Profiles: Monica Kass Rogers, Heritage Baker

Jamie O’Reilly
The Legacy Project Profile Series

Read the Special Edition Enewsletter Legacy Profiles.
Let me introduce you to my friend Monica Kass Rogers, writer, photographer, home cook, “appreciator of delicious tastes and quirky stories.”

Monica Kass Rogers

My friend for over three and a half decades, Monica’s creative palette and skill set are dazzling.
I’ve watched her burgeoning career as a respected writer for food and wine magazines, and newspaper columnist grow into a formidable portfolio of experience that includes, but is not limited to: editor, cookbook author, Blogger, and gifted photographer with a specialty in food styling. Add to the list her myriad other skills as letterpress artist and printmaker, story-teller, event host, home cook and devoted mother, and one is awe-struck by this rare bird of a Renaissance woman.

Her photographs, singular in their beauty – reveal talent, taste and industry savvy – their styling and composition – deep, rich colors captured in natural lighting technique – result in extraordinary images – worthy of the walls of art galleries. Her work has indeed been shown in exhibitions. Visit:

And so it was Monica I contacted when the idea of hosting the Heritage Bake Sale connected to my Voices of Old Chicago Legacy Project came to me. This Legacy project, begun as a look at the artistic roots from whence my vocal (singing) talent came, became a broader project exploring how we as artists look at family history: the music, stories, heirlooms, artifacts, and recipes, and integrate them into our personal artistic legacy.

Jamie image by Monica Kass Rogers

Read more here:

Monica was a presenter at my Roots Salon a few years back, and had begun Lost Recipes Found blog. An avid researcher in all her work, she traces the roots of these recipes, which she then creates in her home kitchen. She photographs a broad range of food, from Lemony Olive Oil Tea Cakes (with Italian olive oil), to the reader’s requested Beef Bourguignon, first published in the Chicago Tribune in 1954, and both publishes the images on the web, and often makes custom prints for gallery walls.

For the September 21 CD release concert event celebrating my new companion recordings: Legacy and In Old Chicago, I wanted to feature baked goods from home cooks created from treasured family recipes gathered from our Roots Salon community.

And so, with a bit of giddy pride, I await the marvelous creations of this lovely woman…
Thank you, Monica!

Heritage Bake Sale postcard

“Everyone has a childhood memory of a special recipe eaten at home, at grandma’s house or at a restaurant, that made a lasting and permanent impression. Forever after, the thought of that dish lingers, ready to be triggered by a related sight, smell, or taste, long after we enjoyed the original preparation. The point is, we all have special recipes we’ve loved and lost.”

Monica Kass Rogers

See Monica’s Profile below.

Monica will be baking and sharing two recipes from the Lost and Found Blog for the Heritage Bake Sale:

Caramel Sticky Buns

For the Raffle:
Caramel Sticky Buns, Adapted from Recipe from Shelby McCreedy.
Read the recipe for these “Enormous but feathery-textured, buttery, and crammed with toasted pecans, caramel, and cinnamon, McCreedy’s sticky buns won a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair.” Recipe here:

Grandma Bertha’s Apricot Delights

For the Bake Sale: Grandma Bertha’s Apricot Delights, Adapted from Susan Levin.
Baked with “beauty–delicate, buttery, apricot-tender, cinnamon-sugared perfection.” Recipe here;

Visit the Lost and Found Recipes Blog

Read more about the Sept 21 Bake Sale, and purchase raffle tickets

Monica’s Profile From the Elysian Online Newsletter

Monica studied journalism, photography and book arts in college, telling stories with words, images and prints. She became a full-time magazine writer and editor in the 1980s, writing for national food magazines. That broadened to freelance writing and photography as she raised four children and was curious to explore a broad range of topics. At one point Monica was writing cover stories and columns for six different sections of the Chicago Tribune where she doubled as a photographer. She also wrote and photographed for many lifestyle magazines.

Her research into the revival of vintage recipes for the Chicago Tribune was so compelling that it became her blog, Her work has appeared in Food & Wine, Bon Appetit and Risotto & Beyond published by Rizzoli March 13, 2018, a cookbook collaboration with Chef John Coletta. Monica wrote the book based on interviews with John, and rice experts while in Italy where she did some photography for the book. It won 1st place in the Italian category and 2nd place in the rice category at the 2019 Gourmand International Cookbook Awards.

A Northwestern University artist-in-residence participant, Monica taught seminars in using the camera as a creative problem-solving tool, Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative (KIEI) @ Kellogg School of Management. Her texture art photography, The Alley Project is a recent adventure.