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At Mesa's Edge: Cooking and Ranching in Colorado's North Fork Valley Hardcover – June 10, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; English Language edition (June 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618221263
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618221264
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,577,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this engaging tale of modern-day homesteading, New York food writer Bone follows her husband's dream to Crawford, Colo., where they purchase and fix up a 45-acre ranch complete with 1880s cabin. There, she makes his Western dream her own. Bone chronicles her summer of culinary pioneering in a warm, chatty voice, always with a sense of humor about herself. With graceful prose, she details her gourmet adventures. She braves bee stings to pick zucchini flowers, then fries her harvest in beer batter, with a cilantro mayonnaise for dipping. She acquires a 20-gauge shotgun, hunts pheasants and bakes them with cream, horseradish and brandy. With elk she buys from a local rancher, she makes elk tenderloin with wild porcinis. Bone goes mushrooming, grows too many zucchinis and peppers and buys illegal unpasteurized goat cheese. By summer's end, she no longer yearns for multiplexes and lunch dates, has mastered the "cool wave" from the steering wheel and has learned to live in the moment. A wild food advocate and critic of industrialized agriculture, Bone exhorts readers to eat seasonally, suggesting 103 summer Italian- and Mexican-inspired recipes. From Zucchini Flowers Stuffed with Smoked Trout to Chukar (a wild partridge) with Figs, the recipes rely on local ingredients Bone has in abundance. Though she does suggest alternative ingredients, some recipes feel too aspirational for even ambitious city or suburban dwellers. Others, like the Vegetable and Ricotta Terrine and the "sweet and piquant" Lamb Stew should tempt any cook with a good butcher or greengrocer.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

EUGENIA BONE writes for many national magazines and newspapers, including Saveur, Food & Wine, Gourmet, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, and the New York Times. Her Web site,, is devoted to seasonal culinary arts.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
The book is a fun and informative read.
The view on the cover is the one I woke up to every morning of my youth.
C. S. DeMore
We've all heard that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
L. Cumberland

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By L. Cumberland on December 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. Lately I've become intrigued by all kinds of regional American cooking, which is what drew me to this book in the first place. But what I found in these pages was so much more effecting and profound...

The first section, the memoir, reads like a sort of fish-out-of-water coming-of-age tale about the author's reluctant (at first) immersion into this part of the world, and her gradual embrace of it. I found it sometimes haunting, sometimes hilarious, and always very engrossing. And tender -- yes, there's some fun poked at the locals, but it's usually the locals themselves wielding the stick as far as I could tell, and no one gets poked more often than the author. She's the one who is transformed by these encounters; she's the one who "comes of age".

Then there are the recipes, which seem to have been either informed or inspired or enhanced by the experiences described in the first section, which is a great way to approach a recipe in general, I think -- as a sort of companion piece to one life experience or another. Like listening to the soundtrack CD of a movie you loved. You definitely get the feeling these recipes could stand on their own -- they make that intuitive kind of sense on the page, and the ones that I have tried so far have been pretty sublime. But reading the memoir just made them that much tastier.

Taken as a whole, the book is really about how a love of food, and the pursuit of good, real food, offers a doorway into all kinds of magical places that would otherwise remain shut tight. We've all heard that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on July 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
After taking my wife and 18-month-old baby for a long month to sweltering France last summer, I resolved to do better by them this year. And so, before the first snow had fallen, we drove out to the posh resort town of Southampton, New York, to rent a modest cottage with the promise of an ocean breeze. Right off, we found a simple little house with a bonus: a rear deck designed by an extremely tasteful architect named Kevin Bone.

It turns out that, several decades ago, I had met --- and not repulsed --- the architect's wife. After we struck a real estate deal, we struck up an e-mail friendship. Only then did I learn that she would be publishing her first book. So I had the odd experience of reading Eugenia Bone's AT MESA'S EDGE: Cooking and Ranching in Colorado's North Fork Valley, in the house that she and her family abandons each summer. Confession: The Bone ranch sounds so beautiful and Eugenia's recipes are so enticing that, Hamptons be damned, I'd rather be on her porch in Colorado.

Eugenia Bone may be the Peter Mayle of the American West, but she sure didn't start out with much enthusiasm for Colorado. Her husband came home from a fishing trip and said he'd found a 45-acre ranch. She understood why: "There was an empty place in him that was not being filled." And so she signed the mortgage papers "the same way I would sign a release for Kevin to have necessary surgery; it had to be done."

Of course the place was a wreck. And Eugenia, a New York City-based food writer, was not a great candidate for assimilation. But as she comes to learn, the hard work of restoring the ranch is balanced by simple pleasures not available in Manhattan. The postmaster divides her mail into two piles: "important" and "not.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lucky17 on August 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
At Mesa's Edge is a wonderful book for people who love the West and who also love cooking and good food. The Author describes the land and the residents beautifully and respectfully. She has a clear understanding of the region...from water rights to wildlife to the quality of the harvest to cattle ranching. There is nothing pretentious or self-serving in the author's description of her many "adjustments" to life on a Colorado ranch. Her description of restoring the run-down property are both amusing and amazing. The book is a fun and informative read.

I grew up on the Western Slope of Colorado, know the area well, still visit family there, and remember with great nostaligia the bounty that the wondrous land produces. I highly recommend At Mesa's Edge. I am looking forward to preparing the many interesting recipes.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By KH1 VINE VOICE on May 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am really enjoying this cookbook. I have to be honest, though, I've only skimmed over the memoir section. Having read enough similar memoirs of urbanites moving to the country, it wasn't anything too remarkable. I do admire Ms. Bone's grit, though, and her recipes are great.

With that said, there are an overwhelming number of recipes featuring cilantro. And lime. This seems out of place, since, as a previous reviewer noted, this book is being promoted by slow-foodies. Slow food doesn't necessarily mean that if you live in Colorado, you can't cook with cilantro or lime, but I'm pretty sure that neither of these ingredients are native to Colorado, (I could be wrong. I've not researched this thoroughly.) the combination reminiscent of Mexican and South-East Asian Cooking, and I feel that the frequency of use of these ingredients is at odds with a philosophy that emphasizes local produce. With that said, the recipes are great. She provides many delicious recipes for things like stuffed chile peppers and zucchini flowers which were delicious. There are also some very interesting Italian-inspired preparations of ingredients that Ms. Bone finds available near her ranch. I think that this would be a good addition to any cookbook collection.
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More About the Author

I have been writing about food for twenty years. My first book, At Mesa's Edge, was nominated for a Colorado Book Award. My second book, Italian Family Dining, was written with my father, artist and cookbook author Edward Giobbi. My third, Well Preserved, was nominated for a James Beard Award. My fourth book, Mycophilia, is about mycology. It might seem incongruous, but in fact, recipe writing and science writing are not totally dissimilar: both require very precise thinking and evocative language. It took me years to understand the science (I was not a biology major, not by a long shot) and to navigate the erudite and eccentric community of professional and amateur mycologists, but producing Mycophilia has been the most profound writing experience of my career. Mushrooms turned out to be the window by which I came to understand nature in a deeper way. For mushroom recipes, links to mushroom clubs, and more, go to My current book is The Kitchen Ecosystem, a cookbook that reimagines traditional home cooking for the 21st century. Organized by primary ingredient, from Apples to Zucchini, there are recipes to eat some fresh, preserve some, use the preserves, and use the scraps--the stuff you usually throw away--to bump up the flavor of future meals. All the preserving recipes are small batch, to be prepared while you are hanging around the kitchen cooking dinner anyway. It's the integrative approach to cooking.