CHATHAM — Two of Chatham’s long-time summer residents will sign their new books, an allergy-free cookbook and a young adult novel, this week.
At the age of 14, Catherine Walker has published a cookbook, “Cook It Up: Delicious Recipes for Healthy Cooking” (Bookbaby, 2018) made up of about 75 recipes that she wrote.
Walker, who lives in Hudson, Ohio, also cooked the food, plated it, staged it and photographed it. Walker and her mother Inga talked about the cookbook one afternoon last week at a West Chatham coffee shop.
Initially Walker was interested in photographing birds. But then she also became interested in cooking and learned to cook with her mother. “I just got more and more into it,” Walker said. It so happens that Inga, Catherine and Catherine’s brother Chase, 11, all have various food allergies. So when the family cooks together, the food is cooked without dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts.
“We as a family do cooking all the time because of their allergies,” Inga Walker said. “It’s really hard to eat out because of their allergies.”
Walker began to find her way around the kitchen when she was in the sixth grade and her mother trusted her to use knives and the kitchen stove. That year, 2016, Walker was one of two finalists from Ohio in the Michelle Obama Healthy Lunchtime Cooking Challenge. Her winning recipe was Chili Shrimp & Rice with Mango Jalapeno Sauce.
So how does Walker create her recipes? In the store she searches for in-season ingredients that appeal to her. She thinks: I could make those ingredients into something. After she has created her dish and tasted it, “I would say, ‘that’s really good, I should write that down.’” The book includes recipes for hors d’oeuvres, soups and salads, side dishes, main courses, beverages and desserts. The photographs, which Walker takes in natural light with a Canon Powershot camera and the camera on her phone, are mouth-watering.
Walker has a knack for cooking properly-seasoned, tasty and appealing-looking food. She says that her training consists of watching a few cooking shows on TV, consulting a 2016 book called “What Good Cooks Know” by America’s Test Kitchen and, basically, trial and error in the kitchen.
Walker will enter the ninth grade this fall. On Nov. 3 she will address a teen summit at the National Food Allergy Resource and Education Conference in Washington, D.C. about her cookbook.
Walker will sign copies of “Cook It Up” on Fri., Aug. 3 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Cook’s Nook, 618 Main St., Chatham. For more information call the store at 508-945-0310.
It seems like ages since someone has published a novel set in Chatham. Summer resident Carolyn Parker has filled that void with her charming and highly readable young adult novel “Callie on the Cape: A Boatload of Trouble.”
“Callie on the Cape” brings back a world now largely lost, when “summer houses were places that you sent old furniture and linens that were getting shabby,” Parker said in an email interview. “No one bought furniture or had decorators.” Callie spends her days clamming with frequent forays onto the water for sailboat races on Pleasant Bay.
Like the fictional Callie’s family, Parker’s grandfather bought her family’s property around 1920. The property remains in the family and has three houses on it belonging to Parker, her mother and brother.
Parker grew up in Wenham and started coming to Chatham when she was a few weeks old. (On the back of the book she boasts that she has attended 58 Fourth of July parades in Chatham.) Parker’s parents moved to Chatham year-round when she was 15.
This brings us to the central conflict in “Callie.” Callie was a summer visitor who turned year-rounder when her father lost his job. Instead of attending a private school off-Cape, she is now enrolled in the local junior high. When the summer rolls around her summer and year-round friends mix uncomfortably. When a crime occurs right under the teens’ noses, they become amateur sleuths.
“I wrote the book because I have a sense of nostalgia for Chatham and especially for the ways we used to spend our time here,” Parker said. “Other than racing at the yacht club, there were no organized programs or activities. We’d spend days without getting in a car and when we went into town, it would often be hard to find our shoes because we rarely needed them.”
Parker also wants readers to identify with Callie, a girl who “doesn’t look like a model or wear flashy clothes but still prevails because she is smart and adventurous and a good kid.”
Parker spends the bulk of her year working at the Sun Valley ski resort in Ketchum, Idaho. She also serves on an environmental board in town. “I am really lucky and spend most days outdoors,” she said. “It is a place where Hemingway spent his last days and my husband looks just like him.”
Parker will sign “Callie on the Cape” at Simpler Pleasures, 433 Main St., Chatham, on Mon., Aug. 6 beginning at 6 p.m. For more information call the store at 508-945-4040.