Hope = Ripe + morels


I love a good recipe, especially one I’ve committed to memory. I’m busy, like most people, and a lazy cook at the end of the day. Skipping the part where I hunt through a tiny-fonted index and instead beeline for the bottom crisper drawer with a single mind (lentil soup) satisfies me in a way that’s so fundamental, I can’t name it.

I’ll mention – briefly, because it’s all my heart can manage – that memorized recipes and a sense for what goes together without a lot of fuss helps in the wake of bad news. I’m tight-stomached thinking of the victims in Boston and now those in Texas. And my eyes are narrowed at the Senate. How do you say? You voted against background checks with Newtown families standing before you? Who can cook in the wake of such brass and cowardice? It’s staggering.

At a time like this something beautiful helps. Cheryl Sternman Rule’s cookbook, Ripe, is a heart-lifter (the produce-focused recipes are organized by color) with ideas that pop off the pages like pins on a game wheel slap-slap-slapping against the flapper.


There’s a story preceding each recipe, a snappy little essay that leaves you feeling like you were the one on a Texas porch eating chunks of fresh pineapple.

One of my favorite features is the “Simple Uses” section at the end of every story, three suggested combinations for the star ingredient. There are no measurements, no instructions. You already know, the plus signs between each ingredient imply, how to make a curry, a crostata or a Caprese. Now, try them with this combination of ingredients. It’s an aside from a friend. A suggestion from the woman you met in the produce department. A recipe scribbled on the back of a receipt and tucked into your hand.

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This is how I cook anyway, the plus signs tapping into my impulsive approach to family dinners. Find, combine, give it a whirl.

So here is mine for you, an offhand suggestion using that sign of hope and of positivity itself, something we all need a good deal more of this week.

scrambled eggs = morels + white wine + coconut oil + eggs + parmesan + cilantro

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9 thoughts on “Hope = Ripe + morels

  1. Dear Jenni,
    I share your shock and sadness at the events of these past few days. Unbelievable. And I share your love of the plus sign that connects and adds delicious ingredients that didn’t even know that they belonged together. An egg or two gives birth to tasty dishes when combined with whatever is in the refrigerator. Your egg creation looks yummy.

    • Thank you, Sherri. Yes, it’s been a painful week but morels and eggs did lighten it up a little. Thank you for reading and for your own dedication to positivity and love. xo

  2. It is clear that for the most part Bostonians are thumbing their collective nose at the coward who attacked the marathon and their city simply by going about there business. I find that the activity of cooking, like singing, takes my mind along for the ride. It’s therapy, or can be. Like solving math problems, the “recipe” need not come form a text, rather just combine the facts you know with the appropriate process in one’s head: creative, absorbing, and it’s own reward, an antidote for so much ill.
    thank you, Jenni

    • And thank you, Pat. It is therapeutic to cook and go about the simple everyday things. I like the reference to math and cooking you make, especially since we’re talking about plus signs. See you soon.

  3. Jenni, I remember meeting you in Portland and am so grateful for this reminder of your lovely voice, perspective and work. As someone with deep ties to Boston (though I no longer live there, my siblings do), I also feel honored that you’d find any kind of comfort or quiet solace in cooking from Ripe during this particular moment in time.

    Sending you my thanks and a million little plus signs to keep you company. You’ve lifted my spirit.

    • Thank you, Cheryl! I’ll keep all your plus signs around me like a cloud this week. I hope the very best for your siblings and the rest of Boston as they deal with the pain and the incident unfolds. Many thanks for your visit and hope we meet again someday at another conference or elsewhere. Best of wishes.

  4. Thank you Jenni for a thoughtful post. My husband and I have been out of wi fi range and are still gathering information about what happened in Boston and what is known about a suspect as we make our way home from a cabin on the Imnaha River in eastern Oregon where we have been writing, hiking and sharing our thoughts with three others who joined us for the writers´retreat. What a contrast. The morels remind me of times I have hunted morels in the woods with friends and family. Nice memories.

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