Alice Currah cooks the kind of food that makes you popular at potlucks. Her cookbook, which shares the name Savory Sweet Life with her blog and was released June 5 by HarperCollins, is stuffed full of recipes like bacon spinach artichoke dip, caramelized onion clam dip, red pepper relish poured over cream cheese, banana cream pie, and the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever, as vetted by her zillion and a half blog fans.
Currah, who used to be a wedding cake baker before she became a stay-at-home mom of three, started the blog in 2009 as something for herself—something that celebrated her family while also giving her something to do on her own. "There’s an assumption that if you’re a mom and you blog that you must be a mommy blogger," Currah says, "and I wanted to have something just for me." And that something soon grew into a blog featured in Saveur, Martha Stewart, Forbes, and more; a blog with 750,000 views a month.
The born-and-raised Seattleite has always loved to bake and cook, and has been taking pictures since high school. She takes all the bright beautiful photos for her blog, and took all but the one of herself for the book. "I’m scared of writing," Currah confesses, explaining why the blog is so photo-focused. Currah turned down a previous offer of a book deal years ago, wanting to focus on what she was most comfortable doing.
But she’s glad she finally went the cookbook route, and she hopes that it’ll inspire families to come together and eat and celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. "The blog just gives little snapshots," Currah explains. "When you’re blogging, you just write what you’re feeling in that moment, what you’re cooking right then…the book is probably closer to how my life actually is." It stands as more complete portrait of their home, their relationships, and the role food plays in their lives. Savory Sweet Life is divvied up by occasion rather than by course: tween birthday bash, game day, welcome home, snow day, Valentine’s day, afternoon tea party—all the warm, fuzzy, snacky occasions you can think of. Around 80 of the 100 recipes were developed just for the book; the others are old blog favorites.
Currah says she started feeling more comfortable writing after she got some advice from the very talented local food writer Rebekah Denn’s talk at the International Food Blogger Conference a few years ago: "Write like you’re writing to a friend." And that’s what she’s done, writing to the thousands of internet friends that she’s made with her recipes and stories, and now with her sweet book. "There’s just a deep sense of joy that comes from food and family and just being present," Currah says of what’s at the heart of both her book and her blog, "and that’s what I focus on."
Alice Currah will be at the Book Larder on Sunday, June 24, at 11 sharing the tea party chapter of her book. Thumbprint jam scones (one of her daughter Mimi’s favorites), dainty sandwiches, and marshmallow pops will all be in attendance. Kids under 2 are free, but other tea party guests need a $10 ticket, available online.