A Well-Seasoned Kitchen: Classic Recipes for Contemporary Living is a lovely Colorado-centric cookbook, unique in many ways. The recipes are from the Clayton family files, written and shared by a mother-daughter team after decades of making them for friends and family. Unfortunately, the matriarch, Sally Clayton, passed away before the book was published. Denver-native Lee Clayton Roper finished it as a tribute to her mother and the legacy of loving food & family traditions.
The book is part memoir and part remembrance – full of lovely anecdotes about parties the family hosted, how recipes came to be, and memories of time spent together in the kitchen. Lee Clayton Roper keeps a food and travel blog, and some recipes from this book are also on that website.
Many recipes in this collection are designed with entertaining in mind. Even better, nearly every recipe has a make ahead tip which is handy for the home-cook but for entertaining these tips are invaluable to help you enjoy your guests and event rather than being busy prepping in the kitchen.
Spinach Fafalle Bolognese – featuring a quick 30 minute bolognese recipe which would be great any weeknight over pasta. I was intrigued by the use of sour cream rather than ricotta in the spinach mixture. My husband loves a good pasta bake, so this dish went over well.
Finally, the Jam Cake with Caramel Frosting – a treat by way of Kentucky. When I read about jam being mixed into the cake batter well, I had to find out what that was all about. What an amazing cake. Really “different,” moist, and nicely spiced. I’ll be making this one again for sure – probably with a simple whipped cream or cream cheese frosting next time. Or even plain – Super Excellent!
Well-Seasoned is a great multitasking title for this unique cookbook – it could refer to the seasons of CO, seasoning of food, the seasons of life, and a kitchen so well-used it’s seasoned like an old cast iron skillet. A loving tribute to a matriarch and the bonds that we form over food and in the kitchen.