As I begin my seventh year writing the “Come Into My Kitchen” column in Wednesday’s FOOD section of the Kansas City Star, I am reminded of the adage, “Time flies when you’re having fun ….”
By MARY G. PEPITONE
In 2015, two short years from now, the column will turn 60 years old, and will have introduced Kansas Citians to thousands of cooks and even more recipes, from the comfort of their kitchens.
I joke that I haven’t written it for the entire nearly 60 years — even though some preschoolers recently thought I did.
Remarkable women have written this column before me: Judith Fertig (who wrote it for seven years) and Janet Majure (who wrote it for ten years) are two past columnists I’ve had the pleasure of being acquainted.
When swapping stories, one of the universal questions we have been asked is: “Who was your favorite person to feature?”
I always answer: “The last one I just visited…”
But some visits to kitchens linger longer with me than others. Like my own children, I can’t pick a favorite column, but with some that are featured, there is an instant ease and connection.
That’s how I felt about Maureen Dudgeon. She took grand prize in a cookie contest in which Jacques Torres and Dorie Greenspan served as judges.
As the winner, Dudgeon baked cookies in New York City with two-time James Beard Award Foundation winner Greenspan and made chocolates in Torres’ Chocolate factory.
Yes, I sampled her cookies, and savored her chocolate — but we connected when we spoke the language of food. As a doctor that deals with end-of-life issues, Dudgeon knows that memories are often tied to the food we eat and enjoy.
“Food feeds so much more than the body,” she says, and it’s true.
So this Wednesday in the “Come Into My Kitchen” column, you can read about Dudgeon, as we dish about food and life. And, you can bake her award-winning cookies — Portofignos — for a small taste of her sweet, sweet life.
Mary G. Pepitone is a freelance writer who lives in Leawood. She also writes the nationally syndicated home column and the much beloved Star column weekly Come Into My Kitchen featuring home cooks and their recipes.