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The Cookstr Weekly: Recipes from The Glass Kitchen

July 1, 2014
June 12, 2014

The two things we love most here at Cookstr are food and books. Not just cookbooks, but all kinds of books. And we have a soft spot for fiction that includes culinary descriptions so vivid that the food itself becomes a character. That’s why we launched Cookstr’s Food + Fiction Goodreads group, and why the first book we’re featuring there is Linda Francis Lee’s upcoming novel The Glass Kitchen.

We’ve got a sneak preview for you of some recipes from The Glass Kitchen, as well as a word from Linda about her process of getting back into the kitchen while writing the book. Enjoy!

Warmest regards,

Kara Rota
Editorial Director

  by Linda Francis Lee 

More Recipes from The Glass Kitchen

Chili Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes 


Grapefruit and Avocado Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing 


by Linda Francis Lee

New York City is famous for its food – and the ability to order most anything over the phone and have it delivered. My grandmother was an amazing cook; my mother and sister both are fabulous cooks. But when people ask me what kind of cook I am, I have been known to say that I can dial with the best of them. But while I was working on my new book, The Glass Kitchen: A Novel of Sisters, I realized that the main character, Portia Cuthcart, was a cook, a very good cook. Which meant one thing: I had to get back to the kitchen and dust off my culinary skills.



More than one friend, including my wonderful – and patient – husband, gave me a wry look. There is an infamous story about me exploding a glass blender filled with mangos and cream cheese. (The cream cheese stuck to the side of the blender while it was going, I was in a hurry, a knife was handy…don’t judge.) Or the time I hadn’t used the oven in so long that I didn’t realize it wasn’t working until six months later when I was ready to put the turkey in the oven for Thanksgiving dinner.

But there are also the stories of growing up in Texas, making homemade preserves every summer with my mother, using peaches and apricots from the trees in our backyard. Or all the years of my mother testing recipes for charity cookbooks, my mother, my sister and me in the kitchen going over the recipes before preparing them, which always led to dinner parties in the dining room, or al fresco at long wooden tables covered with white linen and candles flicking in the night.

My first attempt at re-entry involved big plans…and the ultimate discarding of the meal and the cookware, both of which I had burned quite impressively. But ultimately, working in the kitchen was like riding a bike. I soon produced a beef bourguignon that I would like to think would have made Julia Child proud. There was a light and flaky apricot tart that made my husband close his eyes in pleasure, before he looked at me and said: “Who are you, and what have you done with my wife?”

The more Portia cooked and baked in the pages of the book, the more I became obsessed with the kitchen again. I experimented. I failed. I succeeded. Most of all I had fun, because on so many of those nights, with plates and dishes filled with food, friends came over for one of “Portia’s Meals.” And sometimes, even better, our friends were there with me in the kitchen while I was cooking, drinking wine, laughing, and many times helping me along the way.

The Glass Kitchen is filled with family and those people who begin as friends, then become family. It is filled with people who are there during Portia’s cooking triumphs, but more importantly, they are there through her cooking – and life – catastrophes, ready to roll up their sleeves. And truly, what is that if not the best kind of friends and family?


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We want to get to know our users as cooks, eaters, and full participants in the Cookstr vision. We are eager to hear from you and learn how we can make even more helpful and enjoyable. Let us know what your favorite features are, what works for you, and what doesn’t. Tell us what your digital culinary journey is lacking on the web, in the kitchen, and everywhere in between. Cookstr is consistently striving to develop new technologies that make your experience of food and cooking more accessible, intuitive and rewarding – and we can do that best when you let us know what you want!

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