We love to eat here at Vocal. We’re not fussy; we’re fine with a bowl of popcorn in front of the TV on a rainy afternoon, especially if we’re in the right company. Sometimes a crisp apple on a fall day does the trick. But food made with love is something special, something unique, and the Nourished challenge showed us how many different ways there are to express love and affection by what gets served on a plate.
Speaking of many different ways… congratulations to our winner, pastry chef Suze Kay, who did the legwork for us in ‘A cookie to change your career, bag you a spouse, and make your world better’. What a terrific piece about a moment of crisis — not just for the author, but for all of us during the darkest days of the Covid pandemic — transformed by hard work, love and imagination into a new way of seeing the world. Suze’s boyfriend, packing the sugar into the cup so hard she had to pry it out with a knife: that’s commitment. Reader, she married him, of course.
In second place ‘Fried Zucchini and a Sense of Normalcy’ by J. Otis Haas takes us back to another tough time, those shadowy days in New York after 9/11, and is a testament to friendship, and to the way that folks will surprise you, if you let them. Who would have guessed that ‘gutter punk’ Ulf would have such a way with fragrant olive oil? This piece made us think that it’s high time we had some pals round for dinner.
And for our runners-up — congratulations to all of you too, what beautiful stories, what tasty recipes, what moving conclusions you have drawn from your experiences. We’d never thought about what it would take to make nachos inside the walls of a prison — or what a meal like that could mean. Thanks, Kyle Cejka, for that — and best of luck to you. Morgan Rhianna Bland’s ode to her Nanny’s soothing mashed potatoes made us remember all the times we’ve just been quietly and simply taken care of by someone who really sees us, and how lucky we are to have that in our lives. Raymond Taylor writes so thoughtfully about what it means to have a friend truly consider your needs but not make a big deal out of it. No bolognese for a vegetarian — a delicious walnut pasta instead.
You can bet we’ll be doing a lot more cooking for our friends and loved ones in the coming days. Thanks to you all for reminding us what it means to truly be fed. You can check out the full list of winners HERE and learn about our current challenges below: