Sitting Down with Pam Anderson
This summer we met Pam Anderson, an award winning, James Beard nominated, New York Times bestselling author who cooks and hosts visitors at her home in the woods. Naturally we had to create a bespoke wellness retreat package for our clients centered around Food, Connection, and Transformation! Read on to learn more about her and her home.
Written by Ariel M. Weinshanker
Who is Pam Anderson?
Pam Anderson is a New York Times bestselling author of nine cookbooks, including the Julia Child Award-winning The Perfect Recipe and the James Beard-nominated first edition of How to Cook Without a Book and Perfect Recipes for Having People Over, and the IACP-nominated The Perfect Recipe For Losing Weight and Eating Great.
Pam has been executive editor of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, USAWeekend food columnist, AARP’s official food expert, and a blogger with her two adult daughters at the popular site threemanycooks.com.
She has appeared on Good Morning America; The Today Show, CBS This Morning, The Food Network as well as numerous local programs around the country. She has taught at cooking schools in major cities across the country, both hands-on and demonstration-style classes.
In 2013 Buzzfeed listed How to Cook Without a Book as one of the 19 Cookbooks That Will Improve Your Life. In 2017 Epicurious.com listed Pam among The 100 Greatest Home Cooks of All Time, and in 2017 Southern Living named How to Cook Without a Book as one of the 100 Best Cookbooks of All Time.
Does the name Copper House have a special meaning?
Yes! Copper changes over time. It starts off shiny, then seems almost to rust, but eventually turns stunning verdigris. That’s our hope for you—whether it’s a small shift or one that’s deeply profound—you’ll leave Copper House transformed.
What prompted the creation Copper House?
Before moving from Bucks County in 2003, David and I bought eleven acres of land knowing that one day we would return. We built Copper House in 2008, and it was a decade long love affair from afar as we visited on the occasional weekend, vacation, and holiday. In 2018 we moved back for good. At first we wondered if we would love this place as much as we did as a weekend getaway, but we learned very quickly that we loved her even more.
Can you tell us about what makes Copper House special?
When did you start hosting retreats?
We’ve always known there’s something special about Copper House, the way we feel when we’re here—the inspiration of the landscape, the sense of Spirit, the joy of food and wine, the deep connection to others. But in 2018 we decided to share this architectural gem and its stunning eleven acres with others. It was only natural. As a New York Times best-selling cookbook author, I’ve been welcoming people into my home for years.
Where did you develop your passion for cooking?
I think I was hard-wired to love cooking. In my twenties, I catered. In my thirties, I worked for food magazines.
My decade’s long career as a cookbook author ensures Copper House food is unique, seasonal, and nourishing. But I find the real magic happens when people share good food around an open table. Whether it’s early morning Golden Tea, an abundant breakfast, a hearty, fresh lunch, late-afternoon tea, early evening cocktails, or a lively dinner, we celebrate often. And if you enjoy spending time in the kitchen, there are always opportunities to learn how to make great food here.
While visiting us, you can enjoy yoga, guided meditation, mindfulness practices, or simply take a walk through the woods. Whatever you do, you’ll quiet your mind and reconnect with yourself here.
For the last two decades I’ve enjoyed a fruitful freelance career as a food writer and cookbook author. Now I’m eager to bring it all together—inviting people to my home to experience what brings me joy and pleasure.
Fun Fact: What's your favorite dish to cook or eat?
Since you used the word fun, I’m reminded of all the fun foods that I enjoy. I love anything salty and crunchy. My favorite nibble—and I’ve been making them for years—is Union Square Café Bar Nuts, which you will likely experience at least one of the nights you are here. A natural accompaniment for those nuts is a bracing cocktail. A summer Spritz, a spiked Cider or an aged Negroni are some of my favorites.
Can you share with us about your decision as a meat eater to plan vegetarian menus for weekend retreats?
I still enjoy the occasional bit of meat, but I’m increasingly enjoying more vegetarian and vegan dishes. At our recent Autumnal Equinox Retreat, we prepared a Thanksgiving-style feast. At first guests couldn’t imagine Thanksgiving without turkey. Instead we roasted two spicy heads of cauliflower—complete with vegetarian gravy. That night as we enjoyed Dijon-laced roasted Brussels sprouts, vegetarian sausage and golden raisin-studded stuffing, a kale salad chockfull of roasted butternut squash, cranberries, and walnuts, creamy twice-baked sweet potatoes, and rich apple galettes, every single person said they didn’t miss the meat. I enjoy showing people that eating vegetarian can be wonderfully satisfying.
Who helped design your stunning home?
We have a happily continuing relationship with Copper House’s architect, Michael Farewell of Princeton, NJ. Every move we make, he is with us. He helped us design our new outdoor kitchen and pizza oven, for example, which is part of our create-your-own pizza experience. Someday we hope to build a little reading pergola up the steep slope behind our house. He will help us design that as well.
Your home is truly a labor of love. Are there any projects you will be tackling in the near future?
My husband, David, and I are always taking on projects to further enhance Copper House and its grounds. Now that we’re done building the pizza oven and the outdoor kitchen, we’re working on a fire pit area, a space where people can relax after dinner, and a place we will feature significantly in our solstice and equinox retreats. We’re also in the process of creating walking paths throughout the eleven acres.
Are there any stories about the art in your home?
When you love art as much as we do, it seems to finds you, so there’s a story behind each of our pieces. We look forward to sharing some of those stories with those who visit.
Does Copper House welcome visitors all year round?
Yes, we welcome guests year round. Each season is beautiful in its own way. The big room on the main floor is nearly solid glass on two sides, so whether you're looking out at snow in January, budding trees in April, nature in full bloom in August, or turning leaves in October, Copper House is a beautiful place to be.
What distinguishes Copper House from let's say a private home rental or all-inclusive retreat center?
What separates Copper House from other retreat spots is its radical hospitality. When you come here, it’s as if we’ve invited you into our home, because in fact it is. Although we do have help behind the scenes, it’s David and I who cook for you, care for you, and share our lives with you. People find that kind of radical hospitality very moving. And when we offer this kind of care freely, people open up as well.
Do you find any lasting benefits of a weekend away from the city to focus on self-reflection?
When someone comes to Copper House and experiences a weekend of self-reflection, mindfulness, real connection, and good food in a peaceful place, the barriers to growth start to fall away. As one retreat attendee put it, “It's rare that an experience retains its glow over time, our retreat weekend has absolutely done that!”
Copper House is made for yoga. Imagine a snowy morning as you move through a series of poses in front of a towering glass wall or waking from restorative yoga to the gentle flames of the fire pit on the deck. We look forward to welcoming you and your friends.
Vosant Meetings & Travel is ready to assist whether you know exactly what type of experience you are searching for or have just a vague idea.