Ushering in Autumn: Harvest Nests

September 2012

When I was a college lass in the architecture program, I designed a home that had to respond to a steep grade, a wooded landscape and the phases of a couple’s life from the first child to retirement. My initial concept was a series of connected nests representing isolated aspects of daily life- eating, sleeping, resting, etc. Whether or not I was too obsessed with bird metaphors (lovebirds, keeping the nest warm, planning for a nest egg, etc), the design veered through the course of the  semester. However, my fascination with nature-inspired design led me to discover a branch of architecture called Biomimicry.

A Thought Project…

Biomimicry’s prophet is Michael Pawlyn, who elaborates on the concept in his TED talk. Pawylyn asks, “How can architects build a new world of sustainable beauty?” His answer and the mission of biomimicry is to use nature as a design tool to radically increase resource efficiency, use waste from one organism as a nutrient for another organism, and move from a fossil fuel economy to a solar one. What does that look like?

Maybe like a nest?

A Play Project…

Inspiring architects and designers (and more importantly, the people with the money) to shift their paradigm will take time. In the meantime, one can’t truly debate the issues and innovations of the world without a proper breakfast. Call me old fashioned! Why not have a little fun channeling nature for your breakfast or brunch spread? Here I go with nests again…

Though these nests might not mimic the more intricate systems of a real nest, they do channel elements of sustainability via local and organic ingredients. They also fueled the movers and shakers who attended this brunch to usher in autumn. These nests are blank canvases, so use what’s in season and flavorful and have fun!

Harvest Nests Recipe


12 slices organic honey wheat sandwich bread
3 tablespoons organic unsalted butter (melted)
1 ear of local corn
1 small local squash, roasted, cut into chunks
Fresh local sage, chopped
12 large eggs (local/free-range)
Salt & Pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 375° F.

Lightly butter 12 standard-size muffin cups.

Flatten each bread slice with a rolling pin.

Insert flattened bread slices into muffin cups so they fit snuggly.

Brush melted butter over each bread cup.

Add a chunk or 2-3 small chunks of squash, a few kernels of corn and a few pieces of sage to each cup.

Crack one egg into each cup.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until egg white is set (be careful not to overbake it).

Remove from muffin pan and serve!

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