The Evanston Community Kitchen

A food memoir about women in the kitchen and history in the making. Food = Story.

She’s Got to Feel It

I have been keeping something from you. I can’t cook. Well, I can but it’s a struggle and there’s no winging it. I have to have a recipe. Well I can cook Chicken a la Meg which I made up in college. It’s basically chicken, veggies and Ken’s Peppercorn Ranch dressing.

But cooking is such a struggle for me. I am blessed with a wonderful husband who is a natural. He can look at frozen meat, flour, and the pantry and whip something up. I look at the pantry and I run.

I am a recipe cook.

I was embarrassed to tell you I can’t cook or worse I don’t really enjoy it (the sucking at it part). But tonight I had an epiphany while making this recipe I found in Martha Stewart magazine.

Epiphany: I have got to cook my grandmother’s recipes in order to write this book. Full disclosure — I’ve been struggling with finding the right way to tell my grandmother’s, great-grandmother’s, and the Community Kitchen’s story. As Anne Lamott says — there have to be a lot of “shitty first drafts.”

So back to my epiphany…of course I will never find the voice for this book unless I overcome my fear of cooking, which really is my fear of failure.

It was as if Juney said it herself!

So I am going to get my fear of failure butt into the kitchen and cook… no matter how uncomfortable I get. The story is in the discomfort. The story is in the tension. I was reminded of that by a wise woman today. Thank you K.C.

And ya know what…I enjoyed making this meal.

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I have to get all my ingredients out first or I panic. And it ain’t pretty when I panic.

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Fresh carrot from my garden. I ended up using store bought carrots for this recipe because the carrots I did pull were premature. So I did something clever with them. Is it Pinteresting enough?

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I love how carrots smell when they are pulled from the earth.

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I replaced fresh basil for parsley. Basil is another beautiful plant. I have a surplus and I keep putting off the harvest. I love going outside to get it.

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Basil store

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Pumpkin shadow — that’s me with a fistful of fresh basil

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I love this color — reminds me of Fall.

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Basil bounty

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Orange grace. Love the color.

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Onions, curry, white beans (I used white beans because I did not have lentils) and rice simmering which went in the meatloaf. I call it meatloaf because I added hamburger meat.

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Never without a map… I always need a recipe. Did you know my grandma (Juney) was a recipe writer for Schrafft’s and General Foods?

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Juney’s great-grandson. Also my helper. See the excessive three year old use of dish soap? Well, I got frazzled (happens often when I cook) and I sliced my finger with knife.

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Ready for the oven.

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My favorite part — dinner in
the oven and clean up done

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An antique from my mom
Now the fun part — eating dinner!

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Author: memomuse

I am an arts educator, writer, poet, photographer, and mama. United Arts Council Artist in the Schools and Writer-in-Residence -- I am available to conduct workshops and residencies: Memoir, Writing, Poetry, Spoken Word, Poetry Slams. Contact me for more information. Also available for freelance writing and photography. I am also working on a historic food memoir: http://evanstoncommmunitykitchen.wordpress.com

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