Tag Archives: Cooking With Fire

Spoon, Interrupted

If you’re like me you’ve been thinking, boy-howdy it’s been slow news these past few months, I sure could use a janky video of hairy dudes burning up spoons beneath a singing owl to stir things up.

We got you.

The backstory: A friend recently sent Paula Marcoux and Pret Woodburn a useful device (CharCone 24) to make small wood leftovers into charcoal. This act of generosity happened to align with Peter Follansbee’s need to rid his shop of spoons which, for whatever reason, didn’t make the grade.

Here’s the video evidence set to New Slang by The Shins.

(Video provided by Paula Marcoux–And sorry but that is not the late Christopher Lee making a cameo at :49)



While the masses stumble about in a pumpkin spiced haze, savvy Plymouth CRAFT people know there’s more to Autumn than imitation flavor-

Riving and Hurdlemaking Weekend is coming up-October 28-29th at the Pinewoods Dance Camp, the same camp where Greenwood Fest is held. Peter Follansbee, Pret Woodburn and me will help you build your own hurdle-gate and work with you to refine your green woodworking techniques and understanding of wood grain and edge tools. All levels of experience are welcome. There’s food created by the amazing Paula Marcoux and cozy lodging is available at the camp. Sign up soon-spots go fast.

Also, don’t miss the Autumn Celebration on September 29th at Plymouth’s own Mayflower Brewery. There’ll be a kimchi demo, accompanying Korean IPA, and music by local favorites The Dinghys. Sponsored by both Plymouth CRAFT and Edible South Shore and South Coast, you can sample the world while enjoying the locally grown and made.

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Get your hands on some thermal mass-

It’s exfoliating and tasty–

You can almost smell the warm bread just peeled out of this earthen, hand-made wood-fired oven…


You’ve often thought, how cool would that be to have one of those ovens in my own backyard!  Could I build one myself? And also, why am I thinking in italics?

Well, here’s your chance.

Plymouth Craft is offering a 2-day workshop on May 2nd and 3rd on building an earthen oven. This is not some esoteric, beard-pulling musing privy only to a select few who happened to read about it on the back pages of Hipster Digest. Nor is it simply a brief introduction to the topic. This will be a comprehensive, sleeves up, hands-on weekend of utter wonderful taught by real people for real people using real materials to make real food.

You can do this.


And to boot, it’s being taught by the very special and talented Paula Marcoux. You know Paula–she wrote the book on Cooking with Fire. But a special love of hers are earthen ovens and their many forms. Around her home, I have personally seen at least 4 ovens she and Pret have built themselves. Legend has it that Paula once even dug out an oven into the side of a dirt road nearby. Hi neighbor–care for some bread? 

Get ready for some next-level instruction.


This is a very cool opportunity. For real. The workshop is reasonably priced, the materials are readily available, and you will find no better teacher and guide than Paula.

You can do this.

Build an Earthen Oven

A two-day oven-building workshop with Paula Marcoux

offered by Plymouth CRAFT




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Area Plugs

How you doing?

It’s late notice but…

You’ve got your tomatoes in; you’ve done your mock fantasy football draft; you’ve pretended the sink wasn’t full of dishes…

What to do?

Well, in less than two hours The Cooking Channel’s, MAN FIRE FOOD will be featuring the fabulous Paula Marcoux and her new book, Cooking With Fire.


See Paula work cooperatively with fire in a way heretofore unseen since Jimi Hendrix went nuts on his guitar!

See how the cinematography of Savory Pond and Pret and Paula’s backyard plays out on National TV!

Here’s a nice write-up on the show by Storey Publishing: http://blog.storey.com/2014/08/paula-marcoux-cooking-with-fire-on-man.html

That’s tonight, 8pm, EST.


The episode should be available on the web and re-broadcast sundry times.

We’ll keep you posted.

Speaking of Pret…


When he’s not cutting a beam’s end square for a restored sash-saw mill–


–he’s shredding honky-tonk with his banjo and his band, The Dinghy’s.

They’ll be playing at The BBC Cedarville this Friday night, August 22nd.

Tell them you read this on BLUE OAK and they’ll be like, what?

The Dinghys are one of the best bands south of Boston. They’re comprised of a couple of carpenters, two electricians, and a few ex-pilgrims, among other notables. They are most def worth a little trip if you’re in the 508 or 617.

No band has more fun in a live performance.

Hope to see you there.

I’ll tell you all about our new sawmill project…





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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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