Well Fed: Ingredients For a Healthy Life) was my go-to for recipes, book recommendations, and healthy lifestyle tips. Melissa is the author of three delicious cookbooks… Well Fed, Well Fed 2, and Well Fed Weeknights. She was also a guest on the What Should I Read Next Podcast (episode 60 & 219). She is a paleo goddess who loves Jane Eyre, the band Social Distortion and her quintessential stompy black boots. In addition to recipe development, Melissa combined her love of food, reading, and traveling and created the Website & Podcast, Strong Sense of Place with her husband Dave. Fabulous books paired with literary travel…..winning combination. I hope you enjoy what Melissa has to say to Mr. Hemingway today. I am so delighted with her letter!

Happy Reading and Happy Cooking!



P.S. Did you know that Melissa is a retired Rollergirl 😮😮😮?? In 2001 she helped form the Texas Rollergirls, the original Flat Track Roller Derby that started in Austin and spread around the world. She appeared on Good Morning America and The Today Show AND wrote the book, Rollergirl: Totally True Tales From the Track (Simon & Schuster).

P.P.S. Check out my go-to Chocolate Chili Recipe from Melissa. It is a slam dunk with my family.

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I’ve spent the past few days with my imagination immersed in Cuba, doing research for my latest project. I’ve been listening to salsa and mambo and timba and daydreaming about eating fried yuca — perhaps on a sun-dappled balcony — with a cool mojito alongside. I know Cuba was a special place for you, and I can understand why. Bright colors are everywhere, and the air is touched by a soft tropical breeze. The people are friendly, and the rhythm of music pulses in the streets; it’s the stuff of fantasy escape.

When I can’t travel in real life, I love that there are two things I can do that will transport me to another place, at least in my imagination: I can read a great book set in my dream destination, and I can eat the favorite foods of the locals. Stories and cuisine from around the world give us a taste of what it’s like to be there. There are so many places I’ve yet to visit that somehow fill my heart with homesickness — I crave foods I’ve yet to try and connections with people I’ve yet to meet.

And that’s why I have such affection for the book Bought, Borrowed & Stolen. Irish chef Allegra McEvedy traveled the world for more than 20 years. At each of her stops — from Cuba to China, Lebanon to Japan, South Africa, Italy, France, Mexico, San Francisco, and more — she ate. And ate and ate. Street food and fancy meals and home-cooked dinners. Through it all, she scribbled notes and tucked postcards into her journals. And along with the recipes and taste memories, she collected knives — more than 100 of them — each with its own story to tell.

Allegra is a thorough tour guide, and as she tells us the tales of her knives and where she acquired them, we travel the world with her,  seeing it from the perspective of the food and the people who cooked it. Yes, there are recipes: for Greek shepherd’s salad and Persian lamb kebabs and an all-American brunch hash and a slinky bowl of curry noodles and dozens more. But beyond that, there are tales of adventure and the intimate connections that are made between people — human to human — across a table of food. It’s all a reminder that the world is both more vast and amazing and much smaller than we realize.

And that is the great gift of good books and good food. They take us to far-flung places that are unfamiliar but somehow feel like home.

Cheers and bon appétit, Mr. Hemingway,


P.S. If you, too, would like to travel the world through food, right where you are, in your comfy kitchen, all of my cookbooks are filled with international recipes and there are more than 500 recipes on my website Well Fed: Ingredients For A Happy Life, including one for Yuca Fries.

For armchair travel around the world — books, food, music, literary landmarks, and more — I invite you to listen to my Strong Sense of Place Podcast. Our latest episode is all about Cuba, so that might be a good place for you to start. (Although I’m partial to the Prague Episode because that’s my adopted home.)

Click on the Book Pics below to purchase!


Guest Writers~Foodie Edition


April 2020

March 30, 2020

Dear Book Lovers,

I am so excited to announce the second Guest Writer Series to You. THE FOODIE EDITION! That’s right…all things delicious are coming your way this April. I am hands down a book enthusiast. But guess what, I am also obsessed with all things food-related too.  If you are anything like me, in addition to all of those Pulitzer Prize-winning novels, COOKBOOKS line your perfectly sculpted bookshelves as well.  Spring is here (almost here for some of us) and its time to freshen up our cookbooks and resources for new and inspiring recipes. By Guest Writers for this series is no joke. They are cookbook authors, writers, business owners, food bloggers, and much more. They will be writing to Mr. Hemingway each week talking about their love of food and their favorite/go to COOKBOOK! Baking, chocolate, vegan, paleo, whole foods, desserts, farm to table…this series has got you covered. It is time to make room on your bookshelves…Cookbooks are on the menu!

Talk soon, Everyone!

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S. What is YOUR favorite cookbook???

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