About Jean

2010: Ye Cook, having served roasted fowl for a medieval affair for 50pp (Royalty, Clergy, Nobility and commoners alike), under scold by the Duchess for eating the gingerbread.
I grew up in the 70s.

1968: My first table setting.
My earliest memories of playing "restaurant" with my kid sister include blindfolding her before a flight of condiments--ketchup, mayo, mustard, relish, maybe the occasional mysterious science experiment developing on the fridge door--with a "raw" hotdog bite as the surprise finish.  (Hotdogs, as you likely know, weren't raw then and aren't raw now.)

I. Love. To. Cook.  It doesn't matter if it's for just two (which it usually is), or a holiday cocktail party for twenty, a surprise retirement party for fifty, or surprise birthday party for seventy.  Even baking dog bones can be greatly satisfying.

I have a spacious, fully equipped kitchen, but some of my most rewarding experiences have come out of kitchens with no pantry and four walls that could be touched at pretty much the same time. I once made a 9x13 pan of spanokopita in the place on the counter where the toaster sat.  Draw a 12" square on paper and you'll appreciate that.

1997: On our way to explore Europe, with Italy up first.
I am a damn good cook, and occasionally tempted to sign up for one of those reality contests.  Then actual reality hits about how grossly wasteful they are.  Are all of my recipes perfect?  No.  (But my husband would tell you they are.) "Gimme the knife" and get out of the way.

I was an ethical vegetarian and activist during the late 80's and 90's.  Factory farming then made some of today’s issues look mild, and I marched in one of our nation's largest animal rights demonstrations in 1990 down in DC.

That's me on the left. Washington, DC 1990
I was against factory farming then, and I'm sure as heck against it now.  Even local farming can have its issues, but I now include very carefully selected, organically farmed poultry and meats in my cooking. 

I am an ardent supporter of sustainable husbandry and use it as my baseline for selecting farmers and food.  I get to know my farmers...I go to their farms...I ask the tough questions.

Okay, enough of that hardcore stuff.

My mother was a coupon saver who shopped at the most economical grocery store chain there was.  We drank Zarex, ate those hotdogs and other processed meats, and Velveeta cheese....  But, she also cooked and baked from scratch and would let us belly up to the counter to help whenever the mood struck us (me, usually).  As the adage goes, we are who we are because of our parents, or in spite of them.  I haven't figured out which camp I'm in.  ;~)

2013: The mother of my life.... :)

I've worked in and out of the dining industry throughout much of my life, performing everything from dishwashing and line cooking to bartending and general managing (the "norm" in the restaurant biz).  Not once during any of my stints, the last of which was in the early 2000's, was the term 'sustainable agriculture' part of the lexicon.  Thankfully that is changing.

I like fish.  (As of 2015, my 22-yr old Luna Luna tetra is still swimming strong.) Not much thought goes into procuring fish for the everyday menu in a public restaurant, such as how it was caught and what suffered in its path. Our oceans need our help. Support fishermen/women and chefs who get that.

With more than 20 years of "gourmet" cooking under my belt, a B.S. in Environmental Studies (soil and freshwater sciences, sustainable food systems, environmental ethics, natural resource policy and law, etc.) and hands-on involvement in the local foods movement, I now know a bit about food issues.

The good? Every time we spend a dollar we have a say in the way our farmers are paid; food is grown; soils are tilled; waters are conserved; and, farm animals are raised.

The bad?  Not everything can be like this vegan coconut cupcake with toasted flakes: 

Many dollars spent on food in our country contribute to the rampant waste of food; pesticide and fertilizer pollution of our soils and waters; abuses to the animals that sustain us; and, monocropping of our food choices.

There are conscientious consumers all around.  Be one!  Be proud of being one! Patronize the establishments whose chefs are making change for the better!  Find those farmers' markets, get to them, and cook good food!

Choose foods that show you care about what you eat--whether you're an omnivore or a vegetarian.  From the moment we start planning a meal, our choices have an impact.  Ask where your food comes from; ask how it was grown or raised; ask about the amount of your dollar that stays within the community.  And don't settle for "I don't know."

I hope to entice you to cook as much as possible with foods raised and grown by local farmers (and gardeners!) whose work ethics are ripe with humane and sustainable practices (I won't preach beyond this, I promise).  There'll be times of the year when this is very easy to do, and others when it will be a challenge. Good thing I love challenges.

To you, good scones, and the betterment of life!

Jean Eno