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Mollie Katzen and the Moosewood cookbooks taught me to cook

It’s not often that you get to meet an author whose work has influenced your life in a deep way.

When I was 22, I met Judy Blume and I was tongue-tied. Star-struck at coming face to face with the woman behind the books that I read and re-read so many times… How could I possibly tell her how I grew up along with the stories she told, how much she had influenced me as a writer and as a person? It was overwhelming to consider. At the end, I could just barely stammer out something lame along the lines of “Thank you! I love your books!”

Mollie Katzen Moosewood Cookbook Elizabeth Yarnell Glorious One-Pot Meals cookbook
Elizabeth Yarnell and Mollie Katzen swap cookbooks

Last week I had the honor of meeting Mollie Katzen, author of the seminal work on creative vegetarian cuisine, The Moosewood Cookbook, and all the Moosewood cookbooks that have followed in the more than three decades since.

In the twenty years that have passed since meeting Judy Blume, I’ve realized that opportunities to meet personal idols like these don’t come around every day. So I attended the A.W.A.R.E. luncheon in Denver where Mollie was speaking about healthy eating and brought along a gift to give to a woman who has given me so much.

I had donated a Glorious One-Pot Meals party pack (an autographed cookbook, DVD, potholder, and private cooking demonstration party at the winner’s house for up to 50 friends) to the luncheon’s chance drawing in support of Alzheimer’s research, and was excited to hear Mollie speak and hopefully meet her, too.

The Moosewood was the very first cookbook I ever purchased for myself, long before I ever imagined that healthy cooking would become a centerpiece of my life, back when I moved into my very first apartment alone and wanted to throw a dinner party. With the Moosewood in hand, I learned I could cook. Later, it became my bible when I married, bought a house, and harvested an abundance of vegetables from our organic garden. My copy is tattered and worn, dog-eared and stained. I know of no better compliment and testimony to give a cookbook author.

And now, it is signed by Mollie Katzen herself. 🙂

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