I met Mary Dougherty for the first time when our girls’ second grade teacher sent out a call for field trip ideas. Mary owned a restaurant; I had sled dogs. The teacher told us to come up with a plan so Charly and I snowshoed out a trail behind the restaurant. Half the kids rode in sleds, Mary instructed the other half in making dog biscuits. Then they swapped. Once the kids boarded the school bus, Charly and I and our son Jackson remained, talking with Mary and her husband Ted. We’ve been friends ever since.
A mother of five, I’ve watched Mary go from restaurant owner to writing a cookbook filled with photography and essays, to starting a photography project asking people if they could speak for water what would they say, to successfully fighting off a concentrated agriculture farming operation, and now, to running a nonprofit to assist the elderly in Honest Dog’s town of Bayfield. Oh yes, and she’s also an elected county board supervisor.
Through all of this, the constant has been food. I’ve eaten dozens and dozens of meals around her table, at the beach, in our sugarbush—all with lots of people, laughter, conversation. Last night, Mary joined our Zoom celebration (first year in business!), created a sugarbush margarita (recipe below), introduced everyone to her four dogs, and shared poet-laureate Joy Harjo‘s poem Perhaps the World Ends Here, the epilogue to Life in a Northern Town.
After the Zoom party, Charly and I stopped at her and Ted’s house and sat around talking and laughing—just like our first time together, though this time, outside around a fire. Our second-grade girls are now seniors in high school and thinking of college life. As always, Mary handed us bowls of food—ricotta gnocchi with pesto. And as always it was as delicious as the company.
Perhaps the World Ends Here
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what,
we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the
table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe
at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what
it means to be human. We make men at it,
we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms
around our children. They laugh with us at our poor
falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back
together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella
in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place
to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate
the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow.
We pray of suffering and remorse.
We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,
while we are laughing and crying,
eating of the last sweet bite.
2 T maple sugar
2 T Tajin Clasico Seasoning
4 ounces reposado tequila
3 ounces freshly squeezed blood orange juice (you can substitute with regular orange juice, but this truly is most delicious made with blood orange juice!)
3 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
2 ounces maple syrup
Mix the maple sugar and Tajin together and place in a shallow bowl. Dip the rims of 2 rocks glasses in lime juice and then dip into the maple sugar/Tajin mixture. Fill the glasses with ice and set aside.
Place the tequila, blood orange juice, lime juice, and maple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds and then divide between the glasses and serve.