About Me

Thanks for being here! I am a mom of three (two girls, 15 and 13, and one boy, 9) and a teacher of many (thousands during my more than 17 years teaching high school English and Spanish in Philadelphia). Forever a student, I love learning - whether through talking to others, reading, watching movies and documentaries, or traveling. I also love running (slowly), hiking, and practicing yoga!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


 So, I’ve been reading Alice Waters’ cookbook The Art of Simple Food recently. I imagine I read it the way some people read romance novels, for escape and novelty. The cookbook was a Christmas gift for my husband, Anthony, a few years ago, but as he is an excellent cook, he has little need for it. His cooking is both a blessing and a curse—mostly a blessing, but a curse in the sense that it has blunted the development of my own culinary skills to the point that I consider heating up some Bell&Evans chicken nuggets and McCains smiley fries an accomplishment. Ah, but Alice Waters! As a former literature major, I appreciate the poetry of her writing. Even the lists are lovely. Consider the list “Other Butters,” in the chapter on ”Four Essential Sauces”: parley butter, anchovy butter, black pepper butter, sage butter, basil butter, chipotle butter, nastorium butter. Or perhaps the list of spring and summer lettuces (in “Salads”) reads better: Rocket (arugula), Green oak Leaf, Red oak leaf, mache, red salad bowl, lollo rosso, buttercrunch, tom thumb, little gem, romaine. Reading this gives me such pleasure, though I can’t even begin to imagine what lollo rosso lettuce is—nor nastorium butter, for that matter! Still, I like to imagine a life in which I make chocolate tartlets from organic chocolate and braised anything. It could happen! Tonight, actually, inspired by the fact that Joseph, at 7 months, is supposed to start sampling real food, I decided to make Alice Waters’ recipe for Italian meatballs. My sister was coming over with her three kids and cooking for her was less intimidating than cooking for my husband or any one of his very talented siblings. I used the grass fed beef and the day old country-style bread, as well as milk from a local farm that Whole Foods sells in glass containers, just like the old days. I grated the onion and chopped the garlic, added cheese and parley and egg and oregano. I baked the meatballs in the oven and then added them to the sauce (tomatoes, garlic, onion, olive oil) for extra flavor. I served everything over fresh linguine. And guess what? It was good! I enjoyed myself too. So I’m not sure what happens now.  Cooking: it could be just a crush, it could be true love, but only time will tell.  As Alice Waters suggests: “Taste as you go. Keep tasting and keep practicing and discovering.” Okay!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely! I love Alice Waters' books - have read a few. Glad she inspired you to get in the kitchen, chef Jenn! :) We're heading down tomorrow night - I'll give you a call on our way! :) Yay!