Product Placement

This is Paula and Pret’s house.


They built it themselves, with the help of friends.

They live on a little pond in Plymouth called Savery Pond.

More like SAVORY.

Here is an outdoor oven made of a clay mortar with a clapboard roof:


And here’s another:


These are a couple of several ovens which Pret and Paula have made around their house.

Chem-Lawn trucks needn’t call. The residents here have differing priorities.

They live in a wooded place, friendly to birds, to ice-skaters, and to nice people.

They heat their house with a hyper-efficient wood-burning system called a Tulikivi.

Outside, folks inevitably gather around a simple fire-pit in among the ovens and the garden.

And fire is central to their lives.

Fire is central to their lives in a way which many of us no longer understand. Paula knows how to use fire in the same way that one of us might use an ax or a chisel. Or a laptop.

Fire, for her, is an essential tool.

You may have heard—Paula just wrote a book. It’s called Cooking With Fire. The full title is: Cooking With Fire: From Roasting on a Spit to Baking in a Tannur, Rediscovered Techniques and Recipes That Capture the Flavors of Wood-Fired Cooking.

Here’s a picture from the book (page 170) of a tannur being heated before naan bread is attached to its side walls:


This simple bread, I know from experience, is utterly delicious; the company even better.

So this book I’m speaking of…it’s much more than a collection of recipes.

It’s a call away from our screens toward something more elemental.

It’s a call to interact with friends, old and new.

It’s a call to re-examine what counts in your life, and what doesn’t.

Maybe the book is a little revolutionary that way. Sometimes all you need is a few marshmallows and a little fire to gather ’round (p.15).

Speaking of which, here’s the money shot of a traditional “flip” (p.88) drink. It’s some strange alchemy made with a hot poker, molasses, beer and rum.

I’m still reading it. The book follows me upstairs and then down again. It’s handy that way.

Meanwhile, Paula’s been interviewed by a hundred radio stations and programs, including The Splendid Table.

They’re going to film an episode of Man Fire Food  at that little house on Savery Pond.

Here’s a link to a Boston Globe article published yesterday:

And Peter Follansbee did a nice write-up about Paula’s book:

It goes without saying: Paula didn’t write this book for fame. But where there’s quality, sincerity, and passion behind the work, sometimes fame isn’t far behind.


This is a pretty special thing, for those who know Paula. It’s a great joy to see someone follow her own path and succeed. We know there’s a generous spirit—wise and witty–among the words. Ultimately, this is a book about sharing. And it makes us happy.

And hungry. Like wicked, friggin hungry.

I bought my copies directly from Paula. If you’re from away, you can always do Amazon. The price is very reasonable. Or check it out at  your local library.

Did I mention the step by step instructions on how to build your own wood-fired oven (p.205) with affordable materials?


See you round the fire–


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3 thoughts on “Product Placement

  1. Marie Pelletier says:

    great job Rick–nice tribute to some neat interesting and great people

  2. graemeu says:

    Been there, done that.
    I’m not big on this internet commerce (Amazon) but when I got home a week ago and found the boss hunched over the laptop ordering horsey books I said, “while you’re at it how about getting Cooking with Fire”, no sooner said than done.
    Thursday night I got an email from her with this title “Cooking with fire – yes we are…” and one line inside “Oooh your cook book looks great!” Paula can take that as personal to her and I can say that I’m not disappointed with following the recommendations of The P & R team. We have just been given a small rick of brick and I thought I might use some for a forge but the boss now has a different plan, sigh!

  3. Ron says:

    Just got the book today. Very impressed with it.

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