Hi. I’m Jen. Nice to meet you.

Great apple photo goes here

Hi. I’m Jen, your veggie/organics contributor. That’s so Portland of me, I know.

me

While camping, I asked my sister, “If you could have a t-shirt that said ‘I heart …’ on it, what would it say?” She said, “warthogs.” (This makes sense; we were in Africa at the time.) My answer? “breakfast.”

Aside from that, I’m the vegetarian who totally digs predators.

jen and cheetahs

Working at the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia. Yes, I'm giving the cats pieces of raw donkey meat that I carved up that morning.

I listen to pop music when cooking. I’m also the best pogo stick-er I know. (Never mind that I don’t actually know others.) I have a fairly dismal sense of direction and am a laughable snowboarder and pancake flipper. But I’m a decent photographer, beginner quilter and a twin. No: we’re not identical. Unless you count attire:

twins

I'm the helpful one pressing the button.

For work, I’m essentially an Oregon cliché: a graphic designer and writer for a conservation non-profit. I bike to work — when it’s sunny.

There’s nothing lavish in my kitchen. No microwave or mixer or food processor or nice knives. Instead, there are lots of mismatched plates and hand-me-down cookware. Which I adore.

The vegetarian thing started as a kid when mother plopped beef on my plate exclaiming, “You’re not leaving ‘til you finish it all.” I spent a lot of time sitting. And campaigning for face-free meals.

Alas, my surprising cancer diagnosis a couple years ago jump-started a more refined relationship with food. (And I thought I ate well BEFORE.) Now: even more organics, whole grains and greens. Less cheese, whites and sugar. Although the cheese bit is somewhat depressing, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the joys in life — like sharing meals with people I care about.

And so began the balance of emotional glee vs. what’s best physically. Example: another margarita, and extra sour cream on those nachos, please! — in one corner, versus — oh, I’ll have water, this fistful of vitamins, and organic brown rice with steamed greens.

But I’m learning, and still insist both delight and nutrition are essential … as long as the meat stays on your plate.

Oregon rain

FOOD LOVES: Beets. Coffee. Indian food. That crispy part on the edge of lasagna. Lemon. Artichokes. Tofu. Tacos. Mustard. Garden greens. Anything pumpkin. Smell of baking bread. Rooibos tea. Free samples. Chickpeas. Croissants. The way brussels sprouts grow. More mustard. Zucchini. Gruyere. Food carts. Ginger. Fresh mango. Lots of avocado.

FOOD NON-LOVES: Well, meat. Large bits of tomato (no fretting, salsa and sauces are fine, it’s the fresh, drippy ones I dislike, eww).  And sometimes raisins.

Check out all of my posts here.

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5 Responses to Hi. I’m Jen. Nice to meet you.

  1. Julene says:

    You are my absolute favorite person.

  2. Adam says:

    Cool blog Jen, good for us cancer survivors!

  3. Hi Jen,
    What a treat to read your blog. I’m looking forward to new recipe updates. Mikey and I both love to cook. The challenge we’re up against here in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is foreign ingredients. I’ll be watching for your recipes with ingredients that are locally grown.
    Tonight’s dinner includes wine (imported from S.Africa) and a spoon – for beef pilau. I learned yesterday that pilau is commonly made here during the family Eid celebrations following Ramadan, whether the families are Muslim or Christian. Eid Mubarak!

    Best always,
    Alyssa

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  5. SunnyDay says:

    …Jen, who would have thought years after college, we’d re-connect via facebook, I’d find out you’re living in the state where my daddy’s from (Portland, OR), you’d be a cancer survivor and write about food.. a girl after my own heart! I love your posts.. keep up the good work! Proud of you!

    … an old friend, proud from afar!!

    xoxo
    Sundé

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