Jenn Fujikawa Wants You to Love Lucy's Cooking with New Cookbook

by Steve Duffy

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday February 10, 2021

Jenn Fujikawa Wants You to Love Lucy's Cooking with New Cookbook

Want to know the recipe for Vitameatavegamin?

If you're the least bit curious you likely know the reference to the "I Love Lucy" episode in which Lucy drank the fictitious health tonic comprised of vitamins, meat, vegetables, minerals, and alcohol (23%). Lucy gets tanked as only Lucy could do, which is why she remains loved 70 years later.

Jenn Fujikawa loves Lucy. So much so the LA-based lifestyle and pop culture writer has written two books about her. In March comes "I Love Lucy: The Joys of Friendship" that celebrates BFFs Lucy and Ethel with images and text. First out, though, is "The I Love Lucy Cookbook: Classic Recipes Inspired by the Iconic TV Show" that will show you how to feast like the Ricardos and Mertzs. And filled with photos and illustrations, the book is also an exuberant celebration of an era and unforgettable television moments.

When she's not loving Lucy, Fujikawa creates content for Disney, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, and more. She also shares recipes for unique family dinners and geeky baked goods are a staple of her website justjennrecipes.com. Her recipes have been featured on Buzzfeed, the LA Times, Food & Wine Magazine, and the cover of Food Network Magazine. She also co-authored "The Goldbergs Cookbook."

EDGE spoke to Fujikawa about what attracted her to Lucy's culinary pleasures.

Jenn Fujikawa  

EDGE: When did you start to cook and what about the process to you like the most?

Jenn Fujikawa: I started cooking at a very young age. My mom used to take my brother and I to the library and I always spent time in the cooking section. I slowly read every single one of the cookbooks on the shelf and learned about every type of cooking from every culture. I like the idea of making food to feed the ones you love. Process-wise I enjoy creating and testing new recipes.

EDGE: Why write a "I Love Lucy" themed cookbook?

Jenn Fujikawa: "I Love Lucy" is an iconic television series beloved by people of all ages. The magic of the show is something that fans connect to, and food was such a big part of all of that show! When you really dig in you realize how many episodes featured food, even beyond the chocolate conveyor belt and grape-stomping episodes everyone knows and loves.

EDGE: What have been some of your most rewarding discoveries while working on this cookbook?

Jenn Fujikawa: I think what I realized while writing the book was what an absolute comedic genius Lucille Ball was. I mean I already knew, but it really hit home when I started going through and revisiting my favorite episodes and realizing how simple the premises were but she truly brought the scripts to life as only she can.

A graphic from "The I Love Lucy Cookbook"  

EDGE: There are so many great recipes in the book. Which one would you want to cook for Lucy and Ethel?

Jenn Fujikawa: I think I'd want to make a full ladies luncheon: Deviled Eggs, Aunt Sally's Prailines, Watercress Sandwiches, so that I can hear all the gossip and find out what fun schemes they're planning next.

EDGE: If you could be in any "I Love Lucy" episode which one would you choose?

Jenn Fujikawa: Ohh, this is a great question! If I could be in any "I Love Lucy" episode I'd want to be in "L.A. at Last." I loved that they ventured out of the apartment for a trip to the West Coast. Being an L.A. native myself I always enjoy seeing the city on TV, even if it was in a manufactured way. I would have loved to be in the Brown Derby while Lucy ate spaghetti next to William Holden.

EDGE: What does cooking/baking do for you personally?

Jenn Fujikawa: Cooking is my creative outlet. I used to work long hours and wanted to find a way to do something creative just for me, so writing and creating recipes based on fandoms that I loved brought all of my interests together.




EDGE: After scrolling through your IG account, it is clear to see that you are a huge Star Wars fans. How did you love for "Star Wars" begin?

Jenn Fujikawa: I am a huge "Star Wars" fan! I've loved the movies starting back with the original trilogy on, in every format from animation to the books. I find storytelling very inspiring and "Star Wars" provides a lot of inspiration for coming up with recipes.

EDGE: You also co-wrote "The Goldbergs Cookbook." How much fun was it to write that with the real Beverly Goldberg?

Jenn Fujikawa: Bringing Bev's recipes to life was a lot of fun. From the minute "The Goldbergs" came on the air I knew this was the show for me. The show brings the 80s to life and always finds innovative ways to encompass some of my favorite music, favorite toys, movies, and TV shows. That book definitely gave me my fill of casseroles!

EDGE: What is it about TV show-themed cookbooks that piques people's interest?

Jenn Fujikawa: Themed cookbooks bring fans closer to their favorite shows. By cooking the food you see characters eat, it feels like you're right there in your favorite episode and it's a lot of fun!

EDGE: Any advice for home chefs?

Jenn Fujikawa: My advice is always to read through the recipe before you start. You'll know what steps you have ahead so you'll know what to expect.

For more information about "The I Love Lucy Cookbook: Classic Recipes Inspired by the Iconic TV Show" from Running Press, click here.

For more information on Jenn and her recipes, visit her website.

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