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–