Leslie Land

Aug 14, 2013
Leslie Land.

Cushing — Leslie Land, 66, longtime resident of Cushing, prolific writer, editor, cook, gardener, former gardening columnist for the New York Times, and a former editor of Yankee magazine, died from complications from breast cancer Aug. 10 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where she lived with her husband Bill Bakaitis.

Long before locavore was a word to consider, Leslie was known in Maine and throughout much of the country for a deep respect and enthusiasm for locally grown, locally produced food — so long as it lived up to her high standards of excellence. An artist in the kitchen, she was an active member of the Maine arts community, and a dedicated supporter of Maine agriculture. Her own gardens and kitchens, in Cushing and outside Poughkeepsie, were a source of inspiration for much of her writing which, in recent years, focussed on a website, leslieland.com. She pubished four books, including "The 3,000 Mile Garden," which became a BBC/PBS series.

Leslie began writing with a weekly column, Good Food, at the Camden Herald in the 1970s and went on to compose more than 400 gardening columns as well as feature articles over the years for the New York Times.

Her cooking career began earlier, at Chez Panisse, the famous California restaurant, where she was one of the very first chefs — and memorable for a revolt she instigated among female kitchen staff when, on an exceptionally hot day, she took off her clothes and continued to cook clad only in her apron. Remembering her, Alice Waters said, “She was fearless, an uninhibited presence in every conceivable way.”

In addition to her husband, she leaves a step-daughter Celia, granddaughter Ursula, a sister, brother, niece, two nephews, and countless friends whom she inspired to love gardening, good food, and life.

Comments (5)
Posted by: Susan G Crane | Aug 19, 2013 21:56

The previous post was from Susan Goodridge Crane, not my husband Ken.



Posted by: Susan G Crane | Aug 19, 2013 21:55

Leslie used to call on my father, Harry Goodridge, probably at first to ask him about "Andre". He didn't suffer fools and turned away from his door many curious but nervy people who hadn't the courtesy to ask for an appointment. Not Leslie. She won his heart with her totally genuine personality and became a favorite of his.



Posted by: Susan L Martin | Aug 15, 2013 05:41

Leslie was graceful, inspiring and hard-working.  She had a light touch, making you feel that all the toil and time was merely the price of achieving an artistic life.  I'll re-read "The 3,000 Mile Garden" this winter to remember her bright spirit.

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Posted by: David J Rockwell | Aug 14, 2013 18:16

Leslie had the most amazing gardens. We would often see her walking along the road with Lois Dodd. The residents along Hathorne Point Road will miss her



Posted by: GLORIA l. BAGLEY | Aug 14, 2013 18:01

I didn't know her but felt I did after reading "The 3,000 Mile Garden". It's a wonderful book that lets the reader inside of her world. A very very special person, I'm sure.



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