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We're sitting down with our favorite writers and cooks to talk about their upcoming cookbooks, their best food memories, and just about anything else.
There are those of us who craft with gusto, and those of us who decidedly do not.
Paul Lowe -- half of the pair of Pauls behind Sweet Paul Magazine, and author of the newly released Sweet Paul Eat & Make -- is on a mission to convert those in the latter camp to the former. Eat & Make leads us gently into the world of crafting and home cooking, with cheer, beautiful photos, and lots of snacks along the way.
More: Paul also recorded a very sweet video for Food52ers everywhere.
The book is organized by Morning, Brunch, Noon, and Night, each of which includes an "eat" and "make" section. Serve Roasted Vegetable Shepherd's Pie on a trivet made of clothespins, or Norwegian Wood Cocktails atop homemade coasters. Thanks to Paul's accessible crafts and his acceptance of imperfection, we're all a little more likely to get friendly with our glue guns.
More: Pick up a subscription to Sweet Paul Magazine on Provisions.
You were raised by your grandmother and great aunt -- how did their style of cooking and crafting shape what you do today?
I feel they are always with me. Everything they did was in great style and tasted really well. The cakes might have been a bit lopsided and the seams might not have been perfectly straight, but it was all wonderful.
My grandmother would always say "Perfection is boring." I try to show that in my book: everything does not have to be perfect, it just has to taste really good.
When you travel to a new place, what sorts of crafts or foods tend to catch your eye?
Whatever is local! I love trying new food and am always on the lookout for new materials to use. I love going to hardware stores and strange local shops; there are always so many cool things to find.
I did get lost in the souks of Marrakech, and had to hire a small boy to guide me out of there, but the finds were worth it.
Which are the most-used tools in your toolkit? In your kitchen drawers?
I could not live without my hot glue gun. I even have a hot glue gun tattoo on my arm -- talk about a serious crafter.
In the kitchen its my emulsion blender. I’m on this kick these days where I make mash out of everything. My latest craze is broccoli and olive oil mash -- it’s so good.
What are your essential tips for setting a beautiful table?
Keep it simple. Go with one kind of flower, candles, and a mix of modern and vintage. Always place something unexpected on the table -- that way people who don't know each other that well have something to talk about and break the ice.
What is your go-to edible gift?
My great Aunt's cinnamon buns are always a hit. The secret is to grate marzipan into the dough. She claimed she met her husband with those buns, so you know they are tasty.
If buns aren't your style, use your cinnamon to make Paul's churros, instead:
Makes 18 churros
1 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
All Sweet Paul photos by Alexandra Grablewski. Mash photo by James Ransom.