In Maggie’s Kitchen: All About DC’s Culinary Conference, Candied Gifts, & Big Site News


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We’ve skipped (or trudged, if you like) through one quarter of 2015 already. It’s been one helluva season so far, thanks to heaps of historic snow. Here are a few updates from what feels like spring in our nation’s capital:

Washington, DC: This city is great. It feels like a mix of historic brownstones; not-so-tall, new buildings; and rustic-patina roofs and old architecture, a la Paris. I like it, a lot. I’ve been in food conference land but made one momentous excursion this morning (which is why my letter is a little late — please forgive me). I spent an hour or two visiting Julia Child’s kitchen at the Smithsonian’s National History Museum. Most museums in DC are free to the public, which is a good thing because I kept a front-row view into her kitchen during my entire visit. Julia donated her Cambridge, Massachusetts, kitchen to the Smithsonian and they have preserved it, as is, beautifully. She didn’t need fancy marble or granite or fancy machines; she got it all done with the simplest items. She’s a lady that just got it done, with whatever she had on hand. Love her!

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Candy Makes New Friends: Before jetting down south, Kate and I spent hours in the kitchen candying blood orange rinds. The recipe in my forthcoming cookbook is easy, requiring just a little patience or time spent lingering in and around the kitchen. It’s the sort of gift you want to make with 2 or 3 people around to help slice up thin slivers and then share the bounty of hundreds of sweet homemade candied rinds. It’s not too sweet, but a light press of sugar all around each piece gets it just right. I gave nearly 325 bags away at the conference — each hand-labeled with a little love note.

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Now, We Gush: I’m generally not a name-dropper. I do, however, like to share names to seek connection with someone, or with you — I mean, maybe you know someone I know and, if so, perhaps we’ll feel a little closer to each other?! This weekend, I met the quintessential food crew of chefs, cookbook authors, editors and personalities. These folks were all super kind to this newbie: David Lebovitz, Molly Wizenberg, Margot True, Bonnie Benwick, Tamar Haspel, Joy Manning, Elissa Altman, Susan Turner, Molly Watson, Judy Witts Francini, Jess Thompson, Monica Bhide, Christine Rutledge, Cathy Barrow (she won!), Wendy Reed, Sandra Gutierrez, Rose Levy Berenbaum, Katie Workman, Darra Goldstein, Sherrie Castle, Hunter Lewis, and all the good folks at Union Kitchen and Union Market (korean tacos, people!). Lastly, I’m sending a big warm hug to the entire Houghton Mifflin Harcourt crew who spared no kindness during our time together.

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Site Redesign: Gathering all these new food ideas in DC, I’m thinking about this site’s redesign. Just so you know, we’re launching a brand new Eat Boutique in May. While it feels so far off, it’s going to be here so soon. I’m going to talk about some of the reasons we are redesigning Eat Boutique, right now.

  1. Clearly communicate my vision: Eat Boutique shares personal food stories and recipes; delicious gifts to make you and your favorites happier in the kitchen; and new, small-biz-style discoveries we think you’ll love in this big but still quite small world. The current site doesn’t quite live up to that focus and designing better ways to categorize and surface your favorite content.
  2. Get you food gifts fast: Finding delicious gifts is super important and we know this redesign will make the best gifts bubble up to the top, so you find what you need — whether a single bar of great chocolate or a big box of what we’re loving right now — when you need it.
  3. Help you wrap it up: One of the best parts of giving a food gift is wrapping it up with whatever you have on hand or something special. We’ve already started posting food gift wrap tips and we’ll now have a space dedicated to all sorts of food gift wrap within this redesign.
  4. Make imagery the star: These days, the images are just as important as the words to convey a story. In the redesign, images will get larger and lots more attention. The site will be responsive such that if you’re viewing on a tablet or mobile phone, the images will size down accordingly.

Thanks for listening! Talk to you on the weekend. (Oh, and go to DC soon. xox!)


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Photos taken and styled by Maggie Battista.

Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers and shares our version of #foodgiftlove. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans. We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can order in the Eat Boutique Shop.

You can also follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagramTumblr and Pinterest.


Eat Boutique was an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting retail markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie now supports entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses through We Are Magic StudioFollow Maggie Battista on Instagram.