food

Meet Our Readers

We’ve got a big appetite for Lucy Knisley, Sarah Becan, Nadine Kenney Johnstone, and Lauren Jordan. We’re also three years old! We were three last month too but uh, we forgot. Join us for a belated birthday celebration and stories about snacks. There will be pie.

Lucy Knisley is a graphic novel author and illustrator. She’s written and drawn five published books, including “Relish; My Life in the Kitchen” and Eisner nominated “Displacement.” She lives in Chicago and when she’s not working, she’s hanging out with her tiny little fat baby.

Sarah Becan is a comics artist, author, illustrator and designer, and the creator of “I Think You’re Sauceome”, a food-centric autobiographical webcomic. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Saveur, Eater, StarChefs, Tasting Table, TruthOut, and the collaborative serial collection Cartozia Tales. She was awarded a Xeric Award and a Stumptown Trophy for Outstanding Debut for her first graphic novel, The Complete Ouija Interviews, and her work has twice been nominated for the Ignatz Award. Lately, she’s been illustrating cookbooks, such as The Adventures of Fat Rice, and if she had her way, she’d do nothing but draw pictures of food all day.

Lauren Jordan is a southern transplant living in Chicago with her two cats. She manages the online shop Hey Chickadee when she’s not drawing comics, knitting hats, or baking cookies. She hosts a podcast about food if you’re into that sort of thing which you would be if you’re at this reading. You can follow her work at laurenjordan.net!

Nadine Kenney Johnstone is the author of the memoir, Of This Much I’m Sure, about her IVF challenges and the healing power of hope. Her infertility story has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Today’s Parent, MindBodyGreen, Metro, and Chicago Health Magazine, among others. She teaches at Loyola University and received her MFA from Columbia College in Chicago. Her other work has been featured in various magazines and anthologies, including Chicago Magazine, The Moth, PANK, and The Magic of Memoir. Nadine is a writing coach who presents at conferences internationally. She lives near Chicago with her family. Follow her at nadinekenneyjohnstone.com.

 

 

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Zen and the Art of Meat

Cooking was definitely something I grew up with, but I wasn’t interested in doing it myself until well into my 20s. I knew homemade food was good and sometimes better, but I didn’t care. There was a McDonald’s under the Loyola stop and a value menu with my name on it, Gharweeb Nawaz with one-dollar lentils and saag paneer, and about six million good Mexican places. I was set.

(if you don’t care about food or cooking, now might be a good time to revisit some other posts)

But sometime around my third apartment I started to miss it. So I started doing it, and long story short I am an okay cook. I don’t do anything fancy but my cookie and casserole game is solid. I don’t suck at vegetables either, especially the roasted and slaw variety. Every once in awhile I’ll bust out the food processor and make my own crackers. They’re basically teeny cheddar pie crusts and make me feel a lot more “foodie” than I really am.

The term “foodie” makes my teeth hurt, like to the point where I don’t want to say I like to cook because people get all oooooohhhh do you make your own seafood broth with leftovers from your homemade beer-steamed mussels then save them for later? (no, though I’ll happily eat the delicious bi-valves at Revolution or Hopleaf). And okay, I went to Sean Brock’s pre-fixe dinner at The Publican and I still think about those freaking heirloom carrots and crab-studded hushpuppies. I like herb-flecked artisanal goat butter as much as the next guy. But copping to making your own food and not blowing at it feels like aligning with a sanctimonious culture that doesn’t have a lot of room for being human or White Cheddar Cheez-Its, my one true love.

Despite not worrying too hard about the origins of my asparagus and a deep and abiding affection for Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Golden, I like cooking. I read a lot of food blogs. The abundance of Mariano’s excites me. I think it’s taught me some things too, which I will now share with you in a hopefully non-preachy manner.