‘Cooking in Real Life’ Bowdoin College graduate launches new cookbook sure to please the masses

March 15, 2024

One of her favorite fall recipes was inspired by her days as a student in Brunswick.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Aside from having two uncles who owned restaurants nearby, (pronounced “Hoyk”) didn’t have much exposure to the food business when she was growing up in Pittsburgh. Her parents both worked for a newspaper, and dinners at home were “simple and to the point.”

In her senior year at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Heuck — despite her lack of culinary expertise—reached out to Ina Garten, the cook, author, and TV host known for her “Barefoot Contessa” mini-empire. 

During the job interview, Garten asked, “What makes you crazy?” Heuck replied, “When my housemates don’t keep the kitchen clean.”

Garten hired her immediately, not to cook, but to do social media. The cooking came later, including a stint one summer at the acclaimed Lost Kitchen restaurant in Freedom, Maine, and now Heuck is out with “Cooking in Real Life,” a cookbook filled with recipes that she hopes land in “the golden middle ground where joy and practicality meet.” To put it even more succinctly: “Delicious and doable.”

One of those recipes is for a pumpkin buckle. It was inspired, rather improbably, by a treat she especially liked at the dining hall at Bowdoin.

“I don’t know if they still serve it, but it was a pumpkin muffin with kind of a cream cheese swirl in the middle. And it was just so good,” she said. “It just makes me think of fall in Maine.”

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