from the editor
Photo by Melanie Menon
My best friend, Courtney, was my roommate in college. We lived in a one-bedroom dormitory apartment with a kitchenette, and the extent of our cooking efforts was the occasional spaghetti (made with sauce from a jar), grilled cheese, scrambled eggs, and, once, her red beans and rice recipe (courtesy of her Louisiana upbringing).
The truth was, at the time, cooking was something you just had to get through in order to eat. I hadn’t yet discovered the therapeutic benefits of chopping vegetables, the creative outlet to be found in tossing an unexpected herb into an old standby recipe, or the pure joy of feeding your loved ones and watching them be nourished by the dish you’ve prepared.
I didn’t discover these things until I met the man I would marry.
When we began dating, I decided it would be a good idea to cook for my new boyfriend. I made chicken, nothing fancy, but here’s how you know I married him: He raved over his dinner. To hear him tell it, it was the most delicious meal he’d ever eaten. And in my head, I said, “Well, you think that’s good? Wait’ll you try what I’m making next week …”
And so my love of cooking was born. At our wedding, Courtney, who was my maid of honor, made a toast in which she announced to our guests, “When I heard Jessica was cooking for this guy, I knew she was a goner.”
There are few better ways to tangibly give others your love than to cook for them — to select the best ingredients, to season according to their tastes, to pair entrées with sides that make the perfect, palate-pleasing marriage. In this modern age of rushing and grab-and-go food, it’s important to remember the satisfying pleasure of cooking at home and feeding those you love.
That’s what this COOKS! issue is all about. You’ll meet locals you’ve likely heard of and read about how their passion for cooking enhances their lives — and even has manifested into enterprise. You’ll learn about delicious methods for turning simple ingredients into exciting meals, or for making your kitchen more functional. And you’ll discover innovative kitchen gadgets made right here in Greater Sacramento.
I hope this issue inspires you to get cooking, too. Enjoy!
About the Cover Fried caprese salad made by Theresa Gayner, home cook and host of online talk show Sac in the City. Photo by Debbie Cunningham