I’ve attempted to launch a food blog in one form or another since 2007. Back then I felt right at home among all of the other amateurs and enthusiasts, but I was lazy about posting and didn’t always feel like staging my recipes for photos. I really just wanted to get to the good part — eating.
The food blogging world has changed A LOT since then (Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen sums it up perfectly). What hasn’t changed are my reasons for hosting this blog: I’m a home cook and a nerd, and this is a pet project. It’s a way to practice writing, to keep up with the latest food and technology trends, and to share my passion for cooking from scratch.
For my mother, cooking was a little like martyrdom. It was a chore, not a passion. So as much as I’d love to be able to share interesting stories about shadowing my mom in the kitchen and learning to make secret family recipes, I was a culinary bystander as a kid. I never learned how to cook for myself until adulthood, in the late ’90s, while vacationing in France.
It wasn’t so much the fancy Parisian restaurant fare that inspired me, it was the rustic home cooking in Provence. It was the way my friends went to the market each morning for fresh ingredients. They taught me how to make vegetable stew and coq au vin and roasted redfish… to appreciate salad after a meal and artisan cheeses and to “shop like a European.”
After that I started hosting Sunday dinners for my parents and my aging grandmother. I cooked a lot of BBQ chicken wings in those days because they were my grandmother’s favorite. But I also experimented, and my family happily indulged me.
Shoots and Leaves
Fast forward to today. My daughter is now a teenager and has been a vegetarian for two years (if you have kids, be warned: “vegetarian” sometimes means Pop-Tarts and Cheetos, so you have to watch out for them).
I’m a flexitarian — I eat meat and fish maybe once or twice a month. We live in a small, vintage apartment in one of Chicago’s oldest suburbs, which hosts a wonderful farmers market every summer. I make simple, accessible, delicious meals (and I’m planning to take less staged and more real photos). I’m not a “30-minute” guru, though there are plenty of meals you can make in less than an hour on a weeknight, especially if your fridge and pantry are stocked.
My daughter and I are not ideological, and we’re not interested in spreading food evangelism. Instead, we just try our best to follow Michael Pollan’s three simple rules: Eat real food. Mostly plants. Not too much.