"Edible Essays: Adventures in Food Writing" with Jennifer Cognard-Black at Iowa Writers' House

Friday, March 10, 2017 to Sunday, March 12, 2017

A recipe is a slice of history—an archival document that offers information about a recipe writer’s family structure, ethnicity, economic status, diet, and geography. In this workshop, participants will consider the recipe as a form of familial storytelling and meaning-making all its own and provide participants with the opportunity to excavate their own recipes for family stories and write an extended memoir essay, or “Edible Essay.”  Bringing in a favorite, cherished, despised, secret, and/or “lost” family recipe, participants will discuss what aspects of memory are contained within recipes—including both intimate but also communal and national memories.  Professor Cognard-Black will connect participants’ own recipes to other examples of recipes recorded at specific historical moments that tell certain cultural stories. Ultimately, participants will engage in Recipe Recollection writing prompts that will launch their own “Edible Essay" and also have an opportunity to share their work as part of a final celebratory reading.

For more information and to register, visit:


"Becoming a Great Essayist," a lecture series with Jennifer Cognard-Black through The Great Courses

If you have a clever anecdote, an interesting memory, a new way to explain how something works, or an opinion on a social or political issue, then you have an essay in you.  Discover the keys to unlocking your potential in essay writing through "Becoming a Great Essayist" with Professor Jennifer Cognard-Black.

I write. I cook. I travel. I read. I mother. I teach. I edit. I collaborate. Walt Whitman once wrote that we humans contains multitudes, and I see my own life's work to expand the known while seeking the new. Food is an ideal metaphor for what I mean: a homemade cake is both comfort and challenge, whereas finishing my first tarte tatin made my fingers tingle, my toes curl. When I spend myself with heat and energy, I am teacher, feminist, writer, editor. When I seek stillness and beauty, I am reader and cook. When I am curious, I travel.  And when I wish to connect—as E. M. Forster said, “Only connect”—I am mother, spouse, friend, and collaborator. Welcome to my site.

I write. I cook. I travel. I read. I mother. I teach. I edit. I collaborate. Walt Whitman once wrote that we humans contain multitudes, and I see my own life's work to expand the known while seeking the new. Food is an ideal metaphor for what I mean: a homemade cake is both comfort and challenge, whereas finishing my first tarte tatin made my fingers tingle, my toes curl. When I spend myself with heat and energy, I am teacher, feminist, writer, editor. When I seek stillness and beauty, I am reader and cook. When I am curious, I travel.  And when I wish to connect—as E. M. Forster said, “Only connect”—I am mother, spouse, friend, and collaborator. Welcome to my site.


From Curlers to Chainsaws: Women and Their Machines

Winner of the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards.

AVAILABLE FROM MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS

Edited by Joyce Dyer, Jennifer Cognard-Black, and Elizabeth MacLeod Walls

“The toothsome essays found in From Curlers to Chainsaws...discover relentlessly revved and ready answers in the existential engineering of our everyday appliances and devices. These are works of stunning effort and raw oomph. These writers ratchet and roll, calculate and calibrate. They enter elegantly the number of ways nothing goes into the infinite.”

— Michael Martone, author of Winesburg, Indiana

“This is a book full of mechanized pleasures and frustrations unto torture, but more important, a book of women’s voices so clear and diverse and funny and heartbreakingly individual that you hurry from one to the next, even as you wish to linger longer with all. A smart and useful and wise anthology....”

— Bill Roorbach, author of Life among Giants

Learn more...

Books That Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal

AVAILABLE FROM NYU PRESS

Edited by Jennifer Cognard-Black and Melissa A. Goldthwaite, with a Foreword by Marion Nestle

"Books That Cook is more than simply another anthology; it’s a living text to be taken into the kitchen and spattered with sauces and gravy. In short, it’s meant to cook."

— John S. Sledge, Virginia Quarterly Review

"A buffet of poems, stories, essays and recipes.... Food lovers and cookbook collectors will savor this literary stew."

— Kirkus Reviews

Whether a five-star chef or beginning home cook, any gourmand knows that recipes are far more than a set of instructions on how to make a dish. They are culture-keepers as well as culture-makers, both recording memories and fostering new ones. 

Organized like a cookbook, Books that Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal is a collection of American literature written on the theme of food: from an invocation to a final toast, from starters to desserts. Learn more...


Upcoming Events

Visiting Writer: “Edible Essays: Adventures in Food Writing.” Iowa Writers' House. University of Iowa, Iowa City. A series of linked food writing workshops, 10-12 March 2017.

Lecture: "Character--or Who We Are in the Dark." St. Mary's Public Libraries. Lexington Park, Maryland. 1 April 2017.

See all Past Events →