Backstory: I met Emily when I moved to Wisconsin to work as a food writer for a spice company. She and I became fast friends and bonded over our love of food writing, champagne for breakfast and cooking up beautiful meals, which Emily does with complete ease. She is now Senior Editor at Taste of Home magazine and is here to help me kick off summer with brunch talk.
EAT It’s so close to summer I can taste it! I love making this blueberry coffee cake for friends. Your house smells like blueberry heaven. All of Taste of Home’s recipes come from our readers, and this one from Lori Snedden in Sherman, Texas, is very similar to something my mom baked when we were growing up that we called Huckle Buckle. It’s old-fashioned, not too sweet. I add even more blueberries to the batter and always put cinnamon in the streusel topping. Make peppered bacon to go with it—I do mine on a cookie sheet in the oven. Recipe here. If you haven’t tried it, you will not believe how easy it is. And no splatters on your cute apron!
WRITE (READ) South of Superior by Ellen Airgood. The protagonist, Madeline, leaves behind her job and boyfriend in Chicago and moves 500 miles north to a coastal village on Lake Superior to take care of a family friend. It’s tender and quirky. I’m rooting for Madeline to find someone to love, even in a very small, remote beach town. I met the author, Ellen, when I was doing a travel story about Grand Marais, Michigan, which is a real-life far-flung beach town way up in northern Michigan. She runs a diner with her husband during the day and writes at night. The morning I met her, a bear had broken in the back kitchen door and devoured all the homemade hamburger buns she had on the baking rack. She even showed me the greasy bear paw print on the back door. Just a part of living up north!
Our front porch is back in business after the long Wisconsin winter, wahoo. My house is tiny, so the extra room on the porch means now I can have more people over for big-laugh brunches, or just a glass of something cold. We like to say hi to the dogs and their people trotting by and count the neighbors making a bratwurst run to the meat market on the corner. Backyards are awesome, and so is privacy, but I am discovering the front porch is the better place to watch the world and feel like a part of it. Makes me happy.
Do check out the new summer edition of Taste of Home magazine. It’s our June/July America the Tasty issue with the best homemade regional dishes from coast to coast. We talked to military spouses about the one food that they can’t wait to have—or to make for the person they love—when returning from deployment. After the kissing is out of the way, of course. Also there is a crazy-good Bloody Mary recipe in there with garnish ideas from all over the country. And my personal favorite, a milkshake from every state. It’s on newsstands June 11.
Emily Betz Tyra is originally a Michigan girl from Traverse City, she grew up on a cherry orchard and slept in a haunted lighthouse all in the name of journalism. These days she cooks, writes and edits in Milwaukee, where she’s a senior editor at Taste of Home magazine. She and her husband Andy can’t wait to camp this summer.