Karen Suennen
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::::: Karen Suennen —Chef

It’s really pretty basic.

I had always taken an interest in food.
To her credit, my mother fixed a home cooked dinner every single night without fail.

Cooking was a pragmatic duty for Mom, and if she did enjoy it, it was because she knew she was saving money. She does like the look of a clean plate. No waste.

It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I really understood how much people appreciated having food cooked for them. Good food I should say, because my first attempts at cooking were barely edible. Mom would not have me cook as a child because of the possibility of waste.

As a young adult, I discovered my very deep interest in growing things. Which has become more of an obsession lately. I started growing vegetables in our backyard and was amazed at the amounts of food that could be produced in a very small space.

I then faced the challenge of cooking bumper crops of vegetables–having friends over for dinner, night after night. I started reading a lot of cook books. (mostly because I couldn’t cook worth a darn back then)

Good God, how are we going to eat all of this cabbage? Why did I grow so much of it, I can’t waste it.

And so it began. Cooking. Always thinking about cooking. Cooking vegetables. Cooking cabbage with browned butter and sage, cabbage and shiitake mushroom wontons with ginger soy dipping sauce. Shredded cabbage on pork pozole with cilantro and lime. Russian cabbage and beet borscht topped with crème fraiche and fresh dill on and on and on.

My friends told me “you should be charging money for all the food you are serving”……….. Hmmmmm…………..That was in the 80’s.

So here we are now. Cooking, still cooking. Thinking about what to cook next. Why did I make so much of that? Why can’t I stop? I want to grow things. Squash. Must grow squash. Must plant seeds. What is the matter with me?

Finally, I have an answer. The best of both worlds is here, at The Spice, the perfect outlet for way too many vegetables, and the obsessive need to cook them.