For a long time I’ve wanted to start an interview series on my blog. I am so happy that it’s finally happening! I love learning how women take care of themselves, create meaning, grow through challenges, and show up in their communities. The Inspired Living series comes from my desire to connect around what’s really important in our lives with the people I admire.
The women I feature will be family members, friends, and women I’ve worked with or dream of meeting one day. My wish is that these incredible souls will touch your life as well and that you will find wisdom in what they have to offer.
To kick off this series I am thrilled to share an interview with my dear cousin Erin Scott, creator of the gorgeous blog Yummy Supper. Erin is an amazing author, home cook, and photographer based in Berkeley, California. She creates beautiful, seasonal recipes that are accessible and fun to make.
Last month Erin’s first cookbook was published and everyone that I recommended it to is raving about it! She’s got a genuine spirit that comes through so clearly in our interview. I can’t wait for you to get to know her!
How do you take care of yourself?
I try to take a walk every day. I’ve never been someone who has craved exercise per se, but a daily walk is good medicine for me in so many ways – from clearing my mind, to restoring my often-achy shoulders, to reminding me to breathe deeply. Plus walking around my neighborhood keeps me connected with the seasons and I get a little thrill watching nature’s magnificent show, like that first burst of cherry blossoms in spring time or the yellowing gingko leaves in fall. There’s so much beauty out there.
Name a favorite seasonal meal.
Oh it’s so hard to choose just one! Whatever season I’m in, that’s the one I’m in love with, those are the foods that call to me. It’s starting to feel a little cool and fall-like here in Berkeley, so my cravings are autumnal this morning. I can’t wait for Warren Pears to come into season – I like serving the juicy beauties with Stilton, Honeycomb, and Smokey Pecans. I’m not sure that counts as a meal – but I could easily dig into a platter like that for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Parmesan Polenta with Garlicky Rapini and Black Olives is also sounding really good right now – that creamy, comforting polenta goes so well with a zesty pile of rapini. You can even toss a poached egg on top, if you’re so inclined. Yum!
Best advice you’ve ever taken.
Don’t hold back. When I was about 6 months into my blog, I was so excited and inspired, but I had no idea that this hobby would lead me into a new career. I had outgrown the point-and-shoot camera I’d been using and I knew I needed a new camera. I was afraid to spend money on my hobby, as that felt too self-indulgent and decadent. A wise friend said, “Erin, don’t hold back. Really let yourself go for it and see where it takes you.” I was scared to invest in myself in that way, but I didn’t hold back, and now 5 years later, I’ve used that camera to shoot 3 cookbooks, including my own!
Share a couple of your heroes and why the mean so much to you.
My mom. Really, my mom was the one to introduce me to the pleasures of real, healthy food. Back in the 70s when I was a kid, mom shopped at the coop in Seattle and always made sure to feed me really well. She was committed to organic well before the days of Whole Foods. There was no white bread or sugary cereals in our kitchen. Mom made foods lovingly from-scratch and when she could, she grew her own food: first in a little community garden in the city, and eventually she built an incredible one acre organic vegetable garden in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. Mom never sacrificed taste for health – she’s always been a passionate eater and her food is delicious! I grew up cooking alongside my mom, licking my fingers and enjoying the whole experience.
Alice Waters. She is incredible. I have so much respect for Alice and all she’s done to support organic farming, healthy eating, and edible education. First, she created Chez Panisse, a magical restaurant (and my favorite place to eat on this planet), which is infused with deliciousness, beauty and warmth. Second, she has written cookbooks that have changed my life. If you don’t own Chez Panisse Vegetables, run and get it now. It’s brilliant – simple, seasonal and so so good. Third, instead of selling out and marketing her name to the food industry, Alice started the Edible Schoolyard Project, where she has devoted her time and effort to educating kids (and families) about where food comes from and how to turn that food into a nourishing meal. Her advocacy work is tireless and endlessly inspiring to me.
How do you connect to nature?
5 years ago we tore out our back lawn and filled our little backyard with veggies, herbs and fruit trees. It’s a small space, but it’s so packed with beauty, deliciousness and life! Whenever I can I love to be out there, even just to snip some fresh herbs. Our kitchen overlooks the garden, so when I’m cooking I can watch the birds picking up little tufts of dry grass for their nests, the occasional hummingbird pausing at the lavender patch, or the squirrels enjoying a fig or two from our massive tree. The garden always makes me smile.
I do like to get further out into nature with my family. We are all beach people and try to get our dose of the ocean whenever we can. My mom lives in a sleepy beach town north of SF and that’s one of our favorite spots. We also have friends who live in Santa Barbara and we get some really good beach time there too. I recently tried paddle boarding for the first time and I think I’m hooked! Being able to be out in the ocean without much gear, just enjoying the experience… I can’t wait to do it again!
What motivates you to create?
Honestly, sometimes I’m really unmotivated. Right now for example. It took so much creative juice for me to create my cookbook – from the recipes to the writing to the cooking to the photography. It was an incredible experience and I put everything I had into that project. Now, I find myself a little tired, a little spent. I know once this whirlwind of the book tour is over, I’ll need to find quiet time, time to rest and refuel. I know I’ll need to find enough quiet space so my natural desire to create can find room to play, to explore and dabble without pressure. Some people are motivated to create when they have a deadline, but I’m the opposite. I need room to be slow, to make mistakes, to explore without expectation.
Where do you find inspiration?
In our little garden, at the farmers’ market, in nature.
How do you continue to evolve and grow as a person?
Since hitting my 40th birthday, I see more and more just how little I know, and how much more learning and growing there is to do in all areas of my life! Once I got over the notion that I had to have everything figured out (something I believed in my teens, 20s and 30s), I started to really have fun, and out of that fun has come all sorts of rewarding work that I never expected.
I think the potential for evolving comes from letting go, but also from a curiosity to learn and grow. I try to be open to new things, to surrender to the things I have no control over (I guess that would be most things, right?), and to fully embrace the scary and wonderful unknown.
What are you committed to?
Loving up my family and friends, and do doing work that brings joy, beauty and deliciousness into other people’s lives.
List a few books that changed your life.
Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Vegetables, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude, Patti Smith’s Just Kids, and Frances Hodgson’s The Secret Garden.
What are you most grateful for?
My kiddos, my husband Paul, my larger family, and friends. For finding work I love. I’m grateful for it all!
Isn’t Erin wonderful?! Be sure to check out her recipes below and her colorful Instagram account! xo
Recipes for the photos I used in this post (from top to bottom):