Even before we met, we were fans of Anne Parker. It's not hard to be! We became familiar with her work as a prop stylist, and enjoyed following along on her Instagram, which promises beautiful, inspiring photos of interiors, exteriors, home-cooked meals, and—more recently—her particularly cute and furry companion, Pepe.
In 2017, Anne and her friend Leela Cyd created and published a "mini cookbook," Cooking Up Trouble, for which 100% of the proceeds are donated to Planned Parenthood. We ordered our copy online and have enjoyed many delicious meals pulled from its pages since.
On a road trip up to Portland from Los Angeles, we reached out to Anne to see if she was in town and wanted to meet. She did us one better by inviting us over for breakfast!
What followed embodies the essence of Canyon Coffee: a long morning spent around a kitchen table in a beautiful, light-flooded home, with hot coffee, a homemade breakfast, and the kind of conversation that leaves you feeling happy, optimistic, and inspired.
Below is a q&a we did with Anne, and her [delicious] miso oatmeal recipe she made for us at the end. Hope you enjoy!
- Ally & Casey
Canyon Coffee: What's your favorite morning ritual? How do you like to start each day?
Anne Parker: The thing that gets me up in the morning is thinking about coffee. After putting on my slippers, it’s the first thing I do each morning. I have quite a mug collection, so choosing the perfect one to suit my mood or the kind of coffee I want to make that day, is a sweet ritual. On days when I’m working on a shoot, I get dressed, make my coffee and run out the door (often without eating breakfast). But on days when I can take it a little slower, I turn on NPR, make my coffee, take out my notebook and make a plan for the day.
As a prop stylist, part of your job is collecting beautiful items and furniture. How do you choose pieces for your home, without becoming a hoarder?!
I’m very fortunate that I have an excuse to obsessively thrift, go to estate sales, junk shops, and antique stores – it’s for work! I’ve become fairly discerning, and won’t buy dishes with chips in them, or otherwise damaged pieces. Many of the things I buy find their way into my home first, and then I cycle them out when I want a change, and end up in my prop garage. At times it’s a well-organized shop-like space where I can easily find what I need for jobs, and other times it becomes a dumping ground for bins of props that I used for a shoot and don’t want to put away.
We're big fans of your first cookbook, the self-published Cooking Up Trouble: Recipes to Nourish Women! What's the story behind it?
Thank you! My friend and photographer extraordinaire Leela Cyd and I were working on a cookbook just before the 2016 presidential election – she was photographing it, and I was styling it. We really love working together, and during that time, we casually discussed the idea of doing our own fun project together. Then the election happened, and like so many others, we were gutted. The day after the election she texted me and said we have to do something to contribute positively to the world, while it felt like everything was regressing. Over FaceTime calls, we quickly came up with this idea to create a little cookbook, get friends near and far to contribute recipes, publish it ourselves, and give 100% of the proceeds to Planned Parenthood. We’ve given $12,000 to the two clinics in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas – an area that desperately needs funding for its dwindling access to reproductive health care. Making Cooking Up Trouble has been the most fulfilling work I’ve ever been a part of.
Any plans for another cookbook?
I have some ideas up my sleeve. Stay tuned.
Like us, we can tell you like to travel (we were following your recent trip to Lebanon closely!), and you're not afraid to explore new places alone! What draws you to travel, and what is your ideal way to do it?
Growing up my family didn’t travel whatsoever. The first time I was ever on an airplane was in high school, and I’ve still never been on a plane with anyone in my immediate family. However, my grandma was a globetrotter and regaled little me with stories of artisan markets in Haiti and bookshops in Paris. It thrilled me! I knew that I wanted to travel, and decided to take a year off after high school, before college, to travel. I worked and saved my money, and after I graduated high school my 16 year old cousin and I went to Europe for the summer. It lit a fire in me that will never die. Long story short, I ended up studying International Studies in college, and working at a high school study abroad non-profit for many years before becoming a stylist.
I suppose I’m drawn to areas a bit off the beaten path. I’ve never been to London (though I want to!), but I have been to Uganda, Laos, and Tunisia. More than anything I just trust myself in new situations, and that makes me willing to travel alone. Sure, I’ve done some stupid things, but I have a good enough sense to stay out of trouble.
Just after college I worked as a “travel advisor” for a student travel agency, and would plan clients’ trips down to the last detail. That is basically the opposite of how I travel: I buy a ticket, find a place to stay, map out the natural food stores and a couple restaurants, and figure out the rest while I’m there!
As a creative professional who is their own boss, how do you balance the left & right sides of the brain when running your business?
Like I said, I had a whole career before becoming a stylist. I’ve been an employee for many years, and learned how to be professional. It wasn’t until later that I pursued a creative career. I actually have never really considered myself a creative person, but more of a curator, because I have a really organized, rational approach to what I do. And I think that suits me in this stage of my career, while I’m my own boss, and having to balance the business side with the creative side because truthfully I wouldn’t be content without both.
Recipe for Miso Oats
- 1 cup quick oats
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 2 tablespoons miso
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- Large handful of baby kale (or your green of choice), torn or cut into smaller pieces
- Large handful of shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 2 green onions, diced
- 2 eggs, soft boiled for 7 minutes
- Dash soy sauce
- Dash chili oil
- Sesame seeds
- Bacon (optional)
Boil water in a small saucepan. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and carefully drop the two eggs, while not cracking the shell. Set a timer for seven minutes, and once done, put the entire pan under cold running water in the sink. Let the eggs sit in cold water for a minute before peeling and cutting in half.
In a saucepan on medium heat, add the ghee. Once melted, add the oats and stir occasionally until slightly golden – about a minute. Add the water and miso, and stir until the miso is dissolved. If the oats become too thick, add a couple splashes more water until it’s the consistency you prefer and the oats are cooked (about 3 minutes).
In a sautée pan on medium, heat the sesame oil. Once hot, add the kale and mushrooms. With a spatula, turn occasionally until the leaves are wilted and the mushrooms are golden (about 4 minutes). If it’s sticking to the pan, or the veggies feel dried out, add a splash of water.
Divide oats into two bowls, add the veggies, and top with eggs, a dash of soy sauce, a drizzle of chili oil, sesame seeds, diced green onion, and cooked bacon if you’d like. Enjoy!