This blog is where I will chronicle my misadventures in the kitchen as I try to become a better cook.
I've always craved some kind of creative outlet. Over the last 15 years I've sampled many pursuits, from making jewelry, to scrapbooking, and finally to cooking. The interest in cooking has always been bubbling away on the back burner; it began with an uncontrollable need to add spices to the jarred spaghetti sauce as a young teenager. Now that I'm a grown up and have decided that I want to be responsible for feeding myself and my partner (and now that I have a kitchen with a bit of counter space), I'm pushing myself to try new recipes and techniques and become a better cook. I'm no expert yet, but I'm improving in leaps and bounds. I think this is partly because I'm really excited about food, but it's also because cooking delicious, fresh, real food isn't all that difficult. Recipes will be garnished with stories about my life and my culinary triumphs and disasters.
Six questions I know you're dying to ask me:
1.) Why am I writing this blog?
Well, part of it is that I'm a middle child and I need attention. I'm okay with this. I hope you are. Apart from middle-child syndrome, when I'm excited about something, I need to share it, and my excitement about food has just gotten too big to keep to myself.
2.) What exactly excites me about food?
- Brown bits on the white enameled bottom of a Le Creuset just waiting for the onions or the wine.
- Heavy cream. It's a magical ingredient that causes alchemical transformation of just about anything into heaven on a plate.
- No additives or preservatives! Eating real food!
- Not having to do the dishes.
3.) What are my food politics?
They're still developing. I'm learning a lot about sustainability, ethics, and nutrition. Sometimes all the information out there is pretty contradictory and confusing, so I try to think critically, research, and make good choices—I'm far from perfect, though. We're lucky to live in a small, Nova Scotia town where we have access to open space and lots of fresh, local food. One thing we're trying this year in an effort to eat healthier and spend less is taking advantage of our local community garden program to grow some vegetables. We're having a blast!
4.) What kind of camera do I use?
A Sony Cybershot point-and-shoot camera. Most of my photos are outside because we live in a basement apartment with lots of windows, but somehow little natural light. I started this blog knowing squat about photography, but I'm trying to learn how to get the most mileage out of my little camera.
5.) What do I do when I'm not cooking up a storm?
I teach writing. I edit things. I occasionally find myself in too-long debates about the nitpickiest of grammar nitpicks. Thus, sometimes using sentence fragments makes me feel rebellious. Really rebellious.
6.)What are my goals as a home chef?
- To master the art of timing (getting the meat, and the starch, and the veggies to be ready at the exact same moment).
- To bake without fear.
- To extract every last ounce of enjoyment from the daily work of feeding myself, my family, and my friends.
The Cast of Characters (people whose names you'll see regularly)
My partner Chris
Teacher by day, sous chef, dish washer, and number-one guinea pig by night. He is a budding environmentalist and gardener, which has had a positive impact on what we eat and buy (although he still loves his Diet Pepsi). He is also the provider of guitar-based music to cook by.
She thinks her name appears on this blog a little too often I think, but I watched her cook and bake for my first 18 years, so it's kind of inevitable. When she went back to work in my last year of high school, my little brother and I had to take on some of the cooking responsibilities. This resulted in an extended period of alternating tacos (the Old Elpaso variety) and ham with peas and shake-and-bake potatoes. I have fond memories of our dining room taken over by rising dough for homemade rolls and dinner-table battles for the brownie corners (they should really make five-sided brownie pans). The most important cooking tips I've learned from my mother are 1.) If you handle the biscuit dough too much, you'll wind up with hockey pucks, and 2.) Don't put green food colouring in the biscuits—even on Saint Patrick's Day. It will not work out.
My number-two guinea pig. Not such a fan of cooking herself, but the maker of to-die-for hash-brown casserole and the best lasagna in the world. The most important cooking skill I've learned from my mother-in-law is cleanliness. There are no germs in her kitchen.
Geoff and Steph (my in-law sibs)
Guinea pigs number three and four. Steph is the master of food safety and I'm pretty sure Geoff is a foodie at heart. The most important cooking tip I've learned from them is to buy a barbecue and use it like there's no tomorrow.
Alright; now that you know the score. Take a seat at my table and enjoy!