A Personal Story about KC and its Impact…
I just recently left Portland to move to Brooklyn, NY for my partner’s career and with high hopes (but no solid plans) for my own. A month later, I’m working as a culinary educator as well as doing events and operations at a local food focused general store and CSA. Both of my jobs are with small, women-owned and operated businesses, and I’m going to be starting cooking groups through both organizations. I don’t think I would have gotten either of these jobs or even be certain about what I want to do with my life if not for my involvement with Kitchen Commons.
Before I joined Kitchen Commons, my passion for food, interest in food justice and community building, and skills as an educator and leader were pretty disparate and unfocused in any certain field. It wasn’t until I started going to the St. Mike’s cooking groups and getting more involved with KC that I found the direction I needed. Researching, testing, and adapting recipes is what I do for fun, and getting to try others’ recipes and techniques through the community kitchens was a new way to experience it. Add to that other opportunities for outreach, collaboration, and organizing, and I’ve more or less found the perfect combination of what I love to do and happen to excel at. Meeting every other week at St. Mike’s, and more often for office hours and special events, to share a meal or talk about upcoming projects was never a chore and always something I prioritized simply because I really loved to do it. The cooking groups provided an outlet for me to share my skills and passions in a noncompetitive and welcoming environment, with people who love cooking and food for many of the same reasons I do. Everyone comes to the cooking groups with different skills and experiences, but everyone participates, shares in the work and meal, and leaves looking forward to next month (or at least I always did).
I remain committed to Kitchen Commons and the skills and truths I learned in my year of participating in cooking groups, kitchen leadership training, and other events because I believe that the work Kitchen Commons does is original, impactful, and empowering. Food is vital, and should connect neighbors and families and strangers everyday in multiple ways, but more often than not, we look for shortcuts and fail to make those connections. Kitchen Commons seeks to strengthen and support these connections to our food and each other as a resource for and network of community kitchens, empowering leaders to unite their communities in the kitchen and around the table. In doing so, Kitchen Commons has made a significant difference in my life and soon I’ll be sharing these skills and truths with my new neighbors, nearly 3,000 miles away.
Cranberry Sauce (or Jam!)
12 oz cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 cinnamon stick
½ cup sugar
up to ½ cup water
orange or lemon zest
In a large heavy bottomed pot, combine cranberries, cinnamon stick, sugar, and just enough water*to coat the cranberries and distribute the sugar. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring regularly so that the bottom doesn’t burn, until the berries are all broken down. Add the zest just a minute or two before taking it off the heat. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.
*If this is a sauce, you can add more water at the beginning to get the texture you desire. For a jam, use the small amount called for above, and cook to the desired texture.
If planning to can the jam, add some citrus juice as well as the zest, and process for 15 minutes (at sea level; adjust for altitude) in a boiling water canner.