On Our Shelves Now
This Immeasurable Place: Food and Farming from the Edge of Wilderness is the long-awaited
second cookbook from James-Beard nominated Hell's Backbone Grill and Farm in Boulder, Utah.
This Immeasurable Place continues the inspiring story of how two women-chef-co-owners Blake
Spalding and Jennifer Castle-started their award-winning, Buddhist-based, farm-to-table restaurant
in a tiny, traditionally Mormon town on the edge of the magnificent Grand Staircase-Escalante
National Monument. Filled with seventy new recipes; gorgeous images by world-famous
photographer Ace Kvale; and stories of the restaurant, organic farm, and town, This Immeasurable
Place is much more than a cookbook. It's a food-justice primer, a guide to eating consciously, and a
meditation on connecting community to land and table.
About the Author
JEN CASTLE grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she was taught to prepare New Mexican and Polish cuisine by her mother and twelve aunts and uncles, who viewed mass-quantity cooking as standard procedure. She began cooking and experimenting with food when she was a very young child, spending much of her free time in the kitchen, imitating the tastes she grew up around and always making enough food to feed a crowd. She later moved to Flagstaff, Arizona, where she worked at Macy’s European Coffee House, Bakery and Vegetarian Restaurant and learned the ins and outs of running a restaurant: ordering, organizing, time and staff management, recipe-writing, and multi-tasking. This was where she learned to cook multiple major items simultaneously. While working at Macy’s, Jen also began cooking for trips on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, for groups of thirty or so trail-crew workers for weeks at a time, and later she continued to do outdoor catering for more river and backcountry trips. She traveled extensively and discovered culinary inspiration in foreign cultures. Jen moved to Boulder in 2000 to open Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm with her friend Blake. BLAKE SPALDING, originally from New Hampshire, began cooking when she was a small child. By the time she was eight years old, she was preparing full meals for her family. Blake began working in the restaurant world at an early age and at the age of sixteen moved with her family to Flagstaff, Arizona. In her twenties Blake began cooking as a river chef, mostly on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, and continued to do this for many years. She also worked for Greenpeace, during which she helped with an anti-pesticide campaign that inspired her passion for organics, sustainability, and all things biochemically and genetically unaltered. While working as a river chef, she began another career: “extreme catering”—cooking in remote, isolated locations, including a deserted island in the Bahamas and the Amazon rainforest. She also opened a catering business in Flagstaff. As a practicing Buddhist, she was often asked to cook for Tibetan lamas, and this directed her relationship with food into one fused with spirituality and meaning. In the year 2000, the opportunity to own Hell’s Backbone Grill presented itself, and she moved to Boulder with her friend in cooking, Jen Castle. LAVINIA SPALDING Our darling Lavinia is series editor of The Best Women’s Travel Writing; author of Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler; and co-author of With a Measure of Grace, the Story and Recipes of a Small Town Restaurant and This Immeasurable Place: Food and Farming from the Edge of Wilderness. Lavinia introduced the reissued e-book edition of Edith Wharton’s classic travelogue, A Motor-Flight Through France, and her work has appeared in many print and online publications, including Tin House, Post Road, Yoga Journal, Sunset, Inkwell Journal, Off Assignment, The Guardian UK, San Francisco magazine, Airbnb magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray and World Hum. Her essays have been anthologized in An Innocent Abroad (Lonely Planet), Days Like This (Independent Bookstore Day) and The Best Travel Writing, volumes 9 and 10. Lavinia teaches writing workshops and is available for speaking engagements, storytelling workshops for businesses, private editing and coaching. She is a member of the San Francisco’s Writers’ Grotto and Peauxdunque Writers’ Alliance, a faculty member of the annual Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference and co-founder of the award-winning monthly travel reading series Weekday Wanderlust. She lives in New Orleans.
"Blake Spalding and Jen Castle are alchemists, truly changing the world through their
hands, their hearts, their farm, their food. In community, everything is possible.Theirs is
a leadership of love." -- Terry Tempest Williams, author of "The Hour of Land."
“Blake Spalding and Jen Castle pioneered farm-to-table cooking, creating the Rocky
Mountain West’s first women-chef-owned restaurant with full-scale farm. The authors
lay out the seasons of the restaurant with humor, gentleness, and joy, but underpin it
with their steely, unflinching resolve. Buy this as a cookbook and a keepsake of the truly
immeasurable spirit of this community and the land.” -- Cheryl Alters Jamison, four-time
James Beard award winner and author of eighteen cookbooks
“The inspirational story of a remote but remarkable restaurant that you’ll need to put on
your life’s fine-dining list.” -- Tim Cahill, Outside magazine editor at large and author of
nine books including Hold the Enlightenment
“The wisdom found in the pages of this beautiful and surprising book is immeasurable.
It’s wisdom from the edge, from one of the most glorious hidden kitchens there is. The
story of Blake and Jen, true kitchen sisters — their cooking, friendship, and farming--is
expansive and illuminating. Land, food, family, stewardship, and spirit all course through these tempting, gorgeous pages. A book that feeds us on so many levels.” -- Davia
Nelson, NPR’s Kitchen Sisters