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Hardcover At Mesa's Edge: Cooking and Ranching in Colorado's North Fork Valley Book

ISBN: 0618221263

ISBN13: 9780618221264

At Mesa's Edge: Cooking and Ranching in Colorado's North Fork Valley

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

Eugenia Bone was perfectly happy with her life as a New York City food writer, but she knew that her husband, a transplanted westerner, was filled with a discontent he couldn't explain. So when he returned from a fishing trip in the Rockies one day and announced that he wanted to buy a forty-five-acre ranch in Crawford, Colorado (population 255), she reluctantly said yes. Then she loaded imported pasta, artichokes in oil, and cured Italian salami...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Great food, great life lessons

I love this book. Lately I've become intrigued by all kinds of regional American cooking, which is what drew me to this book in the first place. But what I found in these pages was so much more effecting and profound... The first section, the memoir, reads like a sort of fish-out-of-water coming-of-age tale about the author's reluctant (at first) immersion into this part of the world, and her gradual embrace of it. I found it sometimes haunting, sometimes hilarious, and always very engrossing. And tender -- yes, there's some fun poked at the locals, but it's usually the locals themselves wielding the stick as far as I could tell, and no one gets poked more often than the author. She's the one who is transformed by these encounters; she's the one who "comes of age". Then there are the recipes, which seem to have been either informed or inspired or enhanced by the experiences described in the first section, which is a great way to approach a recipe in general, I think -- as a sort of companion piece to one life experience or another. Like listening to the soundtrack CD of a movie you loved. You definitely get the feeling these recipes could stand on their own -- they make that intuitive kind of sense on the page, and the ones that I have tried so far have been pretty sublime. But reading the memoir just made them that much tastier. Taken as a whole, the book is really about how a love of food, and the pursuit of good, real food, offers a doorway into all kinds of magical places that would otherwise remain shut tight. We've all heard that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. This book seems to say that the way to the heart and soul of a community is through its food -- its produce, its livestock, and all of the one-of-a-kind characters who bring those things to life, literally. It made me want to get to know all the people who grow or gather things in my own community. I bet I'll look at where I live differently after that. Probably look at myself differently, too. Beautiful book.

The Bounty and Beauty of Western Colorado

At Mesa's Edge is a wonderful book for people who love the West and who also love cooking and good food. The Author describes the land and the residents beautifully and respectfully. She has a clear understanding of the region...from water rights to wildlife to the quality of the harvest to cattle ranching. There is nothing pretentious or self-serving in the author's description of her many "adjustments" to life on a Colorado ranch. Her description of restoring the run-down property are both amusing and amazing. The book is a fun and informative read. I grew up on the Western Slope of Colorado, know the area well, still visit family there, and remember with great nostaligia the bounty that the wondrous land produces. I highly recommend At Mesa's Edge. I am looking forward to preparing the many interesting recipes.

As refreshing and soul-stirring as a Rocky Mountain breeze

After taking my wife and 18-month-old baby for a long month to sweltering France last summer, I resolved to do better by them this year. And so, before the first snow had fallen, we drove out to the posh resort town of Southampton, New York, to rent a modest cottage with the promise of an ocean breeze. Right off, we found a simple little house with a bonus: a rear deck designed by an extremely tasteful architect named Kevin Bone. It turns out that, several decades ago, I had met --- and not repulsed --- the architect's wife. After we struck a real estate deal, we struck up an e-mail friendship. Only then did I learn that she would be publishing her first book. So I had the odd experience of reading Eugenia Bone's AT MESA'S EDGE: Cooking and Ranching in Colorado's North Fork Valley, in the house that she and her family abandons each summer. Confession: The Bone ranch sounds so beautiful and Eugenia's recipes are so enticing that, Hamptons be damned, I'd rather be on her porch in Colorado. Eugenia Bone may be the Peter Mayle of the American West, but she sure didn't start out with much enthusiasm for Colorado. Her husband came home from a fishing trip and said he'd found a 45-acre ranch. She understood why: "There was an empty place in him that was not being filled." And so she signed the mortgage papers "the same way I would sign a release for Kevin to have necessary surgery; it had to be done." Of course the place was a wreck. And Eugenia, a New York City-based food writer, was not a great candidate for assimilation. But as she comes to learn, the hard work of restoring the ranch is balanced by simple pleasures not available in Manhattan. The postmaster divides her mail into two piles: "important" and "not." The sign in front of a church reads: IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A SIGN FROM GOD, THIS IS IT. The woman at the gas station gives her credit: "I trust you." She cooks fish caught earlier that day. She discovers that no meat is more tender than elk. And, slowly, she learns, mostly about the relationship of water and land. She loves to cook; she comes to realize that the land too needs to be fed. That moment of revelation seals her love of this place. And she comes to see that living in the moment --- really, the only way to live in a place so dominated by Nature --- is magical. "Time passes slower; life seems to last longer, and death, because it is daily observable in nature, is not quite as frightening." It's a delicious life, and she shares it not only in her quiet, concise prose, but in the generous chunk of the book where she serves up recipes. Some of the dishes require ingredients not available in city markets, but anyone can master her Cold Zucchini Soup enlivened with chile powder and tortilla strips and an intensely flavored (thyme, rosemary, sage, lemon zest) Lamb Stew. Armchair travelers, dreamers and weekend cooks should find AT MESA'S EDGE as refreshing and soul-stirring as a Rocky Mountain breeze. --- Review

North Fork Heaven

I just finished the book and found it to be very easy and fun to read. I am familiar with the area that she writes about and understand the magic that it has worked on her. The recipes are fun to read and I look forward to trying some of them.

Memoir and recipies here are a natural combination

This book shows us the heart of Colorado's western slope with perhaps the only topic (food) that could unlock the reserved nature of this region. Bone is a respectful transplant, never assuming membership. She makes an honest effort to discover the "there-ness" of the region by using the tools she knows best -- her love of food and her cooking skills. The book is half memoir of the experience of an East Coast girl suddenly spending ALL of her summers out west, and half the recipies that she developed whilst learning how to love the arid land. Turns out the bounty is both for her and the reader. A VERY enjoyable summer read...and the fruit pie crust recipie is a winner. It wanders a bit at the end of the memoir when for just a few pages the topic slips onto 9/11...but ignore that. It's not what's the book's about. Buy this book for the cover (as I did) and you won't be at all disappointed.
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