Get to know Paul Lowe of ‘Sweet Paul’ ahead of his D.C. book signings

sweetpaul

If you enjoy having fun and eating delicious things, you’ll dig Paul Lowe. The creator of Sweet Paul magazine, a print/online food and crafts publication, he just published “Eat & Make” ($30, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a book of simple recipes and DIYs. He’ll sign copies at Anthropologie on Saturday at 11 a.m. (3222 M St. NW) and at Salt & Sundry on Sunday at 11 a.m. (1309 Fifth St. NE).

Where do you find inspiration for your crafts?
I’ve been saving up empty egg cartons and saying, “Speak to me. Say to me what you want to be turned into.” Everyone can go out and spend $200 on materials and make something pretty. The perfect craft project costs almost nothing and takes between half an hour and an hour.

Was it difficult for you to share all your family recipes?
I’ve known people who go to their grave with a recipe, and I think it’s silly. It’s very rewarding to share with people and get feedback. Plus, it’s not brain surgery. People can figure out how to make most things.

What is your background?
I don’t have any education whatsoever. I’m a high school dropout. I realized very early that mathematics and chemistry weren’t for me. I was a florist for 10 years and did some product styling before starting the magazine. Nothing I’ve done in life was planned. It just happened.

What’s your favorite part about producing Sweet Paul magazine?
It’s liberating because I don’t have to run anything past anyone. If I want to do a story about sun prints or ice sculptures or the color blue I can do it.

Does your Norway upbringing influence your cooking?
It’s my background, and it’s something that’s important to me. I love salmon, I love dill, I love anything that has fish in it. There are certainly things that are very Scandinavian and I try to make them a little more American so everyone can enjoy them. That’s important to me. It’s a pretty book, but I really want people to use it.

Have you been to D.C. before?
I’ve been once. It wasn’t the best experience because it was January and it was snowing and it was really, really cold. We pretty much just stayed in the hotel the whole time. I do remember having some really excellent Ethiopian.

Was it difficult to move to New York City and leave Oslo, Norway, behind?
Sometimes you just have to take a chance. For me, leaving Oslo and coming to New York City was an amazing thing, because I had grown tired of what I was doing, and when I moved here I had to start all over again.

Holley Simmons is the dining editor of The Washington Post Express. When she’s not reporting on local restaurants and tastemakers, you can find her sewing a dress from a 1950s pattern or planting a windowsill herb garden. Contact her at holley.simmons@wpost.com.
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