Love Fresh Food: A Letter from Shortridge’s Cooking Club Sponsor

Hello all,

If I’m honest last week was a bit sad. I didn’t feel that I had anything positive to say so I didn’t write. The restaurant and work family I have made at Duos for the last 8 years came to an end. They had been beautifully feeding the community for the last 10 years but the current situation forced them to close for good. I know we are not alone in this but it is still really sad for us. I thank them for the food wisdom I gained while working with them.❤️

This week I was reminded in many different ways that nature will provide. My brother in Chicago was praising his kayak outings for helping him handle the pressure of his job with the Health Department. I’m glad he can find calm in nature when the world is crazy. He is constantly having to make tough decisions.
I was walking up the sidewalk to the garden to harvest this week when I noticed someone asleep on the bench in the garden. They had a suitcase next to them with all of their belongings. I imagine recently homeless and my own perspective of my week was changed. We all deal with loss differently. Let’s keep our chins up and help one another. So many people are struggling right now.
 I had a decent harvest last week for the church.

A few cucumbers, beans, okra, collard greens, tomatoes, mint and some fresh herbs. This week’s harvest was a bit smaller but enough for a soup or stew.

The assistant chef at the soup kitchen told me they’ve been using the fresh herbs 🌿 to make flavored butters that they are freezing so they can bring them out for Thanksgiving and use them to rub under the skins of their turkeys. 🦃  It really adds some beautiful flavor to the meat.
Another fun tip I’ve discovered in my years of gardening with herbs. To dry herbs for later use, just harvest them and put them in a wicker basket 🧺 and set it on the counter. They will naturally dry out and you can continue to use them all winter.

Herbs add such flavor to all kinds of dishes. Here there are basil, chives sage, oregano, and fennel.

I still have a few beautiful baby watermelons 🍉 I’m watching mature.

They are black diamond variety. My husband’s favorite.❤️
Let’s all do our best to help our fellow neighbors. We can all do our small part to making the world a kinder place.
Kindly,
Cathy McElroy