Sherrie Flick

Sentences and Food

Food, Writing, Cooking, Gardening. That's what I think about.

Pittsburgh Quarterly Food Column and Other Things



Hello blog world. I’ve moved most of my garden-to-table food writing over to a regular column for Pittsburgh Quarterly magazine. If you’d like to read more of my food writing, please subscribe to this wonderful print magazine.

I also have a new food essay in the just published Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie anthology edited by Peggy Wolff (University of Nebraska Press). On sale now.

Some more food writing is included in the series “The Other Things We Do,” which I put together as October writer-in-residence over at Necessary Fiction.

Also: it’s time to plant the garlic.




Broccoli and Critters

I don’t mind sharing my food with critters traveling through the yard. The birds eat some of the berries. I’ve let the deer have all of the white pattypans at the top of the garden as long as they leave the green ones in the middle for me. It’s when the groundhog decides to take a single bite out of every tomato or gnaws my carrot tops to the ground that I want to be the hunting type.

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Lemon Balm: Use It Up

My home is perched on a steep hill in Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood known as the Slopes. My back yard slopes upward away from the back of my house. It’s long and narrow and each summer for the past 10 years I have dug up a bit more lawn. It’s now a series of gardens that my household eats from June to November.

Sometimes it’s overwhelming to take care of all the plants. Sometimes it’s easy. I’m protective of them–the plants–and can get very angry at deer and groundhogs who try to come and eat them up. I was comparing the plants to children the other night until my friend Bob reminded me that I also eat them, eventually, too. So that metaphor doesn’t really extend in a healthy way.

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First Tomato Off the Vine


Grilled Cheese Improvisation: 10pm Miracle

I’ve been a bit over scheduled these past few months. And it isn’t like I haven’t been thinking about food and eating food and making food. I just haven’t been writing about it. I would like to discuss ramps and the local mushrooms I’ve been cooking with–I’d like to talk about the thin quiche I made in a tart pan and also the variety of banana breads I’ve baked. I would like to write about my love for kale and the fact that my peas are planted and sprouting.

That is the future. The present is grilled cheese.

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Grilled Cheese Improvisation: Sharp Cheddar with Fresh Chives and Sage

Some people see a bobbing Robin hop across their lawn and think Spring. For me, it’s the first spiky head of chives poking up on the edge of the herb garden. The level of green emanating from this plant makes me stop and take deep hopeful breaths. Spring. Is. Here.

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Chocolate-Beet Cake with Cayenne, Fresh Pear, and Black Pepper

Beets bobbed like roiling hearts in the pan of boiling water. I measured the flour and baking soda into a big green bowl. Turned up the radio as a Felice Brothers song came on. Added salt. When I grabbed the pepper grinder and then the cayenne, I knew I’d tugged my recipe into uncharted waters.

I’ve warmed lately to the idea of improvisation with my baking—adding savory ingredients to sweet. Trying to predetermine and create a kind of taste that’s new to me–fresh to my palate. I think I’m trying to surprise myself.

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The Bake Sale: Considered

Lately, I’ve been considering food events with two of my food friends Christina Worsing and Leslie Fleisher. The kind of occasions we’ve been discussing involve both creatively swapping food and forming different kinds of community. The three of us have cooked many, many meals together.

As we tapped away at our email discussion (Leslie and me in Pittsburgh, Christina recently moved to San Francisco), an MFA student from Chatham University where I teach emailed to ask if I could contribute to a bake sale.

The words “bake sale” immediately escorted nostalgia into the room. I remembered church bake sales from my youth. I remembered high school sports team bake sales, and I remembered—of course—my various stops at bake sales set up on sidewalks and in halls over the years. The picking up of a bundle of snickerdoodle cookies or those wonderful omnipresent sheet pan brownies with the thick chocolate frosting on top? Yum.

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Spicy, Spinachy, Healthy, Hot Cold Food

Sneezing. Coughing. Slumping. Napping. Groggy-headed thinking. That has been my winter. Because of this day-to-day reality, my blog writing has suffered. I apologize.

I’m back now–cautiously healthy and cooking/baking up a storm. I thought I’d share with you some of the foods I ate while sick that made me feel so much better.

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Grilled Cheese Improvisation: Sauerkraut with Sharp Cheddar on Rye

I pulled a container of homemade sauerkraut from the sack, then I pulled out a hunk of local cheese. I had already made fresh rye bread, and thus the sauerkraut-cheddar-rye grilled cheese was born.

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