I’m Chelsea.

I’m a reader, a writer, a cook, and (admittedly amateur) photographer.  And, apparently, a blogger.  Here, I celebrate and share my love for food and cooking.  In June 2012 I got my PhD in English literature, marking myself as someone who celebrates words – the way they feel on the tongue, the way they situate themselves into meaning.  It seems fitting that my great loves – cooking and words – should be combined in this way, here, in this funny little virtual space.

Blackberries are important to this blog not because they show up in lots of recipes, but because in literature they are often invoked as an idea of adventure and experimentation linked with words.  Falstaff and Prince Hal go “blackberry picking” in King Henry IV, Part I.  Galway Kinnell, from whom the title of the blog was taken, compares overripe, dew-drenched blackberries to certain mysterious words; both “squinch open” their unbidden juiciness at the urge of his tongue.

During graduate school I studied medieval literature, focusing on bodies and their consumptive practices, whether those be gluttonous or abstemious, steamy or straight. Within medieval tradition, theologians like Bede and Augustine compared reading to eating in a tradition called ruminatio: students of Scripture were directed to metaphorically “chew” the text, meditating and contemplating it, rolling it around like a cow chews her cud. If reading is analogous to eating, in the mother of all SAT analogies, writing must be analogous to cooking. As I put together ingredients in my kitchen, adding the correct quantities in the correct way, following procedure to produce a delicious meal, then here I put together the right words, choosing carefully and ordering well to give you a delicious reading experience. Thus I combine these two facets of myself.

I try to report here not just on major successes, but on process.  As an eternal student, what interests me is delicious, beautiful dishes, true.  But just as interesting are the so-so results, and even the failures: the dressing that wasn’t quite right.  The custard that didn’t set.  The homely loaf.  I want not only to produce successful food, but to learn about why things didn’t turn out the way I intended.  I think that helps us all get better together.

Let’s cook, then, and eat, and learn.  Across this virtual table together.  I can’t wait to dig in.

Xmas 2012-4871

25 thoughts on “About

  1. Wow! Am I honored!

    I’m going to make the chicken & salad for Sunday dinner this week. Since we grow our own garlic, it’ll be easy to make this as often as we want. Thanks, Chelsea!

    PS: I LOVE you, too!

  2. When I googled “blackberry eating in late september”, one of my favorite poems, I found you! What a marvelous writer you are, and your food looks lovely. I hope you’ll be posting more soon.

    • Jennifer: thanks for your kind words! Coincidentally enough, I logged on to upload a post and found your request. I will be trying to post more (and more frequently) soon, as the semester of school winds ever more quickly to a close.

  3. I just found your blog through Jess’s most recent post at SA and I am totally and completely in blog-crush-love! Can’t wait to try your bean dip, and see your take on The World’s Best Crackers (I tried my hand at them, too, and have continued to tweak and play with a pared-down version that suits my kiddos … am secretly hoping that you will have cracked the code and be making them JUST LIKE TJs! Now living in anticipation). Now off to peruse your archives …

    • Hannah,
      Thank you so much for your sweet words! I hope you enjoy the bean dip, and the archives as well! I’m crossing my fingers that my next trial run of The World’s Best Crackers (I will have to call them that, I think) goes as well as I think it will… time will tell.

  4. Pingback: Honesty and Irish Soda Bread | "blackberry-eating in late September"

  5. I love this description of you. It’s a perfect background to a blog that beautifully entwines a love of food, cooking and words.
    I think we have quite a lot in common, in regards to the background in literature. I studied English lit and Medieval history both in my final year of school and my first two years at university, alongside creative writing and anthropology. I’ve loved writing since I was a child and my mother is still encouraging me to try and publish one of the various works I’ve got on my computer. I write more out of love than anything else. Both writing and cooking are avenues for relaxation, creativity and personal escapism! Anyway, I love your blog. It’s beautiful. So happy to have found you x

    • Laura, thank you so much! How funny that we should run across each other, with such similar interests, across the enormousness of the internet! I loved the medieval history classes I took. Were you a Chaucer nut or did you like the Old English stuff better? Glad we’ve connected.

      • I’m a huge Geoffrey Chaucer fan (so nice to chat with someone who actually knows who he is! My husband wouldn’t have a clue, haha). I do love all the Old English / Middle English stuff too though… it’s got a beauty that we just don’t capture in modern day poetry and prose. Haha… the obsession has never really gone away. I actually call my brother (Charles) “Charlemagne” as I think it sounds way better! He tolerates it and misspells my name in retaliation! 😉

    • Just saw that I never responded to this. Thanks so much, and I’ve been happily digging in over in your little corner of the internet too. I haven’t gotten brave enough to try the whole experience of Persian rice yet, but I’m working my way toward it thanks to the beauty of your description.

    • Thanks for stopping by! Yes, the DSLR camera is an incredible tool. I still can’t belief how much more detail it brings to photos. But I think you can do justice with a point-and-click, provided you have a strong (preferably natural) light source to work with. It all takes practice, which is such a nice thing when it comes to food, because it means you get to taste it over and over!

      • I do, at the same time, find there are similarities between reading and eating (both getting something, whether it be grasping information or ingesting food); writing and cooking (both making something, whether ideas or food)

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