Avid gardener, inspired home cook and illustrator of a certain Mug you may recognize, Katrina Brosan is a person of many passions. She spoke about them with our Donna Casellas-Banks.
As a multi-dimensional creative who gardens, makes beautifully painted illustrations, cooks delicious meals and bakes yummy desserts, tell us how you became this beautiful person?
That’s an incredibly kind description of me! A lot of my interests are generational. My family is full of incredible cooks, bakers, and a long line of gardeners. I think it’s in the Italian blood! Having a lot of positive encouragement from my family and friends has been critical for my artistic side. I would have stopped drawing long ago if it weren’t for them.
Tell us about your East Fork collection. How did it all begin? What pieces do you covet?
One day I was served a beautiful Instagram ad (good work, East Fork marketing team!) and realized the store was around the corner, and then I was hooked! My collection has grown a lot during the pandemic. I have a rainbow of Mugs, though I always gravitate towards my Taro Third Wave Mug for my morning coffee. I’m still finding my glaze groove with my everyday pieces—right now I’m enjoying a mix of Soapstone, Utah, and Night Swim. It gives off evening desert vibes, if that’s a thing. I’m hoping to eventually add one of my dream pieces: a Small Contour Vase or a Lidded Jar!
So, Katrina, what do you collect besides East Fork pottery?
I also collect hostas! My backyard is a hillside shade garden, and I’ve planted over 100 hostas. There’s tons of varieties all with different colors, textures and sizes, so they’re really fun to collect.
Here’s a fill in the blank question for you. I never met a _________ that I didn't love?
Cat! Or a wedge of cheese.
Do you have a favorite gardening season and tool?
Lately I've been enjoying fall, when you can grow loads of kale and not sweat in the process. My favorite tool would probably be a good pair of gardening gloves. Simple, but you can’t go without them.
Tell us about the On Vegetables cookbook? Is it a goodie?
It’s a beautiful book! The recipes are wildly creative and incorporate such a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of the dishes are totally new concepts for me and are very inspiring. I grow nasturtiums because they are pretty, but never thought about cooking with them until I flipped through On Vegetables!
Oh wow, so which recipes did you decide to recreate? Drum roll please!
Well, I was able to incorporate tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, and nasturtium from my garden and I selected the following recipes:
- Poor man's lox: salted tomato, horsey goat, capers, shallots & seeds
- Fried green tomatoes: burrata & green tomato preserves
- Nasturtium Dolmas: black rice and sesame
So tell us Katrina, what is the most versatile veggie you grow?
Probably tomatoes! You can make so much with them. Aside from eating them raw I love to make fresh sauce and frittatas.
Beyond your veggie beds, what are your top three favorite flowers in your garden and why?
Zinnias will always be number one! They remind me of my mom, they’re effortless, they attract so many bees and butterflies, and they bloom all summer long. They’re a southern staple! I also love to grow roses and black eyed Susans.
So I gotta know, which East Fork form and glaze make your heart flip over and do a two-step?
I’m very much a Mug gal! As for glazes, I love Utah. It’s the perfect cheerful yet soothing color. But I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing a lot of older glazes in person, so I’m sure I’d love those too!
Gardening: does it feed your soul and if so, why?
Absolutely! There's a calmness to gardening that I can’t find anywhere else. And it brings you right there with nature. I love to hang out with the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and to provide them a little sanctuary.
Where is the best view in your garden?
My greenhouse—it’s at the highest point of our property in the backyard where I can see both my shade and flower gardens.
If your home garden were your children, which veggie /flower would be your first born? Your easiest to nurture? Or the one that requires your steady encouragement and attention?
Haha! My first born would be tomatoes since I’ve been growing them the longest. My easiest to nurture would be peppers, which thrive with no attention. And my neediest would be any and all types of squash, which need daily pep talks and pest removal!
So Katrina, how does one become a master gardener?
A good question! I’m still very much an amateur. There’s so much to learn. I think you’ve just got to use the tools you have at hand, which for me are gardening books specific to Georgia, Google, and lots of phone calls to my mom whom I consider a master gardener!
Katrina, chatting with you has been such a joyful experience. I am thankful for you being You!
Thank you again for such a fun opportunity, Donna!