I was born a reader and a cook.
We ate out a lot – my Dad had an appreciation for GOOD food that was unusual in the 70’s. His enthusiasm for food from all over the world sparked a passion in me. To this day, I spend most of my free time in the kitchen. Once we were home, the kitchen clean and the dishes put away, Mom would put me to bed with a book. She read to me as an infant, and started me on a lifetime of travel and adventure, both on and off the pages.
After years of misspent youth in corporate management, I took a chance, with my husband Howard’s enthusiastic encouragement, at a life reboot in my early 30s. After years in the office, I spent my first post-career morning wandering the shelves of a brick-and-mortar book store, where instinct had me pick up a bold red-and-black paperback with a gold clock on the front.
As with so many of Diana’s fans before and since, Outlander became the catalyst for the changes – some planned, many unforeseen — that have altered the course of our lives since that day in 2003 when I threw my cell phone, and a life of comfortable predictability, off the Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver, Canada.
My Englishman and I followed our hearts on a whim and settled on Pender Island – a small, tree-covered rock in the Salish Sea between the mainland and Vancouver Island — for a quieter, more simple, semi-rural life at a gentler speed. Then, just as we were settling in, my father died unexpectedly. As the months passed, the grey muddle of grief evolved into unquestionable clarity, and so, with the winds of instinct filling my sails once again, I said goodbye to Howard for 6 months, moved back to Vancouver, and back in with my mom, to fulfill a dream of attending culinary school.
Outlander Kitchen was born a couple of years later, in early 2010, on a walk in the woods with our dog at the time, a rescue Dalmatian named Pongo. A scene from Voyager at Madame Jeanne’s popped spontaneously into my head, where, in the aftermath of the printshop fire and Claire’s miraculous reappearance, Claire, Jamie, Old Ian, and Young Ian gather their wits and share a plate of rolls filled with minced pigeon and truffles.
I ran home with the dog trailing, puzzled, behind, composing the recipe in my head as I rushed to my desk with pen and paper. I emailed a request for permission to use an excerpt from Voyager to DG’s Canadian publicist within the hour.
Outlander Kitchen grew out of that first email, and Diana’s generous response the next day. I will always be grateful to her for the inspiration, and the unfailing support she gave me during the long road to publication.
Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook was published in 2016 by Delacorte Press of Penguin Random House. As of September 2018, it is in its eighth printing, with over 70,000 books in print. As well as English, Outlander Kitchen is also available in French, German and Polish.
I am currently working on a sequel to Outlander Kitchen with a working title of Outlander Kitchen II: Journey to the New World and Back Again. Although there is no specific publish date as of yet, we are hoping to have it ready for sale by the end of 2019.
Welcome to Outlander Kitchen! Pull up a stool and help yourself to a bannock by the hearth…it’s time to start cooking, time-travel style.