Andrea Chesman, Cookbook Author and Vermont Backyard Homesteader
Name: Andrea Chesman
Occupation: Occupation: Cookbook author and writer, freelance editor, and backyard homesteader
Place of Residence: Ripton, Vermont
Background and Personal History: Andrea lives on a one-acre homestead in the Green Mountains of Vermont, where she has a medium-large garden (supplemented by a CSA share) and grows blueberries, raspberries, and apples. Andrea’s kids are grown now, the growing season is short, and winter is long — giving her plenty of time to spend in the kitchen, which she truly enjoys.
Several years ago, she wrote a book called Serving Up the Harvest, a book that provided recipes, vegetable by vegetable, throughout the growing season, beginning with asparagus and ending with winter squash. It included recipes for individual vegetables and for “height of the season” vegetable combinations, as well as some preserving information. When the book was finished, her kids and husband demanded more kale recipes. They had fallen in love with kale and collards and wanted more dinners that featured those hearty greens.
So the next book she worked on was Recipes from the Root Cellar, which included hearty greens, as well as root vegetables, potatoes, onions, and winter squash. She happens to live in an old farmhouse with cellar stairs that provide perfect root cellaring conditions and has a tremendous fondness for rutabagas.
That was all well and good, Andrea’s sons thought. But were there enough pickles in the pantry? And, why can’t there always be kimchi in the fridge? Their interest lead to her next book, The Pickled Pantry, which includes some of the great recipes she has used in her very first book, Pickles and Relishes: 150 Recipes from Apples to Zucchini (now out of print).
For the last several years she has been working on The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How, which will be published by Storey Publishing this summer. It includes lots of information, ideas, and recipes for handling fresh vegetables, fruits, milk, meat, and eggs and preserving it allthrough canning, drying, pickling, fermenting, jamming, freezing, curing, and cheesemaking. Andrea has never had so much fun.
Beyond Writing Cookbooks: Andrea started her career cooking in restaurants, senior residences, and fraternity houses. From there, she became a freelance writer and editor, which is her bread and butter. She has written for numerous gardening and cooking magazines and edits books — mostly nonfiction — for numerous publishers. She also teaches classes on cooking and preserving.
Other Fun Facts: In the 1960s, the poet, Robert Frost, used to live across the street from Andrea’s old farmhouse (before her time) and take his meals at her house. So, all of the recipes she tests are served in her own personal Robert Frost Memorial Dining Room. She has authored, co-authored, rewritten, or ghosted more than thirty books.
More Places to Find Andrea on the Web: