Well, that would be me, Susie Middleton. Cook/writer/farmer. All around happy girl. For years I got to be chief editor of Fine Cooking magazine; now I write cookbooks, grow and sell vegetables, and live year-round on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. (I take a few pictures, too.) Yes, I did take a flying leap from a steady job in a nice suburb to a completely new life, but that was eight years ago (already!), and I have settled in like a pig in a cool muddy hollow on a hot August day.
I’m excited that my fourth cookbook, Simple Green Suppers: A Fresh Strategy For One-Dish Vegetarian Meals, is about to be published in April, 2017, by Roost Books. My third cookbook, Fresh From the Farm: A Year of Recipes and Stories (The Taunton Press, February 2014), was chosen as one of NPR’s Top Cookbooks of 2014. I loved writing Fresh From the Farm, because I got to tell stories along the way, while following the growing seasons with recipes like Gingery Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp with Brown Sugar-Pecan Topping, Breakfast Tostadas with Scrambled Eggs, Sweet Corn, Cilantro and Fresh Salsa, and Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Dressing, Dried Cherries & Toasted Walnuts.
Let’s see. I am an Expert in Vegetable Cooking. Okay, I know that sounds a bit funny; I should say I love to cook vegetables and go out of my way to explain different ways to cook them so that everyone (not just vegetarians) can enjoy them. So in my first book, Fast, Fresh & Green (Chronicle Books, 2010), I detailed 9 different ways to cook vegetables for weeknights. Then in The Fresh & Green Table (Chronicle Books, 2012) I went a step further and showcased veggies in main courses: soups, salads, pizzas, gratins, galettes, savory tarts, ragouts—the kinds of familiar dishes we all like, just with more vegetables. Fast Fresh & Green has been a national bestseller and continues to inspire a lot of new (and even seasoned) cooks to cook more vegetables.
What else? I still write for Fine Cooking magazine, my very favorite and with a most excellent website. (Disclosure: I am editor at large for Fine Cooking). And I write frequent features and develop recipes for Vegetarian Times. (Yes, vegetarian recipes.) I am lucky enough to write and photograph a regular farm-to-table column (plus occasional features) for Martha’s Vineyard Magazine. I write for other magazines sporadically and the Huffington Post occasionally. And I am an enthusiastic fan/sometime contributor/editorial consultant of/to the Edible family of magazines. I also write essays and the occasional poem. (Here on the other side of the big mid-life change-up, I’m fascinated by the spiritual side of life). I teach a cooking class or two, help when asked to support our most excellent local food champions, Island Grown Initiative and Island Grown Schools, talk on the radio, sometimes get in front of the camera, but am happiest when I am working outside in the dirt. Growing beautiful vegetables is probably the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done. You can follow me on Instagram or check out two series of photos I posted last year–#100veggies100days, #100daysFreshFromtheFarm to see how vegetable-obsessed I am. Or just check in here at sixburnersue.com on a regular basis.
Stats: Born, Washington, D.C. (You guess the year.) Girls school. (Holton Arms, amazing education, very grateful. Here’s an article about me in a recent alumnae magazine.) Duke University, English and Religion. Wrote poetry. Studied with novelist Reynolds Price. Went to New York City. Started working life at Seventeen magazine. Next stop: Sailing World magazine. Left magazine editing to go to culinary school (Peter Kump’s, now ICE; I was in the first group of graduates inducted into the Alumnae Hall of Achievement!); cooked in restaurants (Al Forno, Providence, RI), did a little food writing, returned to the office world and editing by taking a job at Fine Cooking magazine. Didn’t realize when I sat down in my chair in that cubicle, all squirmy in my new stockings, that I’d still be there for 11 years! Yikes. You know the rest (well, some of it).
Photo credit, top: Kathleen Dooher. Middle two: Susie Middleton. Bottom right: Scott Phillips.