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Posted on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 6 a.m.

A new recipe every day for an entire year: celebrating Peggy Lampman

By Jessica Webster


Peggy Lampman

July marks the one year birthday of While we take a moment to look back at what we have learned in the past year, we would be remiss if we didn't also take some time to celebrate our most steadfast and reliable contributor. For an entire year, Peggy Lampman has imagined, created, photographed and blogged about a new recipe every single day.

Think about it. Not once in the past year has Lampman had the luxury of just ordering a pizza or picking up some take-out Chinese. Instead, she taught us how to make our own, with detailed - and sometimes humorous - instructions. Along the way, we've gotten to know Lampman through her stories and recipes. We've made pizza with her grandkids, celebrated holidays with her friends and focused on healthy living with her husband Richard.

Beginning this week, Lampman is going to take a little more time for her family and friends. We'll still get a new dinnerFeed post every weekday, with tips on getting meals on the table during the busy work week, but she's giving herself a break on the weekends.

To mark the occasion of the anniversary of a full year of daily posts, Peggy is sharing some of her most frequently asked questions from readers with us, to give us a little more insight into what makes her tick.

Q: Why did you start writing this?
A: I’m sure I have some sort of compulsive blogging disorder that has a clinical name, but I’ll save that for a later post. 

I was born into a family that considers good cooking to be the highest of art forms - I’ve enjoyed delicious food since my right hand could handle a spoon. Following, inventing and sharing recipes has been my passion ever since that same hand could grasp a chef knife. 

I’ve been cooking professionally since 1981. Through the years, ragged notebooks morphed into computer files: testimonials of a life spent, for the most part, in a kitchen. I wanted a platform to organize my notes and recipes. Writing a daily food blog - without repeating a recipe - provided the required discipline.

The first day went “live,” I was 28 days into this personal commitment. I promised readers I would record what I was eating, complete with a photograph and recipe, for one full year - weekends and holidays included, no vacation or sick-time allowed. I began the blog on June 28, 2009, and Friday, July 30, 2010, I’ll begin taking weekends off.

Like so many people, my happiest memories are those spent cooking and eating with family and friends. I finally have a permanent record of my favorite foods and recipes to reference, to build upon, and share with my family and community.

Q: Did you get your idea from the movie “Julie and Julia”?
A: I began my blog before seeing the movie, but read the book when it was first released. I loved the idea, especially the dedication to subject and the rhythm that the author, Julie Powell, developed when posting her daily blog after recreating a Julia Child recipe.

Writing and cooking are like brushing my teeth; I know lots of daily bloggers who feel the same. If I allowed myself to write only three recipes a week, I may have quit writing after a couple of months.

Q: Do you ever get tired of writing about food and coming up with new recipes every day? Is it difficult not to have a day away from the computer?
A: No. I am fortunate to have found a medium that utterly engages me. I am passionate about food, particularly regional food. I am also fascinated by other people’s recipes and recording their food stories.

My husband, Richard, is occasionally annoyed by my constant companion, “Mac” (aka: the laptop). He has not, to date, developed a resentment for “Viking” (aka: the stove). The meals are his reward for keeping a lid on it!

My children are either in college or graduates, trying to find their way in a difficult job market. I don’t know if I could have pulled this daily blog off if they were still living under our roof. They share my “food gene,” however, and we tend to cook away the problems that life regularly dishes out.

Q: What are your challenges to cooking and posting daily?
A: One challenge is convincing Richard that food meant to be served hot, is also “delicious” luke-warm or cold. We eat what I photograph, and while getting the plate “ready for prime time,” it cools down. My friends and family think it’s all quite novel, and enjoy watching me compose and take a photo of what we’re about to eat - they don’t have to live with it!.

Power outages and irritating wireless Internet connections are the Darth Vader of this daily blog. Eating well has always been a family priority, so making and officially recording the recipe to share is always a pleasure.

Q: Why don’t you refer to yourself as “chef”?
A: I am not a chef because I have not undergone the rigors of chef school. I’ve taken a good amount of cooking classes from culinary icons, have worked in the trenches for 30 years with talented chefs, but I never went through the demanding training required of chefs to receive their toque.

I did, however, graduate from the University of Michigan with a communications degree. My intention at the time was to become a writer and photojournalist. My first job “out the hatch” in New York, circa 1978, was as a writer and photographer at a public relations firm.

America, however, was undergoing a culinary renaissance, and the bourgeoning Manhattan food scene is what cranked my cranker. I returned to Ann Arbor, my much-missed college town, and opened a specialty food store in 1981.

Q: Are you going to write a cookbook?
A: I’ve written one! There are over 400 recipes online since June 28, 2009. The challenge of making every day’s recipe as easy and delicious as possible - and clearly communicating to readers potential stumbling blocks with the recipe - was my main concern. The last thing I want or need is to go through is the turbulence of trying to get a book published.

The publishing industry, in fact, has changed so dramatically, I’m not sure how to even begin. Today you also have to be really good at selling yourself via online social networking. I know what I’m supposed to be doing as far as networking, I just can’t seem to invent the time to do it.

Q: What’s your favorite recipe?
A: What I’m making that day. I only choose recipes I have experience with and I hope will turn out well. My life’s motto: Eat well....Stay hungry!

Jessica Webster coordinates Food & Drink and Books coverage for Reach her at 


Mona Shand

Sat, Jul 31, 2010 : 9:44 a.m.

Peggy- your daily post is typically the first thing I look at when I log on to the site, and it's always such a delicious way to start the day! Thanks for all that you do, and enjoy your weekends off!


Thu, Jul 29, 2010 : 7:44 a.m.

Thanks for all the great recipes Peggy!

needed perspective

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 10:15 p.m.

OK...maybe I am an internet idiot...but when I try to just print a great recipe...I get 3-4 pages. HELP!

David Briegel

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 9:35 p.m.

Gina and I agree that our courtyard hasn't smelled nearly as sweet since you took your talents elsewhere! I miss those wonderful aromas. I certainly enjoy reading your work and attempting the recipes!! Congratulations to you!

Peggy Lampman

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 1:12 p.m.

BTW Patti: Actually the kids and grandkids are much coveted blog fodder--they're all so enthusiastically precious when cooking or "working" with me in the vegetable garden! Peggy

Peggy Lampman

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 1:10 p.m.

Marshall: You, and every one else, deserve my applause for reading through this gushing ocean of a food lover's verbosity. Thanks very much for the comment and let me know if there is a culinary subject you'd be interested in my pursuing. Peggy

Peggy Lampman

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 1:07 p.m.

Wow Gina--What a lovely comment! Thanks so much for making my day! Peggy

Peggy Lampman

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 1:04 p.m.

Baby G (aka: daughter) You've appeared as subject matter whenever you're visiting me, so here's the opportunity to thank-you now! Cyber kisses your way in Chicago-land! Mom (For those readers that remember the "old" Back Alley Gourmet, I originally named it the Gourmet's Goose - I was a serious fan of pates. I changed the name (too cute for my eighties sensibilities) when the store moved from the old building on South Main that used to house the Arc--to the current main street location. I sold the business several years ago and the owner is still making fabulous food--check out the Caribbean Chicken.

Peggy Lampman

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 12:59 p.m.

Oh gosh! It's "Engineering Mom"! I've absolutely loved reading your comments through the year-I have this picture of you and your family in my mind. Thanks so very much for your comments and let me know if I can write about a particular food or recipe that interests you. Peggy


Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 12:27 p.m.

Peggy (aka: Mama) never ceases to amaze me. My brother and I have "eaten well," as my mom modestly calls it, our entire lives -- one of my oldest memories was being perched atop her stainless steel table at The Gourmets Goose, cracking eggs into an old fashioned, hand crank pasta machine. Mom taught us the importance of fresh ingredients, the art of "slow food," and the value of sitting down for dinner (every night!) as a family. Though no longer living at home (or even in state), I've loved the convenience and ease of access to my moms thoughtful recipes with just a click. Keep it up mom, cant wait to see whats next!


Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 12:22 p.m.

Peggy, congratulations on a yummy year! I've found a great deal of enjoyment reading your column and trying out the recipes. You have inspired many a tasty meal at my house!!


Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 11:29 a.m.

As always, you rock, Peggy. Congratulations on a life well written and well lived.

Marshall Svendsen

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 10:50 a.m.

Peggy's dedication and talent deserve a round of applause! Her creativity and tenacity over the past year have been truly impressive. I for one have reaped the benefits of her daily blog time and time again. Thanks to Peggy, keep up the good work!

Geek Chick

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 10:31 a.m.

Does pay you? They should pay everyone who contributes to their site. for columns or blogs, news stories, photos, cartoons, whatever.

Peggy Lampman

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 9:59 a.m.

GR: Thanks for the comment and I'm glad you appreciate shopping local. Folks such as yourself sustain Michigan farms and green-space - what I often take for granted. Reminds me of an ancient Joni Mitchell song: "don't it always seem to don't know what you've got till it's gone - take paradise and you put up a parking lot." Peggy

Peggy Lampman

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 9:54 a.m.

Kathy: I will be sure to show this to Richard! Please let me know if there is a particular type of food you enjoy eating. Fodder for the feeder is always appreciated! Peggy

Peggy Lampman

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 9:52 a.m.

Patti: Thanks for the kind words and I'm delighted you enjoy the recipes.If there is anything you'd like me to write about in future blogs--please advise! Peggy


Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 9:51 a.m.

Congratulations! Thanks for a year of fun, good food and helpful cooking tips. Love the focus on local fruit and vegetables.

Peggy Lampman

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 9:50 a.m.

Wolverine: Though I've never met you I feel as if we're good friends. Through the year I've really appreciated your comments, recipes and the UTubes you've shared with me. You inspired me to write about Rogan Josh (sp.) and so many deliciously inspired dishes. I've learned a great deal about sub-continental cooking from you! Thanks again. Peggy

Peggy Lampman

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 9:47 a.m.

PJ: Thanks soooooo much for your very kind words--they "feed" me more than food. I'm so glad you and your husband enjoy the recipes and let me know if there is a particular type of food you'd enjoy me experimenting with. Peggy


Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 9:20 a.m.

Peggy, Thank you so much for all your wonderful recipes. I love knowing there is a place to go when I need to find something quick, easy, creative delicious to cook. Your recipes are so easy to follow and the variety is wonderful. I also love the way you write about your life!! Richard is very lucky. I have cooked more this year than I have in a long time thanks to you! Kathy

Patti Smith

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 9:05 a.m.

I love your recipes and writing style! But I don't believe that you have grandkids! No way;) Keep up the great work :)


Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 8:53 a.m.

Congratulations, Peggy!!!! I am amazed by how you have enriched our lives by posting an original recipe every single day.

Peggy Lampman

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 8:34 a.m.

Mary--Coming from you, this is the highest of compliments - heartfelt appreciation! And back to you, your thoughts about food, eating and the pleasures of the table have been wonderful to read through the year. You tackle recipes I can only dream about! Cheers! Peggy

pj notes

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 8:30 a.m.

Peggy, you are an inspiration! I have enjoyed making so many of your recipes, and my husband is a real fan, too. We really look forward to what's cooking each day. I am annoyed when the daily email version of headlines doesn't list your recipe once in a while, and I have to go search it out. I've been encouraging my friends to check out your recipes, too. I really appreciate your focus on what's available and fresh, and local suppliers. Keep up the good work - you're terrific!

Mary Bilyeu

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 6 a.m.

I have nothing but respect and admiration for Peggy!!! Not only does she post every single day, but she makes real food instead of opening a box of Suddenly Salad or something with equal "default" value. The recipes are amazing and creative... sigh. Mazal Tov, Peggy!!!