Chances are you have a cookbook on your shelf by Sarah Fritschner. She has written four, including Express Lane Cookbook and Vegetarian Express Lane Cookbook. Sarah was a food writer and editor for the Courier-Journal for 24 years. She was also the coordinator of Louisville’s Farm to Table program before the program ended in 2019.
What have you accepted about yourself?
I have emotional responses to everything both good and bad. I don’t think that is very professional so I try to tame them. When I’m speaking, people see it as passion. It’s not a great trait especially in a conflict situation. I would rather be a little more thoughtful and measured.
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
Helping people to become more comfortable with cooking a nice serviceable meal or dish by themselves or for the family without a lot of worry and stress.
What can you not quite get the knack of?
Baking. I don’t even try anymore because I’m such a flop at it.
What did you learn from hanging out with Julia Child?
She thought that everyone can teach you something. I was with her three different times and each time she asked me how I did a particular cooking task. For example, she wanted to know how I peel my tomatoes. We were once at Science Hill Inn and she asked the chef there how she prepared her fried chicken. She was very humble. The salt of the earth. Very practical and interested in everyone else.
How do you jump start your day?
I make a pot of Earl Grey tea from Heine Brothers. I drink two or three cups. I have plain yogurt and blueberries with honey from Northern Kentucky or yogurt with apples and raisins.
What was a defining moment in your life?
I have been obsessed with horses my entire life. I had a friend living in Asheville, and three weeks after 9/11 she wrote to tell me that she had stage 3 ovarian cancer. She ended that letter with “Sarah, get a horse.” She knew I had wanted one all my life. I thought, ‘I’m not getting richer, younger, or smarter. What am I waiting for?’ By November 14 I had a horse. His name is Vicar. I still have him.
What is your daily schedule like?
I get up at 5am and I start work at 6. I will work until 2 or 3pm and then walk to the gym (Highland Fitness), work out, and then walk home. That’s two miles round trip. I’ll have a glass of wine. That is my signal that the day is ended.
What does the average person in Kentucky not understand about food?
If we could keep more of our agriculture here we might be able to raise our standard of living. Eating more local food is an easy way to begin to change the food system.
What makes you angry?
I thought we all learned in school about accepting foreigners and having pride that America was such a melting pot. I think we saw pictures in the history textbooks of the SS St. Louis and the Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany that the United States turned away. It makes me sad and frustrated that we can’t as a population recognize the richness that immigrants bring to us as they assimilate.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten?
Sea urchin, pig’s ear, tripe. You name it, I’ve probably eaten it.
What would you want your 25-year-old self to know?
That life is practice.
I have too many…
Cookbooks. I’ve been going through them pretty brutally recently. They were really the only thing that I collected. I used to have maybe a hundred.
What should every woman taste at least once?
How do you keep your spirits up?
I build in rewards. Especially in a long, discouraging project, I’ll build in little victories. I’m certainly self-motivated, and I am a person who works for change for the better. Changing the food system is really hard and that can take a long time.
By Lucy M. Pritchett | Photo by Melissa Donald