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My motto: Simple. Sophisticated. Local. Seasonal.

My Cooking Story

My story starts when parents found three-year-old me downstairs one predawn morning, sitting on the kitchen countertop next to the stove, with a cracked egg that almost made it into the pan. I wanted to cook.

Four years later, a local utility sponsored a summer cooking TV show for kids. I sent away for their kids cookbook, and followed along with Gretchen and Rhonda on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. My friends went in from playing at 3:30 to watch Dark Shadows-- I went inside to learn to cook.

The very first humble dinner I prepared for my family at age seven was a recipe from that first little cookbook-- Pickle in a Poke Steak. "Oh, Pammy," my dad said. "This is good!" I was hooked for life. I have always wanted to be in the kitchen, working with food.

More than five decades of dedicated study, experimentation, trial and error, flops, successes, and culinary memory-making are under my belt. In respect to beautiful ingredients, my medium as a cook, I apply a low-intervention approach to let them shine.

At the moment, the works of fellow Pacific Northwesterners and James Beard winners John Sundstrom and Joshua McFadden have my attention. I've adopted Sundstrom's three-season approach, and McFadden's six-season concept on PNW ingredients is also inspiring. However, it is not famous chefs I idolize but everyday people who feed themselves and their beloveds with care, compassion, and a wee bit of fuss. People who carve the time and resources out to create memorable experiences through well prepared food, delivered with massive doses of love. People like you!

I come from a long line of craftspeople and bring that idealism to cooking. It should be done with the best ingredients you can afford and access; it should be made with great care, heart, and soul; something uniquely you should be left in the dishes you make.

From 2009 to 2012 I blogged as Sticks Forks Fingers.

My favorite foods are raspberries warm from the vine, baguette and butter, food served in bowls, and unassuming cakes. I'm certain that heaven smells just like Pinot Noir. There is nothing I cherish more than having people gathered around a table, eating, laughing, sharing life.

Here's to life, love, food and wine!
~ Pam Spettel


Why 101-miles?
101-miles is a metaphor for sourcing ingredients as close to home as possible. By using local products we keep friends and neighbors in business, lower our environmental impact, and we are ensured of using the freshest, ripest, highest-quality ingredients possible. The one extra mile added to a 100-mile radius? That is there to make room for things that don't come from your area. Who could possibly live without coffee, tea, spices, sugar, or French wine?

What's your cooking philosophy?
First, learn the science and the art will follow. Experiment. Stand back and let the ingredients shine. Most recipes are just guidelines, so be confident to make changes to a recipe to make it your own.

How can we work together?
I value collaboration and promoting organizations, people, and products I believe in. For partnership opportunities, please reach out at pam@101milekitchen.com.

page from a child's cookbook
Pickle in a Poke Steak recipe, from my first cookbook. The beginning of my story!

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Photo of 101-Mile Kitchen blog owner.

You’re in the right place!  I’m Pam Spettel, home cooking expert and guide, and I’m here to show you how to break up with cooking and hospitality anxiety, learn how to use recipes as guides rather than strict rules, and let your cooking intuition and confidence soar.

Superpower: Dreaming up recipes that work, serving them to my friends and family, and writing little stories about how cooking them well is the same as loving well.

Inspiration: Ingredients! The fresh, colorful, fragrant, local, seasonal ingredients found in the Pacific Northwest are my creative medium.

Heroes: Local food and wine producers– the people who keep me, my family, and our community nourished and happy.

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