September 29, 2023

Amy Theilen author of “Company, The Radically Casual Art of Cooking For Others”

Welcome back to another exciting episode of “Makers of Minnesota”! In today’s episode, the incredible Amy Theilen is joining us to discuss her latest book, “Company: The Radically Casual Art of Cooking for Others.” Amy takes us on a journey through her writing process, sharing how the book evolved during the pandemic and the mixed emotions she experienced. Amy reveals her secrets to creating a relaxed and enjoyable gathering with delicious recipes and menu ideas. Plus, we’ll explore the unexpected twists and turns of Amy’s career, from fine dining line cook to making a name for herself in the culinary world on TV and becoming the author we know today. Get ready to be inspired, entertained, and hungry as we delve into the fascinating world of Amy Theilen on this “Makers of Minnesota” episode!


Stephanie [00:00:15]:

Hello everybody, and welcome to Dishing with Stephanie’s Dish, the podcast where we talk to cookbook writers, primarily and people in the food space. And I have been a fan of Amy Thelen’s writing since the Midwest Kitchen cookbook. That’s what it’s called. Right, Amy?

Amy Theilen [00:00:34]:

New Midwestern Table.

Stephanie [00:00:35]:

Okay. I’m totally drawing a blank.

Amy Theilen [00:00:38]:

Close enough. Really. I mean, I get you.

Stephanie [00:00:40]:

It is, it was one of my first introductions to you. And I I picked up the cookbook right away, and then I was so us and excited that you were a Minnesota person.

Amy Theilen [00:00:52]:


Stephanie [00:00:53]:

And then you that was in 2013. And then you had the memoir in 2017, which was a girl and her knife.

Amy Theilen [00:01:03]:

Give a girl a knife. Also, why am I doing this? Close enough. It’s okay. I like that you did it twice. It’s

Stephanie [00:01:08]:

— I’ve done it twice. And now, okay, 2022. You have company. And I hope you get that one right because I’m actually holding the book.

Amy Theilen [00:01:17]:

It’s an easier title, to be fair.

Stephanie [00:01:19]:

Well, and the book is kind of a cool shape. It’s kind of like a different feeling cookbooky shape, so I like that.

Amy Theilen [00:01:28]:

I mean, because it’s a little bit larger and more square.

Stephanie [00:01:31]:

Yeah. It feels a little bit different, and I liked it. And I noticed right away, just when I held it, I was like, oh, I like this new size. It also has a beautiful cover.

Amy Theilen [00:01:45]:

Thank you. It does.

Stephanie [00:01:48]:

So one of the things I noticed right away when I started looking through the book is the timing because you I mean, I’m a little geeked out because you’re one of my favorite actual cookbook writers. And, also, the memoir that you wrote was so beautiful, and I I really felt intrigued by your story and also pulled in about, like, being in New York and thinking you’re having, like, this food life and then being called back to the Midwest and sort of reshuffling your priorities about maybe what you thought was what you wanted wasn’t what you ended up wanting because I think that happens to people.

Amy Theilen [00:02:30]:

It does. I mean, I never really expected myself to go back. In fact, the only thing I wanted was to leave town when I was seventeen. So I never saw that that Boomeraine effect coming, but it did. And it’s been good. You know, this is where I saw him back, like, outside of my hometown, which was small and couldn’t I couldn’t wait to get out of it. But, This is where I can grow stuff, and it’s good for my cooking.

Stephanie [00:03:00]:

And your cooking, I feel like, as is evolved or is evolving,

Amy Theilen [00:03:05]:

I wanna hear you. Yeah. I’m curious.

Stephanie [00:03:07]:

Well, from your first book, and maybe okay. Your first book felt very, like, midwestern, but also kind of home cookie. Like, I felt like I could do the recipes and they weren’t super hard. And this book feels a little more, like, you’re leaning more into your chef skills. And then you’re taking a little more risk on some of the recipes, there were a few things that I thought were kinda surprising, that I’ll tell you about as we go, but Yeah. Just a little more still rustic and still easy and fitting with the theme of that. You don’t have to wait for, like, a giant fancy dinner party to have company over, but also the recipes were they had unexpected twists.

Amy Theilen [00:03:55]:

That’s great to hear. I I like that. I mean, I think the degree of difficulty here because there’s a menu cookbook. So In a in a certain menu, you’re gonna have one thing that you spend more time on, and then you’re gonna have some, like, easy bangers, like, that just kinda you know, vegetable sides that are super simple, just like boiled and buttered and garlicy, butter green beans and things like that. So I really did try to mix it up, but I think You know, after a certain amount of time as a cookbook author, I get a lot of feedback, you know, and I start to First of all, I wanna do what interests me. And secondly, I am responding a bit to people who follow me. You know what I mean? And I have a real range, but I oh, I have a lot of people who I have to assume that my readers know something. You know? I have some really, really good cooks who follow me. And I’m, you know, I’m lucky. I’m grateful for that. Some of those recipes are, you know, with those people in mind. And then others are, like, really a lot more, you know, elementary and, like, this is how you make a menu. This is how you, you know, boils this. This is, you know, like, kind of basic stuff too. So, I’m hoping that it, like, it has this, like, wide range of people who find something in it.

Stephanie [00:05:18]:

You might be the only person that could get me inspired to try strudel.

Amy Theilen [00:05:24]:

That’s true to recipes. Great. I’m I want I want you to try it, and then I want you I want your feedback on that. I worked on that recipe for the dough for years. Like, you really

Stephanie [00:05:37]:

Well, and your books are roughly about 4 to 5 years apart. As I look back, is that was that intentional, or is that how long it takes you as a creative person to kind of birth it?

Amy Theilen [00:05:51]:

Well, this one took a little longer than it should have. But the first two books, let’s see, first one was 13, 2013, and then 2000 17. So that’s 4 years. I would say 3 years is probably I would really wish I could do every 3 years more.

Stephanie [00:06:07]:

3 or

Amy Theilen [00:06:08]:

4 But this one took almost 6, probably, because of the pandemic, mostly. And then there was a delay at the very end 6 months that pushed it out another, you know, ultimately almost like a year. Yeah. Yeah. So so I mean, I don’t wanna be this slow, but let’s be honest. I am. I’m slow.

Stephanie [00:06:30]:

Even just his life too. You know, you’re you’re doing your life.

Amy Theilen [00:06:35]:

Yeah. He is. You know, we’ve been driving him to a school, which is a kinda far away. And so it was 2 hours in the car every day, and I’m, yeah, I’m just kinda pokey.

Stephanie [00:06:46]:

Okay. So you drive your kid 2 hours to school.

Amy Theilen [00:06:49]:

Well, now he’s driving this year. So there’s less of that. But, yes, I have been for years. Mhmm.

Stephanie [00:06:55]:

Just because it’s a better opportunity and a better school for him,

Amy Theilen [00:06:59]:

Yeah. You know, like, the closest school to us, we are kinda out there. So the closest school is half an hour.

Stephanie [00:07:05]:


Amy Theilen [00:07:06]:

So Then it was like, we wanted to get him into a different school, and then that’s almost an hour away. So, I mean, the bus, we wouldn’t even, like, put him on the bus because it would the buses are slow, and it would take even longer. It’s just like, oh, you know, no matter what, it’s a lot of driving. That’s all.

Stephanie [00:07:23]:

I love it, though. Sometimes driving is cathartic. Do you listen to podcasts, or do you listen to books, or do you just drive and listen to music?

Amy Theilen [00:07:30]:

All of the above and talk to friends mostly.

Stephanie [00:07:34]:

That’s what I do too. I talk on the phone in the car. It’s my favorite thing to do.

Amy Theilen [00:07:38]:

I used to call. I was like, it was like, 8:30. There’s Amy. I’m like, who are my friends that I can sit and gab with at this hour?

Stephanie [00:07:44]:

At 8:30. Yeah. I used to call my mom and then she got sick and sadly, she died. And I still every time I get in the car and I have, like, extra time, I think about, like, oh, who can I call? And, like, I still wanna call her even after all this time. Yeah. It was kind of a good time.

Amy Theilen [00:08:04]:

No. I talk to my mom a lot too.

Stephanie [00:08:07]:

When I look at your book, there are some, so the the strudel rest is one that, like I said, I felt like it looked like challenging, but I felt like maybe I could do it because you talked about how you kept doing it. It was kind of cathartic for you.

Amy Theilen [00:08:23]:

It felt like meditation is something what I said because, you know, in the winter, it’s like, do I do this huge to do list, or do I just kinda, like, throw it all off and just, like, pull strudel.

Stephanie [00:08:36]:

I like it.

Amy Theilen [00:08:38]:

It gets fun.

Stephanie [00:08:39]:

You have a recipe that I can’t believe I haven’t seen it before because it makes total sense. The deviled eggs that you turn into, like, a dip Yeah. Yeah. I that is brilliant. And I was like, looking at it, and everyone can, like, when I talk about, like, on the Instagram, like, this was kind of a rewipped Ricotta thing, and then there was, like, the whipped yogurt thing, and then there was the hummus. And Yeah. There’s been

Amy Theilen [00:09:08]:

a trend for, like, those soft, you know, a puree on a small platter and then garnishes.

Stephanie [00:09:13]:

Yeah. And you did that with doubled eggs, which is so brilliant. How did you think of it? Gosh.

Amy Theilen [00:09:19]:

I don’t even know how I thought of it, but I think I was, like, blitzing up some egg yolks for something. That I wanted, like, a soft, fluffy egg yolk texture. And then I just went too far, and it just got all smooth. And I was like, oh, that looks like hummus. And then I just I thought, well, what am I gonna do with this? So I just, like, added more back into it and, like, seasoned it up. And I’m like, this is good. And then I put it out for an appetizer, And I remember it was, I think, my sister-in-law, she was there for that one for the first time. And she’s like, oh my gosh. What is this? This is incredible. Yeah. Ate so much hummus. And I’m like, it’s not hummus. It’s deviled egg dip. You know? But it looks kind of like hummus, but it It’s it’s really delicious. Yeah.

Stephanie [00:10:04]:

Yeah. I’m looking forward to making that. I donated a cocktail party for 10 for a charity. And it’s coming up, and you know, I said, okay, does anybody have like any allergies? And I have a nut allergy, a dairy allergy, and a gluten allergy. I’m like, wow, with ten people, I really hit the trifecta here. So I was thinking maybe I would try something with the deviled egg dip. And also you have an appetizer for a caspinary shrimp. That has the green olives.

Amy Theilen [00:10:34]:

Yeah. Yeah. That should yeah. There’s no nuts in that. Yeah. I got some mathematically. Some of these, you know, sometimes you cook for people and it’s just mathematically difficult. You know? It’s like, I mean, that’s why that’s why the menu, you know, you, like, add more side dishes than people if there’s enough to choose from. You know? People can kinda

Stephanie [00:10:56]:

call me. Also, I was looking and you did you take all your pictures or who took your pictures? Because they’re awesome.

Amy Theilen [00:11:04]:

No. I don’t take those pictures. No. My pictures are amazing. It’s they’re they’re by Kristin Tig who, is a photographer that my editor at Norton — paired me with sort of, and, oh, I just loved her. She’s just she takes so many risks creatively, and it’s just up for anything. And, Oh my gosh. Just the nicest person. So humble. So talented and humble.

Stephanie [00:11:26]:

Do you shoot, like, I’ve seen and read about how cookbook authors shoot with a professional photographer, you know, where it’s like, you schedule a shoot and you make a bunch of stuff, and then you get the lifestyle scenes. Do you do that all in one swoop?

Amy Theilen [00:11:41]:

No. And in the 2 cookbooks I’ve done, and we’ve done it the same way, we’ve done really 2 or 3 shoots, so that you can capture all the different seasonality.

Stephanie [00:11:51]:


Amy Theilen [00:11:51]:

You know? Because I want people to comment like that 1st week of August so we can get tomatoes, eggplant, beautiful zucchini, in Minnesota, another Minnesota, we can still have peas. If I plant them right beans, you know, all this stuff is like, so beautiful, and you can’t get that from the grocery store and get the same effect. And then we always do a winter shoot too, so you capture that cozy feeling and all the snow and squash and all that stuff.

Stephanie [00:12:16]:

Yeah. And you’ve got, a lot of pictures of people too and, like, action doing things. With your real parties.

Amy Theilen [00:12:25]:

Real parties that, you know, my real friends came to and thank god they’re good sports. I mean,

Stephanie [00:12:35]:

yeah, they look like they’re good sports. You’ve got the tomato pie, raspberry, or a rhubarb pie. One of the things that I wanted to ask you, that’s kind of a strange question, but you use bacon fat to, roast cauliflower. How do you store your bacon fat? Like, do you store it underneath the counter in a coffee can like our moms did? Or, I mean, is that

Amy Theilen [00:13:00]:

I I don’t put it under the sink in a cup. Yeah. I’ve never understood that. Why? Why? I don’t know. I keep it on the counter. I pour the bacon fat into little ramekins. You know? And then, I mean, I just use it enough. And if I feel like, you know, it keeps at room temperature, but I will sometimes put it in the fridge. And lately, my spoiled dog I have been, you know, scraping up the bacon fat. I give it to her because she likes a little bit of bacon and fat on her kibble.

Stephanie [00:13:31]:

I give that to my dog too. It’s good for them.

Amy Theilen [00:13:34]:

I know. I’m like, I should be saving this, but I love you so much. Here you go.

Stephanie [00:13:38]:

Yeah, exactly. Can we talk? You had one of the first, I guess in my mind, I felt like it was one of the first shows on food network that felt less produced and, like, real, then that’s kind of more of a trend now or has been as of late where you really are in someone’s real kitchen. And I know that there’s obviously production values, but Did you enjoy that experience and would you do that again if the opportunity arose?

Amy Theilen [00:14:09]:

Yeah. I mean, I sort of enjoy the — experience. I, you know, I when I think back on it, it’s kind of a blur. It came on so quick. I mean, it just, like, it happened. You know? I’m not somebody who spent all of these years trying to, like, do my platform and try to get on TV. In fact, I I didn’t. It wasn’t even my idea. It was random house’s idea. And my, you know, there was a, Peter Gathers is my producer there, and he you know, saw my book, and it’s just like, this is what we wanna do. So by the time that he approached me with it, it was already, like, I’m producing it. Lydia Bastiano is just producing it. We’re kinda coming to your house. What do you think? And, I mean, there’s nothing left to do, but say yes at that point. Right?

Stephanie [00:14:52]:

Of course.

Amy Theilen [00:14:53]:

And it was it was a blast. It was super fun. I enjoyed it. It it definitely is a blur, though. I don’t know if I remember It was it was hectic. And it was hard. It was odd to walk around my small town. The town I grew up in and to be on TV.

Stephanie [00:15:11]:

Yeah. I’m sure.

Amy Theilen [00:15:13]:

You know? I’m sure. What I loved though about that was that, like, all of these people who I sort of didn’t really know, but I knew, they all had to make eye contact with me. And At first, I was, like, really weirded out by it. You know? I’m like, but then I was just like, oh, they just want that, you know, like, like, I see you, you see me. This is real life. This is not the box. And so then I was just like, hi. You know? Oh, yeah. Mister Larson. Gotcha. You know? You know, I’ve got you. Got you. Got you. You know, just gotta learn. And and then it was just that was all they needed. You know? And and it was really comfortable because people are just like, oh, look at her. She’s not wearing makeup. She’s like, walking around and slap pants. You know?

Stephanie [00:15:59]:

Was, was Lydia on set at all? Cause, I mean, I would think as someone who, I mean, she’s like the granddome of Italian cooking. How intimidating?

Amy Theilen [00:16:09]:

Lydia Bosiana is lovely, and she was an incredible producer. You know, she’s just like, she came the 1st day, and she There she is. And she’s like, you, just do, you teach. Just do what you do. Don’t even think about it. And I have to I was in you know, we’d turned my laundry room into, like, kind of my dressing room, and the guy was doing my makeup in there, and And the first thing she said to me is this kinda crazy, but the first thing she said to me is she goes, oh, because I was, like, trying to adjust my blouse. And I was, like, trying to keep it closed because it was kinda popping open. And she’s like, this is good. You got the meatballs. Which she meant, you know, got boobs. You got boobs. You got people. That’s what yeah. You got it.

Stephanie [00:16:53]:

That was that one, maybe hilarious.

Amy Theilen [00:16:55]:

That was a good icebreaker. I thought I had to laugh.

Stephanie [00:16:57]:

Yeah. I think about that with clothes when I do TV stuff because I have had that experience where that button is gaping open. And you can see, like, flash and it’s very awkward and weird for everyone. And then I’m like, okay. And there’s Tiara, like, always looking like a million bucks in her very tight, fitted shirts.

Amy Theilen [00:17:17]:

Well, and she always wears the same shirt because that doesn’t keep open. You notice, you know, and that’s what you learn after, like, a decade of being on TV or even after a year, you you learn how to dress yourself for, you know, all those kind of weird things. And, like, you know, your aprons not, like, caught up on one side of you. And, like, you know, it’s just there are little things that, I mean, it kinda drives you nuts. I’m actually wearing it. — be doing that right now, you know, that part of it. I I didn’t love like that, like being a woman on TV. You know what I mean? That I don’t know. It was and comfortable in that sense. You know?

Stephanie [00:17:56]:

I’m wearing, I have figured out a shirt that I can wear underneath an apron. I’ve bought it in seven colors. That’s all I’m gonna do, and I’m just gonna wear the same shirt. I’m like, if that’s what Giana does, that’s what Ina Garten does. Like, she just versus her white shirt usually or a blue shirt?

Amy Theilen [00:18:14]:

Yeah. And that’s why. Yeah.

Stephanie [00:18:16]:

Yeah. I’m gonna do the same thing. So, when you first saw your galley, like, your this book put together, what does that feel like for you?

Amy Theilen [00:18:30]:

Well, this book company, I mean, it it was very hard one. It took me a long time to do to write this book. So I was relieved. You know, I was really happy to see it actually informed. The book changed a lot as I was writing it. In in the pandemic, I wrote a lot of it during the pandemic. So I’m writing about having people over when ironically we cannot have anybody over. Yeah. It changed the book, you know, because it made, it made things it gave things more weight. It gave everything I was writing about more weights. And I found myself getting kind of emotional and then, like, pulling back and then, you know, going for it. And then, you know, it was It was, yeah, it was emotional.

Stephanie [00:19:15]:

It’s funny because I feel that. And I —

Amy Theilen [00:19:18]:

Yeah. Yeah. Because — Not too much, hopefully.

Stephanie [00:19:21]:

No. In a way that feels very personal to you. And in a way that I was appreciating about you and about it because I think that the first book that you had before the memoir was sort of, like, easy, breezy, midwesterny. But then memoir, we learned so much more about you, and you were a more complex person. And not just this TV cooking lady face. So all of that kinda came together for me actually in this book, And maybe that’s what I meant when I was like, it’s not as it’s more in-depth. It’s not as easy as the first one. It is more like you really are in your real life, I think.

Amy Theilen [00:20:08]:

Yeah. Like, you know, that you have to know that that first book that I did was kind of like a project. Was like, I was gonna write this anthology of, like, midwestern food and, you know, put all my twists and spins on it after being a, you know, fine dining line cook and all that stuff. So that was kind of more of a I didn’t even really see myself in that book. You know? But I was trying to I was trying to keep myself out of it. Like, I’m like, pipe down with all these personal stories, man. It’s not about you. But then it was like, it just the TV thing happened and all of that kinda grew. So there are personal stories in that book. And then, of course, the memoir is, like, changing lanes, you’re really writing about yourself. And but I was trying to do more like a you know, the arc and the narrative arc of, like, almost like a literary memoir, where

Stephanie [00:20:57]:

— It felt like Ruth Ryals.

Amy Theilen [00:20:59]:

Thank you. Yeah.

Stephanie [00:21:00]:

I mean, it really did.

Amy Theilen [00:21:01]:

Every voice is different. You know? Every voice is me. But with every book, the voice is slightly different. And this book, the latest my joke is that this is my crabby grandma voice. It’s not crabby, but there’s a lot of, like, oh, don’t do that. Done that. Don’t make that mistake. I’ve don’t make my mistakes. You know, like, there’s a lot of talking about cooking. And, you know, just a lot of explanation about visual cues and, like, sound cues and instead of what I’ve realized is that, you know, recipes, I’d like to dial them in. So they’re, you know, as tight as they can be, but they’re, by nature, imprecise because all the ingredients are natural. So there is natural variance. Right? Yeah. And so I’ve found that the way for people to have the most success is if I’m going to explain and talk about it’s not about how many minutes you’re roasting it. It’s what it looks like.

Stephanie [00:22:03]:

Yeah. And you do do that. You talk about, like, this is how it should look, or if it looks like this, give it more time. I think that’s why I felt like I could do the streusel or strudel because —

Amy Theilen [00:22:14]:

You can. You can.

Stephanie [00:22:16]:

Oh, okay. I think I don’t know. I just read the whole story, and I was like, oh, I think I actually could do this. It’s gonna be great.

Amy Theilen [00:22:25]:

It’s beautiful. Yeah. I’m gonna do it. It’s the pasty Stuquercy, actually. So it’s It’s, a strudel, but it’s based on a French regional dessert, and it’s coiled, it’s filled with, like, there’s not a lot of filling. It’s mostly pastry. Little bit of filling of, like, booze soaked apples, and they’re macerated in, you know, and then then you roll it up into a big coil and you coil it. You know, almost like a traditional Greek spanical, but, you know, like — That’s

Stephanie [00:22:55]:

what it looks like on the tap. Yeah.

Amy Theilen [00:22:57]:

Yeah. And then you bake it until it’s like All the layers are very crisp inside. And then when you slice it, it’s just it’s it’s beautiful.

Stephanie [00:23:05]:

You have a whole Thanksgiving menu too that felt really midwestern, but not, which I liked because it had twists on things that I hadn’t really seen in a Thanksgiving preview before. What what

Amy Theilen [00:23:19]:

stood out to you there?

Stephanie [00:23:21]:

The appetizer, and I can’t even it was something I had not heard of before. Not a it was the livers. Hold on. I’ll find it. And then you also have to remember. I just went past your, Thealen family Christmas. I thought that was sweet too.

Amy Theilen [00:23:42]:

No. Thank you.

Stephanie [00:23:43]:

Amy, I’m afraid to write about my family Christmases because I think if I do, I’ll just be like, oh my god. They were so dysfunctional because my family were, like, Jamie Lee Curtis and the bear. It’s, you know, these, like, total disasters.

Amy Theilen [00:23:59]:

I don’t I haven’t gotten to season 2 yet. I don’t know. Oh. But, you know, if you read the Christmas part, It’s I’m talking about my parents divorce. So it’s not like I’m making it all sweet, even though it ends up being kinda sweet. It’s just about the traditions that we each took away and how those developed. You know?

Stephanie [00:24:23]:

Okay. It was the pate Grand Mirror.

Amy Theilen [00:24:27]:

That’s a very classic French pate that I got obsessed with, you know, perfecting. And so a lot of these holiday things are they are kind of classic. I I really wanted to drill down into the classics.

Stephanie [00:24:42]:

I love to the picture. I’ve just passed it of you with the Vitamix. And making, I guess, what would you have been making? Because it’s green. The honeydew and cucumber salad made to be with the cilantro lime dressing.

Amy Theilen [00:24:58]:

Mhmm. Exactly.

Stephanie [00:24:59]:

I love that picture because I did something similar. And then, the top blew off. Because I was making soup, and I hadn’t depressurized it. And I had green soup all over my kitchen.

Amy Theilen [00:25:10]:

Was it hot soup?

Stephanie [00:25:11]:


Amy Theilen [00:25:12]:

Oh, I’m sorry.

Stephanie [00:25:18]:

Alright. Well, I just wanted to talk to you a little bit about the cookbook because gonna talk to you on weekly dish, and I just, I don’t know, I’m a huge fan, and I really didn’t know what to expect from this book from you after the memoir. And it is everything that, like, I loved about you as a person that felt like those all those things came together and this feels really like you.

Amy Theilen [00:25:43]:

Thanks. That’s means a lot. I mean, I’ve always appreciated your support from, you know, 2013.

Stephanie [00:25:51]:

Do you remember when you came, to the radio station and we toured your son around the TV station? Yes. So cute and so little.

Amy Theilen [00:25:59]:

It’s so fun to be on I I love being on radio too. It’s so fun.

Stephanie [00:26:03]:

Oh, gosh. I’m gonna because I think I’ve told you this before. Stephanie is finally starting to take a little more vacation time because her son is older and he’s at college. So there’ll be some fill in time. So I’ll connect back up with

Amy Theilen [00:26:16]:

you. Or I can do it from

Stephanie [00:26:18]:

your house. So it’s good.

Amy Theilen [00:26:20]:

Well, you know, I love to talk on the phone. So

Stephanie [00:26:22]:

Amy Theilen [00:26:23]:

I like it. — basically the same thing.

Stephanie [00:26:26]:

The book is company. It’s recipes menu and advice by Amy Thelen. The subtitle is the radically casual art of cooking for others. I feel like it’s just after coming out of COVID where we were all so independent and living sort of these solitary lives within our family unit. And then we had 2 year it took 2 years to have, like, what I call the hot girl summers. Where we were just like, and now I feel like we’re kind of getting all the good parts of COVID, the reflections, the thinking about what we want in our lives, the way we wanna live our lives intentionally moving forward, because there were some lessons and some good things that came out of it, but you had to get past the trauma and come out first, right? I think we’re so changed. Everyone’s changed.

Amy Theilen [00:27:12]:

Yeah. I mean, it it’s taken it’s it takes I realize about me that it takes me a while to understand things. You know? In process. And so I also feel, yes, that I feel that way too, that what I see forward going forward for having people over are just entertaining is, like, more sustainable. You know? I like doing it on the regular. You know? It’s not like something you have to work up to and stress out about and all of that. It’s about taking that time also for us, the cooks, you know, because that’s what for me, it’s, like, relaxing. To stand at the stove and start cooking at, like, 2:30, 3 o’clock, whatever, clear everything off, And that’s what I’m doing. I’m just cooking for people, then they’re gonna be there in 4 hours, you know, or 3 hours, whatever. So that’s what that’s the timeline of this book, like the narration or what time zone we are in inside it is before people get there. You know? It’s like

Stephanie [00:28:21]:

Amy Theilen [00:28:21]:

Yeah. I really felt that. You know, when when people show up, you’re on your, you know, I’m not gonna talk about your how you set your table or I mean, whatever. You know?

Stephanie [00:28:32]:

Yeah. Yep. And I —

Amy Theilen [00:28:34]:

I’m not expert on that. I but I do love to cook, you know, And it’s kind of like a self it’s kind of a it’s kind of a self thing too when you’re cooking for other people. You know?

Stephanie [00:28:46]:

Yeah. You’re giving them your gift. Your gift of yourself, gift of your time, gift of your talents.

Amy Theilen [00:28:54]:


Stephanie [00:28:56]:

I really, I wish people would entertain more. I’m I like entertaining.

Amy Theilen [00:29:00]:


Stephanie [00:29:01]:

Grew up in a house where if we were entertaining, it was a huge deal because you had to clean the house for a week first before you could even And then it was, like, these elaborate. And my poor mom, which is, by the time the event happened, she’d be exhausted and completely crabby.

Amy Theilen [00:29:18]:

Because she, you know, it’s trying to be aspirational. And I do think that the, you know, the the pandemic really did shift that first all because it made zoom and all of these things, all this technology, it made us more vulnerable and revealed our living spaces. In a way that had never really done been done before. Yeah. I think that’s true. You know? And It just made I don’t know. It just yeah. It it’s like it’s okay if this background is a mess. You know? I don’t care. You care? Nobody cared. You found out. Nobody cared. Nope. Nobody cares if, you know, there’s some pajama pants in your bathroom.

Stephanie [00:30:02]:

And the whole wearing of makeup is like I could care less now. I wear TV makeup, but at home or just running. Like, I do not care about makeup anymore. I discovered that.

Amy Theilen [00:30:13]:

Headband here. You know, I love headbands. It keeps it off my face. You know? Yeah. It’s that’s me.

Stephanie [00:30:22]:

I love it. Well, thanks for your time. And, again, I look forward. We’ll talk to you a couple for weekly dish, but people should pick up the book. It’s a great book for holiday and a great book to give to others to encourage them to gather with you more. Right?

Amy Theilen [00:30:36]:

Absolutely. Alright. Thank you so much.

Stephanie [00:30:39]:

— soon. Okay. Bye bye.

Amy Theilen [00:30:41]:

Sounds great. Bye.