Accessible Text-Only Version: I love it when you make me coffee in the morning.

a cookbook memoir by Rachel E. Church


Pattie Pond Perch (for breakfast)
Shaved Cucumber Sandwich
Beef and Beans Stir Fry

Baked Beans
Waffles (for dinner)

Pour Over Coffee
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos


Tom did most of the cooking, but he enjoyed it more. Your mother used to say at school “I wonder what Dad’s making for dinner?” and people would look at her like she was crazy. But he got home at four and I got home [from work] at five so it made since that he cooked, because otherwise I’d be in the kitchen all night.
– Beverly

Pattie Pond Perch (for breakfast)

What you need:
approx. 1 doz. fresh caught white perch
tempura batter mix

1. Filet perch.
2. Mix tempura batter per package directions.
3. In a cast iron or other heavy frypan, add enough oil to cover ½ inch up the sides.
4. Heat on medium high heat, preferably outside on side burner of a grill or propane burner to avoid making the house smell like fish.
5. Place filets in batter individually to coat then put them into the oil. Only cook a few at a time so they don’t touch.
6. Remove from oil when batter is golden (it will only take a few minutes on each side) and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
7. Continue to coat and fry each filet until all are cooked.
8. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings.

How to Filet White Perch

1. Using a sharp knife (preferably a filet knife), make an incision just behind the gills, cutting down about ½ way through the fish.

2. Beginning at your previous incision behind the gills, use the tip of your knife to cut along the backbone about a half-inch in, running your blade along the backbone, keeping the blade angled down slightly.

3. Once you are past the dorsal fin (and thus the ribcage), you can push your blade all the way through and cut all the way to the end of the fish, with your blade angled slightly down to cut along the backbone.

4. Back towards the head, use the center of your blade with gentle downward pressure to separate the meat from the ribcage, pealing the flesh back as you go. This will take a number of passes, separating a little at a time until the meat is all free from ribcage. Be patient!

5. Slice the skin to remove the filet from the belly of the fish.

6. With skin side down, make a small cut between the skin and meat at the tail end. Holding the skin, gently move your blade along the skin under the flesh with slight downward pressure to remove the skin.

Shaved Cucumber Sandwich

What you need:

2 slices sandwich bread
1 small cucumber (or 4-5 in. piece of larger
1 slice of cheese (optional)

1. Spread mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread.
2. Peel cucumber (optional). Use peeler to shave cucumber lengthwise into thin ribbons.
3. Place one slice of bread mayonnaise side up, top with mound of cucumber ribbons. Add a slice of cheese (optional). Place remaining slice of bread on cucumber ribbons, mayonnaise side down.

Makes 1 sandwich.

Beef n’ Beans

What you need:

½ lb. minute steak (or top round steak)
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 pkg. frozen green beans (French cut are best)
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. oil or shortening

1. Slice meat into thin strips. (Placing meat in freezer for a few minutes will help.)
2. Cover with marinade mixture and let stand 10 min.
3. Cook beans a little. Drain and save ¼ c. cooking water.
4. Heat oil or shortening. Add meat and sauté 20 seconds.
5. Add beans and stir 20 or 30 seconds more.
6. Add water from beans. Cover and simmer 1 minute.
7. Serve immediately on shallow dish.

Makes 2-3 Servings. Do not double this recipe.


At first it was really, really difficult. My first semester I was down there I had of sense of guilt, because you kids were four, six, and eight, I believe. I had a lot of guilt feeling like I was supposed to be home taking care of you guys, rather than being down in Boston.
But then, as those three years went on, that sense of guilt transitioned to a sense of accomplishment: that I’d been able to do both grad school and raise kids… with the help of other people, like your father, and your grandparents, and Margaret Wood.
– Laura


Adapted from the Bakewell Cream biscuit recipe.

What you need:

4 cups flour
4 tsp. Bakewell Cream
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
½ c. shortening
1 ½ c. cold milk

1. Mix and sift dry ingredients.
2. Add shortening and cut into
tiny pieces with pastry cutter.
3. Add milk. Stir quickly with a fork.
4. Turn onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 times.
5. Roll or pat to ½” to ¾” thick. Cut with biscuit cutter (or drinking glass).
6. Important: top each biscuit with a little piece of butter.
7. Bake at 475°F for 5 minutes, then turn off the oven. Leave in the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until they’re golden brown.

Baked Beans

What you need:

2 lbs. dried beans (northern whites, yellow eye, or
Jacob’s cattle)
1 onion, chopped
¼ c. molasses
½ c. brown sugar
¼ tsp. dry mustard powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
pinch pepper
hot water
1 piece salt pork, meat side scored (or 2-3 strips
bacon, chopped)

1. Rinse beans. Soak beans overnight in cold water.
2. Add onion to slow cooker. Top with beans.
3. In a separate bowl combine molasses, brown sugar, dry mustard, baking powder, and pepper. (Add salt if not using pork or bacon.) Top with approx. 1 qt. hot water. Stir to dissolve sugar. Pour over beans.
4. Place salt pork or bacon on top.
5. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours, or until beans are tender.

Waffles (for dinner)

Adapted from “Mom’s Basic Waffle Batter” from Jeff Smith’s The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American.

What you need:

1¾ c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
3 egg yolks, beaten
4 tbsp. melted butter or oil
1½ c. milk
3 egg whites, beaten until stiff

1. Mix dry ingredients.
2. Mix in egg yolks, melted butter or oil, and milk. Blend until just combined. Do not overmix.
3. Gently fold in beaten egg whites.
4. Spray hot waffle iron with cooking spray. Add batter and cook following waffle iron directions.


Nevins jokes about “when I live at home again,” but it’s not really a joke. Some semesters I would only be home on the weekends, or at times only every other weekend. A ritual we’ve developed during this time is date night on the evening I come home. It could be dinner out or he cooks something special at home; the important part is that he plans it, and that it’s intentional one-on-one time together.
– Rachel

Pour Over Coffee

What you’ll need:

medium-dark roast whole bean coffee
sugar (optional)
pour over coffee brewer
#2 coffee filter
coffee grinder

1. Bring water to a boil in kettle.
2. Once water comes to boil, take off heat (if not using kettle with automatic shut off).
3. Grind enough coffee beans for 1-2 tbsp. ground coffee.
4. Add coffee grounds to filter in pour over coffee brewer. Place on top of mug.
5. Gently pour hot water over grounds, making sure all grounds are saturated. It will take 2-3 times to fill mug, being careful to not overflow.
6. Remove brewer, discard or compost filter and grounds.
7. Stir in 1 heaping tsp. sugar (optional).

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

What you need:

1 large or two small sweet potato(es)
1 tbsp. olive oil
¼ c. diced onion
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. cumin
chili powder to taste
1 package taco-sized corn tortillas
½ c. cheddar cheese, shredded
fresh cilantro (optional)
sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (optional)
avocado (optional)
hot sauce (optional)

1. Poke the sweet potato(s) with a fork a handful times to create holes for steam to escape. Place in microwave and cook for 5 minutes. Check with fork to see if tender all the way through. If not, microwave in 1 or 2-minute increments until tender.
2. While sweet potato cooks, heat oil to small pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add beans and spices. Cook until beans are hot and slightly softened.

3. For each serving, place two tortillas on a microwave safe plate. Top with a sprinkle of cheese. Microwave for 15-30 second to warm tortillas and start to melt cheese.
4. Slice sweet potato(s) into ½ inch slices, then cut slices into 1-inch strips.
5. Top tortillas with 2-3 spoonfuls of beans and 2-3 pieces of sweet potato. Optional toppings include fresh cilantro (destemmed), sliced fresh avocado, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), and hot sauce.

Makes approximately 8 tacos
(lunch for two for 2 days)


What you need:

1 lb. bucatini or thick spaghetti
4 large eggs
1 c. freshly grated parmesan
8 slices bacon, cut into ½ in. pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
freshly ground black pepper
fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta. Cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and parmesan. Set aside.
3. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Reserve enough fat in skillet to generously coat.
4. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes.
5. Remove from heat. Add cooked pasta and toss until fully coated in bacon fat.
6. Pour in egg and cheese mixture and stir vigorously until creamy. Add pasta water a couple tablespoons a time to loosen sauce if needed. Add bacon and toss.
7. Garnish with parsley (optional).

About the Artist:

Rachel E. Church is an intermedial artist, book artist, and printmaker in Maine. She has a B.A. in Art with a concentration in Printmaking and Entrepreneurial Studies, and a B.F.A. in Studio Art with a minor in Book Arts, both from the University of Southern Maine. She will earn her M.F.A. from the University of Maine in August 2020. Rachel is currently a member of Running with Scissors Studios in Portland, Maine, and teaches printmaking and bookmaking workshops.

When not in the studio, she enjoys traveling, cooking, camping, hiking, and sewing.