Every Day Is Saturday | Sarah Copeland
Every Day Is Saturday
By Sarah Copeland
Intro: Welcome to the Cookery by the Book podcast with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.
Sarah Copeland: This is Sarah Copeland, and I'm so excited to share my new cookbook, Every Day Is Saturday.
Suzy Chase: I think we all want to keep that start of the weekend feeling where anything is possible. How can we keep the weekend cooking mentality going all week long?
Sarah Copeland: Well, for me it's about really tucking things away on Sunday. Sunday, you're ... You know, Saturday is such an exciting beginning of the weekend, and you're kind of feeling loose and easy, but even by Sunday afternoon, I think the mentality of, "Oh gosh, it's coming," is creeping into our mind, and so that is a day that I'm already tucking away, "How can I make this week feel great?" And in terms of cooking, that means whatever I'm making on Saturday and Sunday, I'm tucking away a little extra for the week ahead. So if I'm baking a banana bread, I'm always baking two. If I'm making a chocolate snacking loaf for kids that are coming over on the weekend, I'm making some for after school snacks for my kids later in the week or something to tuck in for my 2:00 work break in the afternoon.
Sarah Copeland: So I'm always kind of thinking ahead, but not thinking ahead in, "Oh jeez, here it comes," but thinking ahead in terms of packing away little moments for delight that you enjoy on the weekend or making sure you have them on the weekdays too.
Suzy Chase: Carla Hall was sold on Every Day Is Saturday as soon as she read the names of the chapters. Tell us about the chapters.
Sarah Copeland: I love that you ask that question because this is really the way we eat today in a modern world. Of course breakfast and lunch and dinner still stands, but the fact of the matter is we are so busy, families are so different, families are integrated and made all different kinds of ways, and everybody has activities.
Sarah Copeland: So the chapters are divided up in ways that you can blend and eat any time of the day. So for example, chapters ... Well obviously we have Breakfast and Brunch, but obviously brunch you think of as a weekend thing, but if you work from home, maybe you get started at your desk for two hours, and then you eat breakfast or brunch around 10:00.
Sarah Copeland: Toast and bread is a wonderful chapter that's just really quick things. So these are things we eat a lot for breakfast, but I might eat on a workday as a midmorning thing, or if we can guess ... I might just put out as a little bit of a snack. Midday meals, grazing platters, those are wonderful things to invite company for, but again they work for the family, they work for any time, and grazing platters I think is just something that we're all so into these days. It's the magical meal board where everything is there, you have very little prep work, and you can just make this beautiful display that everyone kind of gets what they want.
Sarah Copeland: I did include mains and sweets, but then there's this Cooking for Friends section which is really loose also. It's menus. It tells you what you can make when you have a lot of friends coming over, and again it's always things that you can pack away or tuck away in advance so that the moment when people arrive at the table, whether that's just your family or a big group of friends, there's not a lot of work for you as the host.
Suzy Chase: So you just brought up grazing platters. Describe your Hungarian Snacking Tray.
Sarah Copeland: Well my husband's Hungarian, and so in Hungary when you go there, there wouldn't be ever a formal sit down meal, almost never. So what they do instead is a snack ... You know, I call it a snacking tray, and basically what it is is tons of meats and cheeses, and there's soft cheeses and hard cheeses of course like we would do here, but there's even more meats than we would ever think to put on. There's soft ones and dried sausages, and they always have pâté, but one thing that's really unique is that they really blend sweets into all of their kinds of meals. So I think it's a very distinctive thing that you would also find little pogacha which are homemade cheese biscuits, or you would find strudel or beigli which is kind of more of a breadlike yeasted strudel, and you would find fruits and pickles, and pickled eggs, and hardboiled eggs.
Sarah Copeland: So truly you could sit there for hours and hours and just graze over that board, and everyone kind of has what they want, and the children dip in and out. The fun thing about that is, over there it's so different than here we're always saying, "Eat your vegetables, eat your vegetables, and then you can have a piece of cake or an ice cream," and in their culture it's just very integrated. You just eat it all in any order you want.
Suzy Chase: I like how you weave ease and grace into this cookbook, something you normally don't think about in terms of cookbooks. But believe you me, there's so many nights when ease and grace go right out of the window.
Sarah Copeland: That is so true.
Suzy Chase: Right?
Sarah Copeland: Well, when you've got kids and they're running around at your feet, it's really challenging, and I think the ease and grace comes from thinking ahead a little bit, and of course I've worked for a woman's magazine for about 15 years, and we spent many times preparing these great lists and meal plans and months of meals for everybody, but the fact of the matter is, if you are not uber organized, if you are not super structured, those don't work for every kind of family, and they don't work for my family.
Sarah Copeland: So the ease and grace for me is that you're always kind of tucking something away, and you're always kind of keeping it light. That's not easy, obviously, but it is a mentality. It's thinking that yes, it's Monday, or even Tuesday is here, gosh we're barely just getting started on the week, but you can sit down and make a meal a little bit more like a Saturday afternoon by turning on the music and deciding that it doesn't have to be a meat and potatoes plate at dinner tonight. It can be a snacking tray, or it can be something a little bit easier. Just a bit bowl of soup with lots of nice bread. And so just taking our mindset to a different place is so important. I think it keeps it fun.
Suzy Chase: You started out your career working from home, writing cookbooks and recipes for magazines, and then what prompted you to take the position as food director at Real Simple magazine?
Sarah Copeland: Well, it's such a good question. It was really a dream job. I have to say it was a coming together of all the different walks of life. So I'd worked in magazines before, and I'd worked at The Food Network, and I'd been a private chef, and I had a journalism degree, and so I had a lot of history with magazines, but when I left my last full-time job to write my first cookbook, I really thought I would never go back.
Sarah Copeland: But Real Simple was just really an embodiment of exactly the place I was in my life at the time. I had one two-year-old child, and I was starting to simplify my life. I really wanted to connect with an audience of women who were high achievers and had a ton of high standards for their family life, but also knew that it's impossible to do at all and to do it all perfectly.
Sarah Copeland: And so I liked that the mentality there was not about perfection. It was about simple beauties and simple pleasures. That is so important to me because I feel like ... in an Instagram world, we're all striving for perfect, perfect all the time, but the simplest pleasures are really the most gratifying ones. You know, whether that's siting on a picnic table with your child and listening to them babble on, or just having a really easy meal where everyone's relaxed. I think that's true luxury.
Suzy Chase: So now you're back working from home. Is that your dream scenario?
Sarah Copeland: It is. Since we moved out of the city, we live in a really sweet little town. It's very ... it's kind of like an old European village, and from my office window where I'm sitting right now, I can see our grass and where the kids play, and I can see my own garden. My garden is definitely a muse for my life, and so are my children. So you know, as much as I loved being in a fancy office and having the comradery of being with all of these super inspiring women, mostly I really ... I'm really happiest at home, and I'm happiest creating with my hands every day.
Sarah Copeland: And so I get to dip in and out of editor world, and writing world, and into my kitchen, and into my garden every day two or three times throughout the day. That's perfect for me.
Suzy Chase: You have a next level ingredient list that includes one of my recent discoveries: castelvetrano olives. Am I pronouncing that correctly?
Sarah Copeland: Oh you're saying it so much better than I can. I can spell it, I can cook with it, but I still can't say it.
Suzy Chase: I had to sound it out, but I love them.
Sarah Copeland: You nailed it.
Suzy Chase: Other than snacking, what are some interesting ways you work them into dishes?
Sarah Copeland: Oh, they are the best. They're wonderful for snacking. I put them on all of my grazing platters, but they're also great in salads because they're so meaty. So I put them in a lot of ... I put them in radish salad, I put them in all kinds of different salads throughout the book, and I also love to cook them with fish or even chicken. So if you cook them ... I have a dish that's a super simple baked fish dinner, and you put olives, and capers, and on the vine tomatoes in with whitefish and you bake it, and the whole thing is ready in about 25 minutes, and you can use any olive, but castelvetrano ... can you say it for me? The meaty green olives that we all love are great in that fish.
Suzy Chase: Yes, we'll call them the meaty green olives.
Sarah Copeland: The meaty green olives. And there's another one, cerignolas, which is an Italian ... And they're just a little bit bigger, and I usually buy them with the pit inside because they're usually more flavorful that way. And those work as a great substitute as well. They're super meaty and just juicy, and they have a little bit of a tang and a brininess, but they're not that puckery brininess that you get from a dark olive like a kalamata or a niçoise.
Suzy Chase: You have a whole section entitled Ode to Avocado. A clever tip you wrote was, "Avocado halves, or quarters, are perfect vessels." I never thought about that.
Sarah Copeland: That's so great because you know, if you just scoop out the pit, and even if it's a half or a quarter, you have this little dome, and it's great for olive oil, and sprinkling Maldon sea salt or a little bit of soy sauce or sriracha. You know, I think one thing that we get caught up in in our cook conversations about the best way to eat, people say, "Oh, I'm not a good cook." A lot of what makes me seem like a great cook is I'm a great shopper. I'm a great preparer. I'm great at gathering the right things in my home, and therefore my time in the kitchen can be a lot easier and breezier, and this is a perfect example of that.
Sarah Copeland: So if you know how to shop and you know how to select a perfect avocado when you press your thumb and it gives just a little bit, not too much, and I give you those kinds of tips in the book because I really do ... I want it to be easy. I don't want to be that person that's like, "Oh well she's really ... it's just easy for her." I want it to be easy for you too. I want it to be easy for all of us, and a lot of that is just not making it quite as difficult as we thought it was in our minds.
Suzy Chase: So on page 17, you have your 10 favorite foods list, and I love when cookbook authors do this because my 10 favorite foods just vary from day to day. So let's go through a few of them.
Sarah Copeland: Okay.
Suzy Chase: Your number one is oats.
Sarah Copeland: Yeah, oats are so great because I ... You know, I throw oats in a lot of my breads, homemade breads, so a quick break like banana bread which is ... You know, I grew up with my mom's delicious banana bread, and it was certainly amazing and delightful, but maybe it didn't have that long lasting energy that we need for our busy lives, and we know so much more about nutrition now. So I add oats into my banana bread. They're great in smoothies. If you have a Vitamix, they just basically disappear. You can add them into cookies. You can make muesli. Muesli is one of our daily breakfasts around here because it's a lot less sugar than granola is, and also you can add whatever fruits are in season any time of the year. So it's very, very versatile. So I love oats; we always have them in the house.
Suzy Chase: So then you have avocados, eggs, artisan bread, yogurt, and then you have smoked salmon. Talk a little bit about that.
Sarah Copeland: Oh gosh. We love smoked salmon. We love smoked fish of all time. I actually have a cured lox recipe in this book in my projects section, which I forgot to mention earlier. The projects section is things that you would make on a weekend and tuck away for the week like pickled onions, cured salmon, spinach pie, homemade nut milk, things like that. Because salmon is so great, and smoked salmon you can make a little tartine, you can immediately, if you have good smoked salmon in the house and bread or bagels, you can invite friends over. It's just one of those elevating things that is so simple and so nutritious and helpful. My kids love it. My whole family loves it.
Sarah Copeland: But it's just really beautiful and elegant, colorful, but again it's about procuring a good ingredient and then not having to do much yourself once you get home.
Suzy Chase: Okay, the next favorite food is cheese, one hard, one creamy, and then greens and herbs, crunchy vegetables, and last but not least, a giant bowl of fruit. So what do you put in your bowl?
Sarah Copeland: Well my kids are total fruit fanatics. So right now there are two entire huge bunches of bananas in my house which can be used in smoothies and make my banana bread when they get brown, and just packing the lunches and things like that. But we also have berries, we always have apples. We're in a really great farm region here so it could be different all the time, but we have ... We don't leave out strawberries and little berries and stuff like that because they go bad quickly, but I just am such a believer that you make good food accessible to your family so that they don't grab for other things to snack. So there's always a giant, wooden bowl on my marble kind of island area that the kids, or my husband, can just pop in and grab whatever they want.
Suzy Chase: Your summer macaroni recipe on page 114 was a revelation for me. What did Martha Stewart have to do with the creation of this recipe?
Sarah Copeland: You know, I don't know if she was the very first person to write a one pot pasta, but that's the first place I saw it. I remember this great article that was like Twelve Genius Dishes or, How to Be a Better Cook, or something like that, and as a magazine editor you're seeing hundreds and hundreds of stories, and you're creating them yourself, but every once in a while, one is so good that you tear it out, and you tack it to your board, and you hang onto it.
Sarah Copeland: At the time I was the food director at Real Simple magazine. I was creating with my team 20 new recipes every month so I didn't really have time to cook from any other magazines, but I remember thinking, "That's super smart. I should try that just for myself at home when I have time." And so when I was writing the book, it kind of was in the back of my mind, but I didn't necessarily think I would put a recipe like that in my book because hers was just so classic and perfect. It was pasta, and tomatoes, and olive oil, and maybe some basil. Really can't get much better than that, but this one really came together impromptu because I had friends over, and I'd made a giant grazing board, and they were here at like 3:00PM.
Sarah Copeland: They were like, "We're just going to pop in for an hour," and come 5:30, they're still there, I've got like nine kids in the backyard and four adults who are all hungry, and I just said, "Keep talking," and I was able to run in the house and throw pasta, and zucchini, and onions, and basil from the garden, and a little oregano, and olive oil in a pot. Literally stirred a few times, go back out, chat, come back in and check on it, and added the cheese at the end, it was like really creamy and delicious, and my kids right away said, "Oh mama, is that macaroni and cheese?" And I'm like yes, because I didn't know if they would eat it if I said, "Oh, it's one pot pasta, and there's zucchini in it," for example. Everyone just devoured it. So then that became a habit in our house to do that like once a week just as a super easy dinner.
Suzy Chase: What cheese do you use with it?
Sarah Copeland: Well, you can use parmesan or pecorino. That's what I do for the kids, something that really melts, or even manchego. People I think ... manchego is one of those underutilized cheeses, and I have a source where I can get a nice big chunk of it, and I just have it on hand all the time. I actually use manchego in my meatballs as well. It's so creamy, but it has that saltiness of pecorino or parmesan.
Sarah Copeland: But when I serve this to adults, sometimes I do dolloped fresh ricotta cheese on the end, and then a drizzle of olive oil, and some good Maldon salt because that just kind of elevates the dish and makes it feel a little bit more special.
Suzy Chase: I love the combination of black and white and color photos in the cookbook. Talk a little bit about the design aspect.
Sarah Copeland: Oh, that's such a good question. Well, Andrea Gentle and Martin Highers who shot this book, I actually met them like 15 years ago. One of my first jobs out of journalism school, I was an assistant photo editor at Oprah Magazine when the magazine launched, and we used to hire them to shoot all kinds of thing, but food photography but as well as beauty and other things, and they were just kind of like the ultimate. So my dream was to have them shoot this book, and we worked together on it, and it was so wonderful because it was just very intuitive and natural. They came to my house three separate times. We just shot me and my kids. Of course I would prep and make all the beautiful food, but then they would just capture my kids and I in our natural environment. So having a picnic at our favorite orchard, Westwind Orchard, or going to our favorite swimming hole and eating watermelon. They just really captured us in our home life up here, and I think they did it so beautifully.
Sarah Copeland: Of course I really wanted the food to shine in this book, but the idea of Every Day Is Saturday is a lifestyle even more than just a way to cook. It's about embracing the little, simple moments of life, and not letting them pass you by which is very easy to do.
Suzy Chase: Another unique feature in this cookbook is the special diets index. What prompted you to include a special index?
Sarah Copeland: I love that question. I'm so happy with this detail. A friend of mine ... Actually, my former intern who worked on my first book with me, her name is Lindsay Maitland Hunt, and she wrote a great book called Healthyish last year, and she had a special diets index, and I thought, "That is ... We've got to have that," because if you're dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian, you can go to this on page 248 and 249, and there are literally 60 or 70 recipes for each of those diets.
Sarah Copeland: So it makes me so happy. Yesterday I was doing a preview advanced book signing, and people would come up, and they'd say, "Oh, I love your book. It's so, so beautiful. Oh, but I'm vegan. It's probably not going to work for me."
Sarah Copeland: And I can say, "Actually, there are 38 recipes in the back that are naturally vegan. They're not using vegan or vegetarian substitutes, but they're just foods that are naturally vegan or vegetarian or naturally gluten-free or dairy-free because I'm such a whole foods based cook, and there's so much that nature provided for us that I don't believe we have to really, truly bend over backwards to eat in these special diets. I mean, it's all available for you in this book as well.
Sarah Copeland: So I'm really happy with that, and that was actually something we squeezed in at the very last minute because I asked for it and asked for it, and we didn't think we were going to have the page count, and at the very last minute a genius researcher that I worked with at Food Network for years was available to help us index it, and we squeezed it in. So I'm very happy to have it.
Suzy Chase: Yesterday I made your recipe for Magic Pork Shoulder on page 157. I was wondering why it wasn't in the projects section because it does take a bit of time putting spices on and letting it sit.
Sarah Copeland: No, that's such a good question. Well, one of the things that you maybe don't notice outrightly is at the end of every chapter ... So in the Breakfast and Brunch chapter, at the end of the toast chapter, there's a mini-chapter, and it's basically a one or two pager or spread, sometimes it goes into two spreads, where I give you one kind of either list or write the recipes ... Like in Breakfast and Brunch, it's migas versus chilaquiles, and I talk about what are migas, what are chilaquiles, how you can just make this magical, delicious breakfast with some leftover tortillas and a few extra ingredients.
Sarah Copeland: I wanted to end every chapter with this, "Here's one great thing you should learn by heart and do over, and over, and over again," and so in this section, Cooking For Friends, it's the Magic Pork Shoulder because I never really just make it for our family. I make it for friends, and because it's a huge pork shoulder, I always have enough to serve. I serve this at both of my kids' birthday parties, and my husband's even vegetarian so this is ... I'm not making it for him, I'm making it for all of our guests that are coming over, and we stuff it into tacos, we eat it all summer long, but whenever I make it, there is always at least a little small Tupperware left over for me and the kids for the rest of the week.
Sarah Copeland: And so it's magical in so many ways. It's magical that you have to do very little work, and the work is being done for you in a low, slow oven. And it's magical because it feeds so many people, and everyone always raves about it, and it's also magical because you're almost guaranteed to have a little bit left over, and that's going to make, let's say, your Tuesday night feel really special when you're like, "Ooh, it's a hard week, but I've got that juicy pork shoulder that I can pull out and throw into tacos or put on top of pasta or just eat with coleslaw on the side or a big, leafy salad," and it's just so satisfying that you don't need to do much else.
Suzy Chase: I can't wait. Tonight I'm going to shred it and put it with your pickled red onions that I also did yesterday and make tacos.
Sarah Copeland: Yum. So good, right? On a Monday night, how exciting is that?
Suzy Chase: Perfect, yes.
Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called My Last Meal. What would you have for your Last Supper?
Sarah Copeland: Oh gosh, that's a good one. Well there would for sure be watermelon, and I think right now I'm in a protein, fruit, and chocolate mode of my life. So I think I would actually have possibly the meatballs from the book which I love which are on the cover. I'm a really latecomer to enjoying ground meat and meatballs and all things of the kind so I'm making up for it. I'm making up for lost time. Probably the meatballs because I just love the idea of Italian cooking and the whole ... just there warmth and the inclusiveness that goes with it and the love that's usually poured into something like that.
Sarah Copeland: Then there would be watermelon. There would be a huge leafy green salad, and probably it would be the Ravenwood Salad from this book which has got tons of kale and shredded cabbage pepitas. I love a salad with tons of texture. You can put pepitas and sunflower seeds, and on its own it's amazing, but it's wonderful before or even after any other course.
Sarah Copeland: Then we'd have like half of a watermelon all to myself. Then I would have either the flourless chocolate cake from the book or the chocolate snacking loaf. Both really satisfy in that super fudgy chocolate way with a sprinkle of sea salt, and there probably would have to be, oddly enough, a glass of milk because I do love a glass of milk with something chocolatey.
Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web and social media?
Sarah Copeland: Okay, I'm @EdibleLiving on Instagram. My website is EdibleLiving.com. My Twitter is @EdibleLiving, and Pinterest, I love Pinterest, is EdibleLiving. So it's all under there, and I'd love to connect with people there.
Suzy Chase: A weekend state of mind is just a recipe away. Thanks, Sarah, for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.
Sarah Copeland: Thanks for having me, Suzy. It was so great to talk.
Outro: Follow Suzy Chase on Instagram @CookeryByTheBook, and subscribe at CookeryByTheBook.com or in Apple Podcasts. Thanks for listening to Cookery by the Book podcast, the only podcast devoted to cookbooks, since 2015.