Cooking with an Expert in Aspen

Cooking with an Expert in Aspen

In a constant effort to fit cooking into my life, not as something to dread but as an event to look forward to, I consistently fail, and it’s not that I don’t know how to cook. I just seem to have lost my mojo, somewhere between moving from here:


to here:


I lost my momentum, and my ability to focus on cooking (and no, I did not design this kitchen).

The problem is, my family is rebelling and when there is a problem it needs to be fixed, so I am beginning to look outside to find inspirational resources. This is how I found Jackie Mansfield and her blog, Edibletcetera.

Jackie is a passionate foodie/creative chef, former newspaper columnist, sales and marketing professional, and  is the author of, ‘Essential Etiquette – a Guide to Personal & Professional Success’. Her bio on her website states that she is a stickler for good manners; an avid hunter of edible wild fungi; considered to be ‘the Food Police’, for she truly believes that we are what we eat; an effective Dog yeller (don’t believe in whispering to dogs – a good hearty yell usually does the trick); world traveler; downhill skier; music lover; dark chocolate addict; creator of unusual martinis; nature lover; shoe and jewelry collector and last but not least, allegedly in possession of uncompromising taste and wit.”

I can attest that she is all that and more and I am counting on her to get me back into the kitchen with new zest and an un amour pour la cuisine  (don’t tell her but I just burnt my oatmeal while writing this post).

With this in mind, I will be sharing with you my successes, and my failures, and since Jackie will hopefully be a part of my journey, I asked her to be our guest blogger today.


Meet Jackie:

I displayed a passion for cooking at age 3; I insisted on working with the pastry leftovers from my mother’s apple pie… unfortunately, my creativity took place in the garden – being especially fond of flowers, dirt, etc.

The resulting confection presented for baking was a grey lump embedded with grass, grit and who knows what else. With slight of hand, Mum switched it out with fresh pastry, popped it in the oven and I watched with amazement as my ‘white pie’ became a golden treat.

My love of Indian food started early; Dad took over the kitchen and created curries that he’d developed a passion for, while in India during WW2. I happily ate vindaloo before I could spell it.

At 13, I cooked our traditional English Sunday lunch for the first time – I don’t recall complaints other than my sister’s violent aversion to carrots.

On a roll, at 18 I hosted my first dinner party. It was my interpretation of ‘coq au vin’ with caramelized oranges in syrup for dessert. My college pals were guinea pigs. I didn’t use a recipe, just adding what seemed right. Everyone was ecstatic about the meal; probably to do with the amount of alcohol I used.

Years at Art College passed, along with culinarily ignorant BF’s. One ate muesli with chopsticks and drank liquidized green peppers; a misguided health-nut with an unhealthy attitude towards my talents, I developed a passion for hosting dinner parties. Friends were well fed and happy to be experimented on.

My most noteworthy achievement in feeding people was single-handedly preparing an eight-course Indian dinner for 150 guests.

The internet allowed my passion for writing, cooking and a reasonable photographic talent to come together – once I understood what ‘blog’ meant.

Edibletcetera was launched in August 2010.

My goal is simple – share great recipes and ideas aimed at busy people who love good food.

I’ve occasionally ranted on today’s lack of good manners and other topics that rattle my cage, being qualified to do so as I’ve written a regular column for ‘BizJournals’ on the topic and authored ‘Essential Etiquette – A Guide to Personal & Professional Success’ – so if you have questions about manners, I can juggle that answer along with how to make hollandaise sauce in your Cuisinart.

Back to my blog; I’ve cooked, eaten and photographed every dish myself. A couple ended up in the trash but that’s part of what makes culinary experimentation challenging and fun.

Edibletcetera’s format is simple; each week’s recipe is displayed with a list of categories on the right for readers to explore (un-food-related topics are in the Etcetera category).

I hope you’ll ‘follow’ my blog and, to get a glimpse into my fun and whimsical articles that I love to share, ‘like’ me on Facebook.

Lastly, I’m a huge fan of ‘Aspen Real Life’ and its creator, Jillian Livingston. You’ll find a link to her blog on mine; I believe that if you aren’t cooking or eating, you should be taking advantage of everything Aspen has to offer.



  1. Burnt oatmeal? Yikes. I’ll be over in a jiffy to show you a trick or two with oatmeal – or – did you know that if you soak it overnight in water/apple juice/milk/whiskey, whatever you prefer, its almost cooked itself by the next morning? 🙂

  2. I can attest to Jackie’s irresistable recipes as she has shared more than a few with me. She makes it all look so organized and simple! I have tried a few of the recipes she has posted and they are easy and extremely delicious!! You girls should save the whiskey and try one of Jackie’s martinis. GREAT article, Jilly!! xo Maggie

  3. You need to show how you make the oatmeal with Whiskey to papa Carl Eugene!! He can’t start his day without and why he is always the fastest to the bottom of the mountain!! 🙂

  4. Hi JAckie, I am Patti Wall’s friend from NYC…this is a great site and I am happy to have found it (via Patti on FB). I shall keep following you, and the best of luck!! Although clearly you are a talented and creative chef. All the best x


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