If you were stranded on an island with 40 other people, and had to choose one thing to keep you sane, what would it be? In the winter of 2004, snow-bound and unemployed on a tiny island seven miles out to sea, Kate Shaffer chose chocolate. Three years later, Black Dinah Chocolatiers twinkled into existence.
Named by Food & Wine Magazine as one of the top 25 cookbooks of 2011, and winner of a bronze IPPY award for 2011, Kate's Desserted Cookbook is both recipe compendium, and warm-hearted memoir. Black Dinah Chocolatiers co-founder, Kate Shaffer, guides you step-by-step through her recipes for everything from French-style truffles to chocolate-spiked Mexican mole poblano. Interspersed between recipes, are intensely personal accounts of adjusting to life on one of Maine's only un-bridged, sparsely populated year-round island communities.
"I first came to the island as a cook. I knew no one, had never had an interest in Isle au Haut beyond a cool job, working for nice folks. Cooking was my only way of moving through this new world, 3,000 miles away from my lifetime home of California. It was that single-mindedness that propelled me through learning the ropes at my new job—a job, the likes of which I had never experienced before. And will never again. “Are you a school-trained chef?” my new employers asked me when we first met at their off-island home in the drear of an early Maine spring in 2001. “No,” I answered matter-of-factly, bracing for yet another interview in which I assure my potential employers that I can cook, regardless of my lack of any sort of piece of paper that says I can. “Good,” Jeff Burke breathed. “Those culinary school graduates never last on Isle au Haut.” Jeff and Judi peppered me with questions about my life and what had brought me to Maine. They asked me about my family, about Steve, if I had ever lived on an island before. Did I have children? A dog? Could I chop wood? Did I have a boat? What they didn’t ask me, beyond that first peculiar question, was anything about my life as a cook. I had said I could cook, and that was enough for them. I left the interview puzzled, and curious about a place that required such a quirky set of skills, was home to these gently aging hippies, and yet chewed up and spat out classically trained chefs."
A perfect gift for the new graduate, the family entrepreneur, or the armchair traveler.