The East Fork Journal

The East Fork Journal is a collection of musings, interviews, recipes and special features on products, collaborations and other beautiful objects we stumble across on our journey.  To get all of this delivered to your inbox a few times a month simply enter you email.  We hope you enjoy and if you like what you see tell us!  



Looking back on my personal history of packed lunches, I'm amazed (and a little ashamed) to realize the variety of bags and boxes I used to carry them.  Each August in elementary school, I'd insist on a brand new backpack and matching lunchbox - the insulated, plastic-lined types.  After seventh grade and a brief stint toting a metal Napoleon Dynamite number, I settled on the cool nonchalance of a classic brown bag.  

Maybe their generic timelessness helped me navigate the cruel worlds of eighth grade and early high school, but after a few too many soggy holes and a quick education in the fact that things I throw away don't actually go away, I scrapped lunchboxes altogether.  Nothing durable was cool, and nothing cool was durable; I'd just have to balance a tower of Tupperware atop the stack of books in my backpack, thank you.

If only I'd known...


In Sudbury, Ontario in 1956, a tired nickel miner named Leo May was waiting underground for the cage - the elevator used to transport workers and supplies in and out of the mines.  He stood his tin lunchbox on its end, bent down to take a seat, and landed flat on his heinie, squashing his lunchbox in the process.

May went home to his basement workshop, intent on creating a lunchbox strong enough to act as a lunch break seat.  After showing up to work with an aluminum prototype and impressing his colleagues - 40 of which wanted their own - May developed L.May Mfg, a small company that steadily grew and eventually turned to mass production in 1978.

The Original Miners Riveted Aluminum Lunchbox continues to be manufactured by L.May in Sudbury and is used around the world by miners and non-miners alike.  We like them for packing lunch and little picnics, of course; but they're also perfect as toolboxes, sewing kits, and cosmetic cases.  These days, it just feels right to buy something you know you won't have to replace - especially when you can show it off on your desk.


Alex and I have a habit of forgetting to make plans for holidays and birthdays until the morning of - and after briefly promising to do better next year and the occasional tear (on my part), our solution is always to make this sandwich, put a blanket and a bottle of rosé in the car, and get outside.  By mid-afternoon, everyone's happy.  

The trick to this sandwich, as it so often is, is don't be afraid of butter.  Spread it liberally, and don't waste your time with guilt. 

I N G R E D I E N T S:

  • 1 Crusty Baguette
  • .5 lb Ham (opt for the most plainly seasoned; skip the brown sugar and Black Forest varieties)
  • Gruyere or Comté
  • Good, salted butter, at room temperature
  • A 1/3 cup of cornichons
  • A squirt of Dijon

T o   P r e p a r e:

Chop the cornichons well, so they're the size of green peas. In a standing mixer or with a very strong arm and a rounded bowl, combine about 5 tablespoons of butter with the cornichons and a healthy squirt of Dijon, stirring until the cornichons are distributed evenly (if you're doing this by hand, make sure you're starting with very soft butter). Slice the baguette longways.  Spread the butter + cornichon mixture on both sides of the bread.  Assemble the cheese and meat. Wrap in parchment paper.

D r i n k:

A a dry, earthy rosè like the Clos Cibonne Tibouren, grown in schisty soil, or a chilled, vibrant red, like this tasty Poulsard from Jacques Puffeney.



Inspired by our Yuzu glaze and the summer produce explosion at the Asheville City Market right now, and a menu from David Tanis’s A Platter of Figs  - we cooked a dinner celebrating yellow in all its glorious hues. Veggies and flowers provided by the always-inspiring The Culinary Gardener and Ten Mile Farm


adapted slightly from Samin Nosrat's recipe via NYT

2 yellow bell peppers - seeds and ribs removed

2.5 pounds yellow heirloom tomatoes

1 red onion

2 Persian cucumbers - peeled

1 serrano pepper - seeds and ribs removed

2 cloves garlic - peeled 

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

salt to taste

Roughly chop the peppers, tomatoes, onion, cucumbers, pepper, and garlic -  and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add vinegar and blend on high speed until smooth. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl - using a spatula to work contents through. Season with salt to taste, and more vinegar - depending on the acidity of your tomatoes. Garnish with any variety of toppings - we used freshly made olive oil croutons and basil oil. 


2 pounds barely-ripe yellow peaches

1/4 cup feta cheese - crumbled

small handful of basil

2 large shallots - peeled and thinly sliced

juice of one lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

First, pickle your shallots - Place shallots into a small bowl with a teaspoon each of salt + sugar and lemon juice. Stir to combine and let sit for at least an hour.  

Meanwhile, cut the peaches into bite-sized wedges and add to a large bowl along with the feta cheese. Whisk the olive oil in to the shallots and their pickling brine - and pour over the peaches. Gently stir to combine and top with basil chiffonade. 


2 halibut fillets - portioned and pin bones removed

2 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 cup unsalted butter - room temperature 

2 anchovy fillets 

1 clove garlic - peeled

zest of one lemon

pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Dust the halibut fillets with turmeric and set aside while you prepare the compound butter.

In a mortar and pestle mash together the garlic and anchovies with a small pinch of salt until they come together in a paste. Stir the garlic-anchovy mixture and lemon zest into the softened butter.

Place fish in a baking dish and spread a dollop of the anchovy butter on top of each fillet. Roast until fish is just opaque - about 10 minutes.

In holding true to the yellow theme, we served our halibut alongside yellow chard stems (recipe below) - but this would also be tasty with roasted fingerling potatoes or a tangy summer bean salad. 


2 bunches of swiss chard

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cloves of garlic - minced

juice of one lemon

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Strip the chard leaves from their stems and set aside (Don't toss these! They're lovely quickly sautéed or stirred into a soup). Cut the chard stems in half lengthwise, and cut them into 3-4 inch batons. Season your water with lots of salt and blanch the stems in simmering water for about five minutes, or until tender. While the stems are cooking - fill a large bowl with ice water. Submerge your stems in the ice water to stop their cooking. 

Heat oil + butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter starts foaming, add the garlic and chard stems. Cook until chard stems are lightly browned and garlic is fragrant - about five minutes. Turn off heat and lightly toss with lemon juice. 



Shishito peppers are a cinch to throw together, and eating them is like playing a game of less-lethal Russian Roulette - about one in every ten is fiery-hot. This particular recipe is a great accompaniment to a very cold Japanese lager. 

1 lb shishito peppers

1 tbs neutral oil - we like grape seed oil

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs honey

1 tbs rice vinegar

juice + zest of one orange

sesame seeds for garnish

Mix together soy, honey, vinegar, and orange juice - set aside. Heat grape seed and sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil starts to shimmer, add shishito peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes - tossing occasionally, until the peppers are soft and slightly blistered. Add the soy-orange mixture and cook for an additional 30 seconds on high heat. Remove from heat - garnish with orange zest and sesame seeds.