Schakowsky talks food, cooking at Spoonfoolery


Zamone Perez/Daily Senior Staffer

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston.) eats apple pie crisp at Spoonfoolery Creative Cooking and Baking in Evanston. She visited the cooking school after meeting the owner in line at a local Starbucks.

Zamone "Z" Perez, Reporter

When Mamata Reddy walked into the Evanston Starbucks on Dempster Street during the after-school rush, she got a lot more than her regular skinny vanilla latte.

The local business owner’s wait included a chat with her congresswoman, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston), about a range of topics, including Spoonfoolery Creative Cooking & Baking, Reddy’s Evanston-based business.

“I just stopped in the Starbucks to get coffee, and it was like post-school drop-off,” Reddy said. “It was this very long line, and she walked in.”

The conversation eventually turned to Reddy’s business, “and her face just lit up,” Reddy said.

Reddy is the owner of the year-old local business on 2113 Greenleaf St., and she primarily serves students ranging from toddlers to middle schoolers. Reddy also hosts other events, including birthday parties, corporate team-building and bridal showers.

“So (Schakowsky) said she wanted to come and see,” Reddy said. “She’s very supportive of local business owners.”

After a couple of reschedulings and a lot of communication, Schakowsky’s staff organized a visit to one of Reddy’s classes for Tuesday evening at the kitchen.

“So it’s a short story, really, from meeting her, her invitation. She followed it up with my office. We scheduled and rescheduled, and here I am,” Schakowsky told The Daily. “This a great program for kids, giving them self-confidence about something as fundamental as cooking.”

The class, held at 4 p.m., had five local students who got to cook with Schakowsky. The dish of delicacy for the lesson: apple pie crisps.

Stephanie Mendoza, a stay-at-home mom in Evanston with three children in tow, brought her two sons to the workshop in the hopes that they would acquire more knowledge about the fundamentals of the kitchen. And seeing the Schakowsky was an added bonus, Mendoza said.

“For me, it’s important for the children to be able to learn how to be careful with food and utensils,” Mendoza said. “They learn about math. They learn about food safety, and they have fun while they are doing it.”

The event was a happenstance moment for Reddy, and she didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to talk politics with her representative.

After a bit of small talk while waiting in line, Reddy said she finally “mustered up the courage” to ask Schakowsky about the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

“She actually was really great, and just told me to hang in there,” Reddy said. “She was just basically telling me to have faith.”

But when warm apple delicacies, child chefs and chance meetings are involved, that story can be for another day.

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