Five things I’ve learned from Tom Douglas


November 12, 2012 by admin

Well, maybe he wasn’t speaking just to me, but it kind of felt that way when I went to a Macy’s Culinary Council Tom Douglas event the other night even though the room was full of at least 100+ other ladies. That’s how smooth he is-no wonder he makes such amazing food!  But I didn’t go to chat up Tom, I went to hear him talk about his new cookbook: the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook, because this bakery is very very loved in our house. My husband often stops there after work to pick up a loaf of the potato bread and if the boys and I are lucky, he picks us up a magical dessert too.  So even though Mr Tom Douglas might not know us, he’s a big part of our family meals, which made what he had to say even more important.

And wouldn’t you know, he’s definitely wise.  Here’s what I learned from the Seattle god of food:

1) It’s okay to drink out of a measuring cup while you’re cooking.  I saw him do it.  And if he can do it, so can I.

2) I’ve been passed down a legacy of recipes and it’s my responsibility to share them.  I’ve always been a go-out-to-eat type of person, but Tom Douglas telling me that I’ve inherited a recipe box and that it’s my duty to share these recipes made me really think.  I do owe it to my kids to share the foods my husband and I grew up with and my kids need to see me taking the time to makes these foods so that they appreciate and value their history.

3) And while I love to cook with my guys, I learned never to let my boys make Shnecken.  I had to google this one as Tom started talking about it because the idea of Tom Douglas making Schnecken with his grandma as a young boy and how it felt so amazing made me think I should start making Schnecken too.  And then he likened the feeling of the dough to, well, the feeling of a woman’s breasts and then I no longer thought it would be appropriate to make Schnecken with my boys. (But FYI the recipe IS in the Dahlia Cookbook and it looks amazing.)

4)  “Why insult a dead turkey that gave it’s life for you with stale bread?  For goodness sake get fresh bread and toast it for your stuffing.”  When you put it that way, you should definitely scratch number 3 off this list.  I wonder if he would ever use stale bread?  Or maybe if all his bread is like his potato bread, it just never goes stale, it just disappears.

5) I want a farm.  I knew Tom Douglas had restaurants (I think he has 12 and we’ve eaten at about 10 of them and they’re all yum), but I never realized he had a farm. But I guess if people in Seattle raise chickens and goats in the city, of course Tom Douglas has to go and get some fabulous farm to show us all how it’s really done.  I do hope he does farm tours there one day.

And I also learned about cooking too, don’t get me wrong.  We learned how to make a coffee-bean stuffed turkey, an amazing grilled cheese sandwich with broccoli rabe and fontina (he puts a pot on top to make it squish down and I have now started to do that too), and a flaky pear tart with oh so dreamy caramel sauce.  And yes, we got to sample them too.  I think the pear tart is the first thing I’m going to make out of the cookbook because I’ve always wanted to make puff pastry.  And I’ll probably burn my fingers somehow and have to go to the ER because he joked about touching the caramel to test if it’s ready and I laughed like I knew it was a joke, but there was a part of me that thought, okay, if he didn’t tell me, I might have done that.  See?  Wisdom and a cooking class.  Definitely worth it.

(PS. I bought the book but got not pics with my food hero.  Yes, I’m shy like that, sometimes.  I barely coughed out that I like his restaurants before I turned beet red and ran away.

And PPS. I received compensation for this post by the Everywhere Society but these views are all mine, just like the book that I bought myself because it looked amazing and I wanted it immediately.

And one more thing: this guy definitely has a heart.  If you’re free on November 20th, this event he’s organizing looks amazing and all proceeds go to the American Red Cross to help out with New York.)


  1. Danielle says:

    I love that you want a farm too–I have these dreams of a goat for fresh chèvre, 3 pretty little egg chickens, and a little veggie garden here in the city. *le sigh* Tom can definitely make you crave the bucolic life!

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