'My love for baking stemmed from my love for food'
Our cookbook of the week is Let Me Feed You by Rosie Daykin, founder of Vancouver’s Butter Baked Goods. To try a recipe from the book, check out: Fried mushrooms with sour cream, roasted chicken with Dijon herb butter and rhubarb upside-down cake.
Rosie Daykin is a self-professed “natural-born feeder.” Well before she founded her Vancouver-based bakery Butter Baked Goods in 2007, cooking for loved ones was her preferred pastime. Butter has since become synonymous with its gossamer marshmallows, homey baked goods, and signature pink and pistachio floral interior, but as Daykin is quick to point out, even dedicated bakers can’t subsist on sweets alone.
Let Me Feed You (Appetite by Random House, 2019), her third cookbook, is the first to showcase her savoury side (with a handful of desserts for good measure). “The everyday was my inspiration,” says Daykin. “Most people know me as ‘the Butter Lady,’ but long before I was ‘the Butter Lady’ I was an avid cook and avid baker. My love for baking stemmed from my love for food.” By extension, her approach to home cooking reflects her trademark baking style: Recognizable, comforting and achievable.
Prior to establishing Butter, Daykin was an interior designer. Where some may have seen a wandering path when she changed careers, moving “from piles of throw pillows to mountains of butter cream,” she saw harmony. After all, she explains, both disciplines are rooted in a pursuit of pleasure: One using fabric swatches and paint colour fan decks, the other flour and leaveners. Daykin’s aesthetic – especially her love of blue stripes (“On pillows, on chairs, or on my back”) – extends to the design of Let Me Feed You; she wanted opening its covers to feel akin to walking through her front door.
“Butter has a very distinct brand. I created that. So creating my first two books (Butter Baked Goods, 2013; Butter Celebrates!, 2105) was pretty straightforward. We knew exactly where we were going, what we were working off of. But when it came to Let Me Feed You, it was like, ‘How do you define yourself aesthetically? How do you encapsulate that in a book?’ Hence the blue striped shirts. I look at it and think, ’That’s how I feel comfortable. I gravitate towards that.’ So that felt really authentic. And of course there is a photograph demonstrating a whack of my blue striped shirts,” she says with a laugh.
What sandwich cookies, scones, Nanaimo bars and whoopie pies were to Butter Baked Goods, turkey chili, fluffy flaky biscuits, pineapple honey ribs and “real” English muffins are to Let Me Feed You. The book’s more than 100 recipes represent Daykin’s invitingly straightforward home cooking, which are interspersed with personal details running the gamut from house rules (“Pets on the furniture are my favourite accessory”) to a treatise on the benefits of adopting a senior dog (Daykin’s is a tiny old rescue named Pickle).
“I just hope that people are making spaghetti sauce and meatloaf and a roast chicken. These are not groundbreaking ideas but they’re great things to have in your arsenal,” she says. “Let Me Feed You is my way of speaking to people. When I talk about being a natural-born feeder, it’s always been the way that I connect with people. And it’s the simplest connection. It’s a time to re-group and then off we go again. I hope to encourage people to come back to the table. Just for an hour and then you can all go back to your phones, but let’s all gather.”