Sunday Tips: Tribute to Edward Harris Heth

“This is the proper season for baking – wasps buzzing dizzily in last flecks of autumn sunlight, children rattling in leaf piles, the days slower in pace and growing nippy. Ovens that have been grudgingly lighted only when necessary during the sweltering months now are lit with a pop of joy that relief has come. The comfortable baking days are here again . . .” – Edward Harris Heth

This observation is so true (I’m in the middle of my fall baking frenzy), and so beautifully written. I hope I have time soon to read through then entirety of Heth’s “Country Kitchen Cook Book,” which I picked up last week along with a couple of other finds. The recipes in this book are interspersed with essays and musings on food, seasons, and rhythms of rural American life. Immediately fascinated with this pre-Alice Waters local food advocate, I started Googling…and found that Mr. Heth had quite this interesting life. Apparently he grew up in Wisconsin, moved to New York in the 1930s to pursue a career in writing. He moved back to Wisconsin in the 1940s (he seems to have had a breakdown of some sort) and settled in a farmhouse in Wales. With his partner Bill. They lived in Wales until the 1960s: Bill was a successful ceramist, and Heth wrote on food and Wisconsin (sort of a Midwestern M.F.K. Fischer). The couple passed away within 2 years of each other; Heth, sadly, seems to have taken his own life after Bill died. You can read more here.