My Recipe Box

Behind the Kitchen Door: Anna Thomas's Kitchen Built for Friends

Video Length: 7:29
Produced by: Robyn Doyon-Aitken; text, floor plan, and photos by Charles Miller, except where noted

Text by Charles Miller

Anna Thomas wears two hats, professionally speaking: She is a best-selling cookbook author-her first, the seminal The Vegetarian Epicure, has sold almost a million copies since it came out in 1973. She frequently contributes to national food magazines-including Fine Cooking-and created our popular Crowd-Pleasing Thanksgiving menu, a celebratory feast for both vegetarians and turkey-lovers alike. Anna is also an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker and screenwriter.

Working in two industries as she does, Anna knows a lot of people. And she loves nothing more than inviting bunches of friends over for a soup supper, the kind of casual party that inspired her most recent, James Beard-award-winning cookbook, Love Soup.

She used to host these informal affairs in the 81-inch-long kitchen in her studio, where she lived temporarily while her main house was being remodeled. Once the renovations were complete, the parties were relocated to the open, airy main kitchen, a perfect space for the laid-back, help-me-cook-and-then-we'll-eat kind of gatherings Anna has become known for. As one friend remarked at a recent dinner, "If you're invited to one of Anna's parties and you don't go, you're either stupid or dead."

In this Behind the Kitchen Door tour, Anna describes what makes her island such a guest-magnet, why she loves soapstone and stainless-steel, and the one big thing that makes her open kitchen work.

Giveaway: leave a comment on the giveaway post for your chance to win a signed copy of Anna's books The Vegetarian Epicure and Love Soup. (Now closed).

A Few of Our Favorite Anna Thomas Recipes
Quinoa Salad with Apples, Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, and Gouda   Green Beans and Carrots in Charmoula Sauce   Caramelized Pear Upside-Down Cakes with Cognac Whipped Cream
posted in: Behind the Kitchen Door, Anna Thomas
Comments (10)

OysterFarmer writes: Copies of "The Vegetarian Epicure" belong on EVERY kitchen library shelf. Thanks to Anna, our developed household menus are far more creative and interesting. Posted: 12:15 pm on October 22nd

VAVeggie writes: Thank you for sharing your kitchen. It is amazing and lends ideas for those of us with smaller spaces. We have soapstone in our kitchen (with cherry cabinets) and we love the soapstone, too. Posted: 9:34 am on October 22nd

SandyCandy writes: Anna's kitchen is a true inspiration . . . so well-equipped, yet uncluttered; so utilitarian, yet beautiful; so user-friendly; so welcoming (just like Anna herself)! Posted: 12:53 am on October 22nd

knitmagic writes: This is a beautiful kitchen. I love how open it is and yet how much can be stored out of sight! Posted: 7:40 pm on October 20th

Mahgni writes: yummi :) Posted: 12:07 pm on September 25th

scrubble4 writes: Thank you for sharing your kitchen.

I am always on the hunt for effective storage solutions. You have a few here that have the bonus of being aesthetically pleasing as well. Your kitchen is beautiful and I am sure both you and your friends love being in it. Posted: 11:57 am on September 24th

GrandmaFitz writes: Wow Anna, that is an amazing home! Yes the kitchen tends to be the main room and I absolutely love how you have designed your kitchen. It must be a real joy to cook (and entertain) in your kitchen/home. Thanks so much for sharing.

Cooking and eating well have always been very important to me. I am so sorry I was not introduced to you earlier in life. I look forward to checking out your cookbooks. Thanks. Posted: 11:08 am on September 24th

Lynle writes: I love how airy and open this kitchen is. This also makes you feel like anything coming from the kitchen is the 'star', the kitchen does not interfere with the food presentation. In many homes, the kitchen is where everyone gathers, why not make it the living room! Very interesting & video helps to explain thoughts that should be considered in any kitchen design or re-design. Posted: 10:24 am on September 24th

Debnev writes: The whole reason I am a great cook and a veggie foodie today is because of Anna Thomas. Her books, The Vegetarian Epicure 1 and 2, changed my life (and my way of eating and cooking). I am on my second copy of Book 1, because the original had fallen to pieces; Book 2 still features my baby sons' crayon scribblings on some pages... They are now adults. I've bought her later books, but I don't have the same relationship with them as with the first two, though I do love the walnut whole wheat bread recipe in Love Soup. Green soup, herb and onion bread, walnut cheddar balls bechamel, pumpkin corn bread, German apple pancake, summer fruit tart, so many others... that I now consider MINE. Thank you, Anna. (I still like to think of Anna as the young hippie girl in Julie Maas's illustrations. Whatever became of her? the illustrator, I mean.) Posted: 10:19 pm on September 23rd

christy_in_seattle writes: I love the airy feeling of Anna's kitchen and all of the natural light from her beautiful windows. It's very special to me to see the home of The Anna Thomas. I've been serving up her fabulous recipes since the late 70's. (Her tasty cornbread is often requested.) Hearing Anna describe her kitchen from the use perspective lends great insight into the design. I've learned a lot from this short video and appreciate the opportunity to hear from a favorite cook and author. Thank you so much! Christy Posted: 11:54 pm on September 16th

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