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Dear Kay,

Greetings from Maine, which rhymes with sane, and that’s the goal at the moment: getting a little distance from daily life.

Dialing it back to the slowest things I can think of, which yesterday ended up being ten ears of corn, two onions, a stick of butter, and time.

The cottage we’re visiting is on the grounds of a very beautiful cooking school, Salt Water Farm. The cookbook situation in the kitchen here is pretty great. I pulled down a copy of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, the 2017 cookbook by Samin Nosrat, star of the Netflix series based on the book. This copy was inscribed to Annemarie Ahearn, the chef who runs the cooking school across the yard. Suddenly this book started radiating Cook Me vibes I couldn’t resist.

What a book! I loved the show, and I love the way Samin makes cooking an easy adventure.

The Smooth Silky Corn Soup recipe is an exercise in the simplest ingredients.

You make a broth from the corn cobs.

The onions and butter are 20 minutes of Not Browning The Onions. Samin calls these blonde onions.

It took a month to make this soup. Or maybe time stood still.

It’s an exercise in the application of salt, fat, acid, and heat in various proportions. A dash of acidic vinegar at the end saved the ridiculously fresh corn from being too sweet.

The final blending of the finished soup was pure drama! How far to go?

I probably could have blended it a bit more, and I didn’t go the ultimate step to strain the finished soup—it felt like a disservice to the corn. This corn soup needed to still be corn, you know? It was delicious.

You’ll find the recipe here at Faith Middleton’s Food Schmooze (where permission has been given to reproduce it), along with a conversation with Samin about her book. The whole show is fun to knit to; Samin shows up at 33 minutes.

And Then There Was Today . . .

Son David and I wandered across the yard to our cooking class with Annemarie Ahearn.

It was Buckles, Cobblers, and Galettes, but Annemarie knew to have us fix some vegetables from her garden—so that we’d all feel virtuous about eating three entire desserts.

It was all superb—Annemarie has mad skills, great stories, and an exquisite teaching kitchen. She and her aide Annie put everybody at ease.

David did some righteous biscuit making for the raspberry cobbler.

Annemarie and the blueberry buckle, wow.

Flora, Ann, Scott, Aidan, David, and I discussed everything from fava beans to the pogey situation in Camden Harbor (short version: there are an astonishing and alarming number of open-mouthed fish in there when you look down).

David and I spent a decent interval staring at a lone poppy that had finally bloomed. We ate ourselves silly and wandered back home across the yard, the rain having just moved in at the perfect moment for me to cozy up in a corner and write this letter to you.

Wish you were here. It smells so green. And salty.




  • Just lovely.
    May your break be all that you need.

  • I love this and ate corn soup yesterday in an unknown solidarity. Another time you can save a cup of corn and add it after you blend, to get smoothness and corniness. But everyone will tell you that in these comments. Thank you for sharing all of this. Like knitting, cooking is so intimate. Enjoy!

  • That corn soup and that window seat are calling my name. And I’ll take some of that blueberry buckle. A perfect lunch. Enjoy your time away from the big city craziness. (Even if that city is Nashville.)

  • Mother with David sons cooking is one of the bestest. Add in Maine and I am super jealous. Am curious what knitting projects you brought along. Xo Cuz

  • Ann – You certainly got my attention with the word ‘soup’. I LOVE soup so much that I even dream about it. So, this post had ‘me’ written all over it, but what made this even more special are the awesome rushed CHAIRS. Even now, I keep going back to the photos that include those chairs. Just beautiful! Thanks for sharing your wonderful vacation with us!

  • WOW! Lucky you!

  • Peace and pleasures a’plenty to you!

  • What a beautiful photo journal and letter. I was fortunate to be in the area earlier this summer and even take a 4 day sailing/knitting trip in Penobscot Bay. Be sure and check out the local yarn shop in Camden, The Cashmere Goat and grab some Maine yarn!! Enjoy.

  • In Maine also and your post made me love it here even more. Thanks for the intro to Salt Water Farm and reminder to pull down Samin’s cookbook.

  • Ooh. We are headed to Camden in October. My family used to have a home in Lincolnville and I’m looking forward to a little reminiscing and harbor views. Hoping to peep some leaves too.

  • OMG! This is among my top 10 favorite posts from you…can not wait to make this soup! Thank you!!!

  • Looks delicious. Fresh Corn is such a treat. One of those things that the “rest of the year” substitutes can never quite compare.

  • Yay you sittin pretty in Maine with your lads! And broth from corn cobs, that is so smart. Will be getting some corn pronto.

  • There’s nothing like kitchen work to make a woman feel virtuous. Me, I am celebrating local PNW cherries, with cherry clafoutis, cherry jam and a big bag of dehydrated cherries (delish chopped into chocolate chip cookies). Today, maybe use the last of my haul in a cherry galette, the excellence of which I learned many years ago from Alice Waters.

    • Another PNW here. Cherry clafoutis is everything. And marionberry/raspberry cobbler…..

    • Well, it so happens I’m nearby in the berry-filled PNW. What time is dessert? Smells yummy from here!

  • Lovely photos and post! I highly recommend EB White’s essays about uprooting himself, his wife and his stepson to a saltwater farm on the Maine coast. Hilarious at times in his tongue in cheek way but also wise and with great affection for the place.

    • Thanks so much for that reminder of how special and fun to read White was – and still is. Found him when I was quite young, and now would be a great time to reread.

  • Lincolnville! Good friends live there and we have loved visiting them in their rambling farmhouse. Such a beautiful, serene part of mid-coast Maine – wish we were there with you! I second the recommendation of the Cashmere Goat in Camden, and Heavenly Yarns in Belfast also is a lovely shop. Both shops carry some nice local and regional yarns as well as high quality notions and national brands.

    • … also, a great area to hear Barred Owls, just like your yard back home!

  • Sounds like sheer perfection!!!

  • I’m going to make a big batch tomorrow and put some in the freezer. Because I’m thinking the only thing better than fresh corn soup in corn season would be fresh corn soup in the dead of winter.

  • Another great stop is Swans Island blankets. They sell the most delicious yarn, and sometimes you can get a glimpse of the makers on their looms weaving the beautiful blankets.

  • Camden is a fantastic place.

  • Stunning. Especially with corn just picked from the field. The only thing I would change is to dice, rather than slice the onions. The onions need to be at least close to the size of the corn kernels.

  • Ann, I picked up just-harvested corn on Sunday, and cooked the soup tonight. It was wonderful! Thank you so much for this great, inspirational, recipe. I love the simplicity, and the ‘slow cooking’ actually goes by pretty quickly. Worth every minute.

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