cookbooks: simple scratch cooking

simple scratch cooking

I was telling my husband on Sunday afternoon how refreshed I was feeling after the Thanksgiving break. It’s surprising, in a way. I spent much of last week cooking and baking, and I spent a fair amount of time organizing and cleaning. Putting on a Thanksgiving feast for 8 adults and 5 children is hard work, despite the fact that I loved every minute of it.

I should have been worn out, both physically and mentally. Instead, I felt inspired and rejuvenated.

Being totally immersed in a creative project — and cooking is definitely that for me — seems to have a snowball effect. The more I create, the more I want to create. And so, despite having a PowerPoint presentation that I needed to work on over the long weekend (which doesn’t count as the kind of creativity I was going for), I found projects to keep my mind and hands busy.

One of those projects that I dove into this weekend was cooking from Jennifer Perillo’s first edition of her new quarterly journal, Simple Scratch Cooking: a homecook’s journal for making easy, everyday meals. The issue is a beautiful 13-pages filled with recipes and essays written in the style of Jennie’s blog, In Jennie’s Kitchen. I’ve been reading In Jennie’s Kitchen for several years now, and it’s one of the handful that I go back to regularly.

Because my family loves the combination of peanut butter and chocolate, I baked the peanut butter swirl brownie recipe on page 16 of Simple Scratch Cooking, Fall 2014. The brownies were so good that the first batch disappeared within 24 hours. The kids blamed each other for eating more than his or her fair share, and they both blamed their father for eating too many. (I’m pretty sure they were right, on all counts.)

To appease the household, I baked another batch before the weekend was over.

The brownies were incredibly easy, and we were eating them warm out of the pan within an hour. My swirls weren’t as pretty as those in Jennie’s photographs, and I should have sifted the powdered sugar to eliminate lumpiness in the swirl, but by the time I started baking the second pan of brownies, I knew that no one in my home cared what they looked like, only that they tasted amazing.

I’m so excited about this project of Jennie’s. I love the journal and its concept: reliable from-scratch recipes and personal essays are what I’m drawn to. This is one of the main reasons that I’ve been a long-time reader of In Jennie’s Kitchen, of course, and it’s why I bought the first issue of Simple Scratch Cooking. It’s also why I pre-ordered the Winter issue.

Of course, I also pre-ordered because I have a recipe being featured in the new issue. (Thanks, Jennie!)

Jennie has graciously offered a discount code to you, dear readers, so that you can receive 10% off of your first order on any in-stock Simple Scratch Cooking items, including the preorder of the next issue, Winter 2014 (vol. no. 2). The discount code is MG2014.

Happy shopping!

peanut butter swirl brownies | the merry gourmet

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18 Responses to “i was good enough”

  1. Chris — May 1, 2014 @ 4:39 pm

    Here’s the thing that you don’t know…over the past week, I’ve shared the essence of your story with five other people. I shared it as an example of what makes The Big Potluck so special. And everyone of those five people had tears fill their eyes. What you shared was more than good enough, and I will remember that moment for a very long time.

  2. MJ thanks for sharing this with those of us who couldn’t attend. Of COURSE you were good enough. And good for you for recognising that you needed this trip. I am sure your dad would be proud to hear you read your work. XO

  3. Macaroni Mama — May 1, 2014 @ 5:18 pm

    So touching. I wish I had paid attention to your father as well, when he was making his last mashed potatoes. MJ, you are far better than good enough. Tears are running down my cheeks as I write. Thanks for sharing your story with everyone.

  4. Cheryl — May 1, 2014 @ 6:30 pm

    You read beautifully that day. I was honored to hear you recount this story and commend you for finishing it here. Good, true, real writing moves people, and that’s precisely what you’ve done. Thank you.

  5. Art & Lemons — May 1, 2014 @ 7:42 pm

    I’m glad you kept reading and continue to write and share your truth. You are great!

  6. Irvin — May 2, 2014 @ 2:03 am

    Oh MJ. I love you. I’m sorry I wasn’t there at the BTP. But it sounds like you were more than just good enough. Hugs to you. Big huge hugs.

  7. Karen Covey — May 2, 2014 @ 10:43 am

    I do hope you will continue writing and sharing because this is so wonderful and touching. I lost my father last year and know that awful, dull pain that aches in your heart. I’m so very sorry for your loss, truly…

  8. Katy — May 2, 2014 @ 11:24 am

    Dear sweet child of God~you are more than “good enough”~so much more so He only made one of you and said that it was good! <3 Katy

  9. Amelia — May 2, 2014 @ 1:26 pm

    I loved reading the rest of your story here. Thank you for sharing and I’m also so grateful for the Potluck experience!

  10. Georgie — May 2, 2014 @ 4:05 pm

    Every-time I read one of your post… I fall into deeper “like” with you. Your post moved me and it is so well written… so “good enough”. It’s moving, eloquent and transparent of your connection with your father and you are a beautiful testament of his love. You just honored him deeply and sharing his beauty. XO

  11. Paula — May 2, 2014 @ 6:11 pm

    How beautifully you write! I wish I could have been there to actually hear you share your thoughts with all the others that were in attendance. I’m so happy that it was a wonderful and moving experience for you. I know that everyone who meets you, is able to spend time with you, comes away feeling that they were enriched by the experience. Touching people, being able to connect the way you do with others is a gift and that is always more than good enough.

  12. Leah — May 3, 2014 @ 10:16 am

    I’ve been wanting to go to a conference but I have been kind of scared. Thank you for this post and for your honesty! I’m so sorry for your loss – I am sure it was not easy to leave your family during this tough time. Definitely on the lookout for when The Big Potluck is this fall and thinking I will probably sign up!

  13. Courtney — May 4, 2014 @ 11:53 am

    I love that you said you felt lifted up, because that’s exactly what I think the folks at The Big Potluck do for one another. This was beautiful and heart-wrenching, and I just want so say you are good enough. Always.

  14. You’re such a beautiful person! So glad to have met you!

  15. Liren — May 4, 2014 @ 8:05 pm

    There should never be any question in your mind or your heart: you are good enough. Too good. I’m so glad I was there in the room, to hear the words pour out of your heart. And I’m so glad we finally (finally!) met. You are as beautiful as I knew you would be, inside and out.

  16. Kris — May 4, 2014 @ 9:50 pm

    What a beautiful post! It sounds like BTP was everything the big potlucks aspire to be. I’m so sorry for the loss of your father and I’m glad that you could be with these wonderful folks at a time when you really needed it.

  17. Brooke @ Foodwoolf.com — May 4, 2014 @ 10:55 pm

    Bravo! Fearless. Beautiful. Honest. It was great having you at the Potluck. It wouldn’t have been the same if you hadn’t been there. So glad you took care of yourself and came. xoxoxo

  18. I loved meeting you and talking on the bus. I am so sorry for your loss, so glad you came, and am proud of you for your courage in reading aloud to us.

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