Home Tour

A Peek Into Mollie Katzen's Fairytale Home

The beloved author is selling her home, which means we get to look inside the kitchen where she wrote, tested, and illustrated a dozen best-selling cookbooks.

March 17, 2022
Photo by Open Homes Photography

With zucchini feta pancakes, mushroom strudel, and handwritten instructions on how to carve a fruit salad—complete with doodles and line drawings—Mollie Katzen taught generations of vegetarians not just how to feed themselves, but how to do it in varied, global, and fascinating fashion. The first edition of the Moosewood Cookbook came out in 1974, and has since been considered one of the best (and best-selling) cookbooks ever. Now, as she sells her longtime Bay Area home, the public gets a glimpse of the stunning kitchen, studio, and garden from which she produced, wrote, tested, and illustrated a dozen best-selling cookbooks.

Katzen's sprawling house and garden served as both office and inspiration for almost 40 years as she wrote, tested, and illustrated her cookbooks Photo by Open Homes Photography

Though the book came out of the New York-based Moosewood Collective, Katzen herself used the money she earned on it to move to California, buying a house just outside of Berkley in 1983. For almost 40 years, Katzen grew her own Enchanted Broccoli Forest, an herb and vegetable garden just outside her kitchen, with a farm table at the center. Paths wander among the charming plants and mature fruit trees, leading into the kitchen where she found inspiration for so many recipes.

The U-shaped kitchen includes colorful green shelves accented by red dual ovens and a sweet breakfast nook in front of a picture window, where Katzen did much of her writing. Though much of the spacious kitchen is humble—nicely appointed but classic—the appliances are top of the line, including a six-burner Viking range with a high-powered hood overhead. Dutch doors lead to a patio, across which is a large laundry room that functioned as Katzen’s pantry, and a writer’s cottage that overlooks the gardens. But Katzen illustrated her book upstairs, in a 400-square-foot studio on the top floor, overlooking the sprawling nature of Tilden Park.

The counter space of Katzen's kitchen gives home cooks everywhere something to envy. Photo by Open Homes Photography

Sadly, today’s budding cookbook writers should probably keep their inspiration in check: the five-bedroom house was built in 1948, and according to public records of the previous sale, Katzen purchased the 3,292 square foot house on the 25,515 square foot property in 1983 for $250,000. In late February, it was listed for sale at $1.95 million dollars, and reportedly sold this week for more than $3.3 million. Still, one can dream.

Katzen often wrote in the breakfast nook at the end of her kitchen—we imagine the view always helped. Photo by Open Homes Photography
A farm table in the middle of the garden makes the house peak Berkeley Photo by Open Homes Photography
The herb and vegetable garden conveniently located just off the kitchen allowed Katzen easy access to fresh ingredients and inspiration. Photo by Open Homes Photography
We'd happily get lost in here. Photo by Open Homes Photography

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • maryw
  • Marcie(Marcia M.) Medof
    Marcie(Marcia M.) Medof
  • Ilenes
Naomi Tomky

Written by: Naomi Tomky

The world's most enthusiastic eater of everything


maryw March 20, 2022
3.3 million…wow
Ilenes May 6, 2022
Hmmm… how does one put a price on a priceless sanctuary that nurtured and
sustained for a lifetime of ups and downs? Congratulations Mollie., this place is worth so much more.
Marcie(Marcia M. March 18, 2022
Love my Mousewood cookbook(s), and especially remember the delicious Spanikopita casserole! Was a treat seeing her charming home and waking down memory lane. Thank you for the post!