7/23/2013 04:34:00 PM

A Day in the Life: Author and Canning Instructor Kate Payne

Busy homesteader Kate Payne spends her time canning preserves, teaching others how to can preserves and writing about food for publications like Edible Austin and Canning Across America's blog. In fact, she writes a column for Edible Austin where she tries her hand at a new skill (most recently it was making homemade root beer). Back in Brooklyn, she wrote her first book, Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking. Since then, she has moved to Austin and fits right in with the “go local” ethos of our city. She’s currently working on her next book, Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen, which is due out in 2014. Here’s what one of her recent days looked like.


7 AM Wake up, drink some coffee and eat breakfast.

8-10 AM Tend to blog tasks like writing new posts and editing photos.

10 AM-2 PM Depending on the day and freelance client du jour, my jobs vary. Today I’m cooking for my Edible Austin column and ordering produce and prepping fruit or vegetables for the preserving class I’m teaching tonight. I usually teach at one of the local farms, Whole Foods Market, or the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. I also do preserving demos and events.

Other days I’ll use this time to work on events at the Cedar Park and Mueller Farmers' Markets (my newest part-time role), plan weddings or other special events (few and far between) or plan the every-other-month food swaps that happen around town. Eat lunch.

3-6 PM Pack my big bag of preserving fun for the class. Most other days I’m making edits to my kitchen book manuscript, Hip Girl's Guide to the Kitchen, which will be out via HarperCollins in April 2014. I’m also working on a Hip Trick feature, which goes out to my national mailing list twice a month and features a helpful home tip that doesn't take all day or a chunk of your paycheck. Then there’s always returning email, working on sponsorship relationships for the blog and brand partnerships with my marketing coordinator.

6-8 PM Drive to Tecolote Farm for a class on preserving onions. I taught students on the porch of the farmhouse how to water-bath can smoky chipotle pickled onions. We made it a potluck and finished a bit before sunset and toured the farm.

Other nights I’ll work on my personal canning projects (from our garden produce) or gluten-free baking (pies are my favorite to make, but muffins and bread appear more regularly). I’ll also tend my garden. I'm a member of a large neighborhood garden, which operates in cooperative fashion (not plot-by-plot), and I’m planning the planting for the incoming season.

8-10 PM Eat dinner with my wife, Jo Ann. Catch up on anything outstandingly tardy from the day. That usually means putting up rough drafts of pending blog posts. After dinner we take a walk with our 10-pound Jack Russell Chihuahua mix, Isobel.

10 PM Step away from the computer and read a novel.

(Photo courtesy Jo Ann Santangelo)

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