Mary Bryant Shrader

Austin, TX

YouTube Sensation, Traditional Foods Preservation Spokesperson, Founder of Mary’s Nest, and Author of The Modern Pioneer Cookbook

Booking Info

Jill Maxick

512-501-4399 x711



Pub Date: August 1, 2023
Genre: Lifestyle/Cookbook
Publisher: DK Books, Alpha imprint
Page Count:
ISBN: 9780744077421
Price: $32.00


Cooking traditional foods without pre-made ingredients is easier, healthier and less expensive than you might think!

In simpler times, people cooked from scratch with seasonal ingredients and traditional techniques like canning, pickling, fermenting, and drying. Mary Bryant Shrader—founder and host of the wildly popular YouTube channel “Mary's Nest”—follows these pioneer principles with a modern twist to create delicious, nutrient-dense meals that are budget-friendly and additive-free. 

In The Modern Pioneer Cookbook, Mary helps you master the basics of a traditional foods kitchen and shows you how to make over 85 delicious recipes that are simple and incredibly nourishing. Her recipes use whole ingredients that make use of every last kitchen scrap—with the goal of creating a no-waste kitchen, just like our ancestors. 

Learn how to make your own bone broth, cultured dairy, sourdough and no-knead bread, render animal fats, soak and sprout grains—and master the perfect roasted chicken! Mary will also show you how to stock your pantry with homemade staples, including probiotic beverages, "perpetual" vanilla extract, dehydrated and oh-so-handy mirepoix, and even condiments made from scratch. 

The Modern Pioneer Cookbook features: 

  • Simple ingredients
  • Traditional techniques
  • Maximum nutrition 
  • Detailed instruction and practical tips
  • Clean eating that's more economical than store bought!

With a warm and encouraging manner, Mary shows how anyone can begin their traditional foods journey and become a modern pioneer in the kitchen, creating nutritious and delicious foods for themselves or their families.


Mary Bryant Shrader is a modern pioneer in the kitchen who has spent the last 20 years teaching friends and fans alike how to make nourishing recipes using traditional methods and whole, seasonal ingredients as well as how to stock your pantry with a useful variety of homemade staples. 

With over 47 million views and nearly 900K subscribers and counting, her popular “Mary’s Nest” YouTube channel features in-depth videos that demonstrate traditional cooking skills to those longing to create a traditional foods kitchen and get away from overreliance on processed foods. Her detailed recipes provide step-by-step instructions on how to make nutrient-dense foods, including bone broth, cultured dairy, ferments, and sourdough and no-knead breads. Fans of Mary's have come to love her encouraging, helpful demeanor and her warm, familiar way of greeting every viewer with her "Hello, Sweet Friends!" salutation.

A self-described "former New York City girl" who discovered the simple life, Mary lives in the Texas Hill Country outside of Austin with her sweet husband, Ted, and their lovable yellow lab, Indy. Their son, Ben, is just a drive away and often visits for holiday celebrations, board games, and—of course—cozy family meals by the kitchen fireplace.


  • 5 Ways to Beat Inflation and Save Money on Groceries by Being a Modern Pioneer in the Kitchen.
  • How Mary went from teaching friends in her kitchen to demonstrating her techniques to nearly 900K subscribers on her YouTube “Mary’s Nest” channel.
  • Why you should just start with a roasted chicken.
  • What it means to have a traditional foods kitchen and why making traditional foods is important.
  • How to limit food waste and why you should.
  • Why Mary’s methods of preparing food are healthier and more economical than what you can buy at the store.
  • What it means to “properly prepare” food.
  • How techniques like fermenting, drying, and pickling make the most of in-season ingredients and build a handy and economical pantry of homemade staples.



  • National Salsa Month
  • National Salad Month
  • Texas Writers Month
  • Older Americans Month
  • Mother’s Day - May 14


  • Country Cooking Month
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month


  • National Picnic Month 
  • Culinarians Day - July 25


  • Family Fun Month
  • Happiness Happens Month
  • Peach Month
  • National Watermelon Day - Aug 3
  • National Mustard Day - Aug 5


  • Family Meals Month
  • Food Safety Education Month 
  • Better Breakfast Month
  • National Preparedness Month


  • National Cookbook Month!
  • Canning Day -  Oct 23


  • Good Nutrition Month
  • Pickle Day - Nov 14
  • Homemade Bread Day - Nov 17


Why did you write the book?

I love teaching home cooks the skills they need to properly prepare traditional foods. I want to preserve time-honored techniques for current and future generations so they are not lost in this fast-paced world. I wrote The Modern Pioneer Cookbook to provide a detailed manual to new home cooks who want to transition from a processed foods kitchen (where most purchased foods are packaged or pre-made) to a traditional foods kitchen (where as many foods as possible are homemade). I also wrote this book for home cooks who are already on their traditional foods journey, advancing from making simple homemade foods to more advanced ones such as sourdough bread.

What is a Modern Pioneer?

Pioneers blaze new ground in different fields, and some bring back traditional ways that may have been forgotten. A Modern Pioneer in the Kitchen wants to learn how to be more self-sufficient by making as many foods as possible homemade while also learning how to properly prepare these foods to maximize nutrient absorption. Plus, a Modern Pioneer in the Kitchen uses every last scrap of food, much as our ancestors did, so we can come as close as possible to a low-waste or no-waste kitchen. These Modern Pioneers will find The Modern Pioneer Cookbook to be an essential guide that captures their spirit and meets their needs in the kitchen.

What makes this book different from other cookbooks?

The Modern Pioneer Cookbook is more of a manual or roadmap than a typical cookbook filled with recipes. Unlike an ordinary recipe book, this book is an indispensable reference guide to help home cooks on their journey of transitioning from a processed foods kitchen to a traditional foods kitchen. Home cooks who want to learn the skills to properly prepare food and be more self-sufficient will want to have this book as part of their essential kitchen bookshelf. These skills include baking, fermenting, souring, soaking, sprouting, canning, and more.

What's the easiest recipe in the book for a new cook?

I tell every new cook to just start with a roast chicken. Once you get past the squeamishness about touching a whole raw chicken (and yes, you can wear disposable gloves), the oven does the bulk of the work. Then, as I describe in The Modern Pioneer Cookbook, you can throw in some carrots, onions, and maybe a cut-up potato or two, and you have a complete meal. Once you eat the chicken, you have the carcass and some scraps you can use to make roast chicken bone broth. Nothing goes to waste, and you have created a nutritious protein-rich broth that can be used in place of water when cooking rice or other grains, as a base for soups and stews, or as a simple sipping broth. With just one roast chicken, you've already made progress towards creating a traditional foods kitchen.

What recipes can I make homemade for cheaper than store-bought?

Whether you buy your real food ingredients at the grocery store, the farmer's market, or directly from a local ranch or dairy, what you make with those basic provisions usually will always be cheaper than what you can buy already prepared from the store. But there is a much more important reason for learning how to make most of your foods homemade: you control the ingredients. As a result, your homemade food is going to be considerably more wholesome than anything you can buy at the store.

The Modern Pioneer Cookbook shows you how to make both cheaper and more nutritious versions of a whole host of homemade foods, including bone broth (some of which can be made for pennies), bread (including sourdough and sprouted breads), jams, cultured butter, yogurt and kefir, stovetop cheeses (including cottage cheese), and an assortment of condiments. 

What's a good recipe for new bakers?

I have a chapter called "The Home Baker" that shows new bakers how easy it is to get started baking and how each recipe builds on the skills they previously learned. New bakers will begin with a simple pioneer brown bread that is a "quick bread" because it does not require yeast, a sourdough starter, or any rise time. From there, the new baker will advance to a simple, soft, and tasty no-knead sandwich bread. This yeast-risen bread helps the new baker become accustomed to making breads that require a rise time, giving them the experience and confidence to advance to how to make a no-knead sourdough bread.

Why did you start a YouTube channel?

I am passionate about preserving the skills needed to properly prepare traditional foods. I started teaching these skills in my kitchen over 20 years ago to my friends who were interested in learning the traditional food preparation techniques my mother had taught me when I was young. When I found myself an empty nester, my son and husband encouraged me to put my lessons on YouTube. I created the Mary's Nest channel, and I was able to share how to make traditional foods with a much wider audience. It is a joy to see how many people are interested in learning how to be Modern Pioneers in the Kitchen and begin their traditional foods journey!

What are your most popular recipe videos?

My most popular videos include how to make naturally fermented sauerkraut, beef bone broth, no-knead sandwich bread, homemade cream cheese, raw apple cider vinegar with the "mother," and how to properly prepare and cook dried beans for maximum nutritional absorption. Home cooks will find these recipes and more in The Modern Pioneer Cookbook


Pub Date: May 17, 2022
Genre: Memoir / Christian Inspirational
Publisher: She Writes Press
Page Count: 304
ISBN: 978-1647429003
Price: $15.99


In the age of social media, what does it mean to connect through a hand-written letter?


True Story: When Amy Daughters reconnected with her former friend from camp decades ago, Dana, via Facebook, she had no idea how it would change her life. Through social media, Amy learned Dana’s son Parker was at St. Jude battling cancer–devastating news, but what else do you do besides comment an “I’m so sorry,” nowadays? 


But more than a comment happened, Amy woke up in the middle of the night and felt called in a way she couldn’t fully explain to write handwritten letters to Dana–someone who through time and distance, had become nothing more than several hundred other faces on her Facebook account. 


When Parker died, Amy, not knowing what else to do, continued to write Dana. Eventually, Dana wrote back, and the two became pen pals, sharing things through the mail that they had never shared before. The richness of the experience left Amy wondering something: If my life could be so changed by someone I considered “just a Facebook friend,” what would happen if I wrote all my Facebook friends a letter?


A staggering 580 handwritten letters later Amy’s life would never be the same. As it turned out, there were actual individuals living very real lives behind each social media profile, and she was beautifully connected to each of those extraordinary, very real people.


A native Houstonian and a graduate of The Texas Tech University, Amy W. Daughters has been a freelance writer for more than a decade — mostly covering college football and sometimes talking about her feelings. Her debut novel, You Cannot Mess This Up: A True Story That Never Happened (She Writes Press, 2019), was selected as the Silver Winner for Humor in the 2019 Foreword INDIES and the Overall Winner for Humor/Comedy in the 2020 Next Generation Indie Awards. An amateur historian, hack golfer, charlatan fashion model, and regular on the ribbon dancing circuit, Amy — a proud former resident of Blackwell, England, and Dayton, Ohio currently lives in Tomball, Texas, a suburb of Houston. She is married to a foxy computer person, Willie, and is the lucky mother of two amazing sons, Will and Matthew.


  • Lost Art of Letter Writing – The deliberateness of a letter, honest, believable and genuine, more than Social Media could ever be. Bringing back the beautiful connection of a hand-written letter. 
  • How can we teach our younger generation to value a pen & stationery? 
  • The stages of grief and how to remain a constant and connected friend experiencing the grieving process.
  • The power of prayer and finding purpose.
  • The evolution of friendships and connections due to social media.
  • Work from home and the disconnect it creates–how letter writing can bring back more meaningful relationships.
  • Women in Sports – Amy is a decades long sportswriter–a position with its own trials and tribulations as a woman in a male-dominated field. 



  • Read a New Book Month
  • National Letter Writing Day – December 7
  • National Christmas Card Day – December 9


  • Self-Love Month
  • Universal Letter Writing Week – Jan 8-14
  • Hunt for Happiness Week – Jan 15-21


  • International Boost Self Esteem Month – February


  • Month of Hope; Day of Hope –  April 5
  • World Health Day – April 7
  • Tell a Story –  April 27
  • Trauma Awareness Month – May


“Dear Dana is an inspirational memoir about caring for friends near and far by reviving a lost art.” — Foreword Reviews


“. . . a captivating study regarding writing letters to friends and rethinking how people successfully bond in the modern world. An intriguing and inspiring exploration of different forms of communication.”— Kirkus Reviews


“This is a book for anyone who wonders about the differences between a Facebook friend and a Real-Life friend and who yearns to see a person’s real life behind their Facebook image. It is also about the power of prayer and the abundance of kindness in our world. But ultimately, it’s about connection and how we are all connected when we come from love.”    — Rivvy Neshama, author of Recipes for a Sacred Life: True Stories and a Few Miracles


“Captivating . . . I laughed and I cried as I followed the pleasures of real mail, and the lesson hit home: Whether written or spoken, our words matter. They have the power to illuminate someone’s darkest day.” — Laurie Buchanan, PhD, author of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth and The Business of Being: Soul Purpose In and Out of the Workplace