Cooking, Eating, and Diving In

“I just have to dive in.” That’s what I’ve been telling myself and others I meet when I tell them about my new food adventure. I’ve been wanting to do cooking demos and share my joy of cooking and mealtime with other people for quite a while. This week I finally just dove in and hosted my first pop-up dinner demo. It went remarkably well, with a few hiccups of course, and I’m excited to do another one!

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My Granny Garrison with my Aunty Sue, cooking away. That could very well be a tomato in Granny’s hand.

I’ve loved to cook and eat for as long as I can remember. Some of my first memories in the kitchen were with my maternal grandmother, preparing elaborate holiday meals as she had me roll out sugar cookie dough to keep me in the kitchen, yet occupied. I remember her exploring a German menu, cooking schnitzel and sausages and homemade sauerkraut. I remember in the summers when she’d let me, my brother and each of my cousins choose and prepare our very own menu for dinner one night. Cooking and mealtime was special, revered, almost sacred. You took your time and prepared everything with love and care.

So when my best childhood girlfriend sparked an idea about doing cooking demos in my house, I was intrigued…skeptical, too, but intrigued more so. “Would anyone really want to watch me cook?” I wondered. Would they want to come into MY home; listen to me gush about fresh tomatoes or my advice about seeking out local food? Perhaps the biggest question for me was a bit more practical — could I make a business of this?

Back to “diving in.” I hosted a small group of people who I knew shared my love of cooking and food, whom I trust to give me good, honest feedback and whom I happen to like, too. And they helped me answer those questions plus a whole bunch more. Based on their insight and feedback, I think I might be on to something. I would have never found that feeling that I just might be on the right track if I’d just sat on the side of the pool, dangling my feet in the water. Diving in is the only way for me to figure some things out.

I’m going to host another pop-up dinner demo in the coming weeks, and just like the inaugural event, I’m going to do a beta demo, applying what I learned from the last one and refining some more before I officially launch. In exchange, I’m looking for good, honest feedback and help securing future paid events. To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s my menu from the first event:

Prosciutto melon bites with fresh basil

Fresh End-of-Summer Gazpacho 

Seasonal greens with roasted fig vinaigrette, shallots, blue cheese and walnuts

Julia Child’s Roast Chicken 

Macerated peaches in rum and honey over vanilla bean ice cream

I dove in. I’m still treading water, but I’m in it. If you want to be a guinea pig at my next dinner or you’re interested in learning more, subscribe to this blog or send me a private email at jen@jenssidedishes.com. I’d love to welcome you into my home and my kitchen.

5 thoughts on “Cooking, Eating, and Diving In

  1. Heather

    I love love this!! I am so excited for you! If I lived in Denver I would be at every one of your dinner demos!! I am sure I will be flying in for one! Xoxox. So proud of you.

  2. Pingback: Cooking, Eating and Diving In – The Side Dish Group

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