Paula Panich

New Book: The Cook, the Landlord, the Countess and Her Lover

My newest book, The Cook, The Landlord, the Countess and Her Lover, published by Tryphon Press is now available. 

Things of this world can be proved, and proved again. That’s what you count on when you make your grandmother’s chicken soup. Why read this book? It depends on how hungry you are — for history, folklore, places, and most of all, for love.


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The Beautiful Young Country — Within Reach at Last

In 1873, this powerful painting by Alfred Bierstadt, “Donner Lake from the Summit,” was unveiled to public acclaim in San Francisco. Here’s my essay, for the Foundation for Landscape Studies, telling the tale of how this painting came to be.

Three Elizabeths, One George, Hot Cross Buns — and Hampstead Heath


My two years living in London changed everything. This was before you could listen to the BBC on NPR or online. The BBC plus the British Library plus the Hampstead Heath plus all the Nineteenth Century novels I hadn’t read — well, opened up my mind and heart. This essay came out of that time, and lives within me yet.

Here is a link to my essay, “Three Elizabeths,” which appeared in Alimentum in April:

My Year of Submissions to Literary Magazines

Fueled by frustration and a manuscript of unpublished culinary essays with recipes, I spent two years writing letters to agents.


Only one wrote back with regrets: She hadn’t heard of M.F.K. Fisher.

Fit to be tied, I swore I’d never write again. Then I thought: The literary magazines! Why not make a game of getting published?

Please visit Diane Jacob’s blog “Will Write for Food” to read the rest and the inspired conversation with fellow literary writers.

M.F.K. Fisher’s Home Ground: Living and Loving the California Landscape

A Recent Talk to the Piedmont, Calif. Garden Club:

My husband said just as we were seated in a restaurant: I heard someone on NPR talking about M.F.K Fisher.

He had that slightly surprised look he gets when there’s news from my world that didn’t come from me.

Yes – he said – the guy mentioned something about a picnic, and something she ate she would never forget. I can’t remember what it was.

A pie, I said. A peach pie.

He looked at me, and ordered his tuna steak, rare.

How – and why – did I know about that peach pie?

What is my 36-year connection to MFK Fisher?

And how did the California landscape affect her life and work?

This is the subject of my one-hour talk.

Here’s what some people had to say about it:

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Essay: A Map of the Heart 

A bitter wind had blown somewhere else that morning, and sun bounced off remnant glaciers hanging in the valleys across Kachemak Bay.

We could see water, green forest, the white backbones of mountains, sharp cliffs, glittering ice, bright snow, autumn’s butterscotch spread across rolling hills, pristine clouds, and a robin’s-egg-blue sky from the ridge above Homer, Alaska, where we were staying. This was on the Kenai Peninsula, where the bay flows into Cook Inlet, which itself reaches 150 miles to Anchorage.

Read more at Pacific Horticulture