A few years ago when I turned 50 I wanted to make a cookbook so I could share some of my favorite recipes, along with the stories about the people who gave them to me, with my friends and family. Being the procrastinator I am my birthday rolled around and there was no cookbook. So I switched gears and decided to start a blog – 50 recipes to celebrate the 50 years of my life. I figured fifty recipes in fifty-two weeks was no problem. Ha! I’m sure that without kids or a garden (of sorts) or a job or life in general I could have met the deadline. Instead I extended the project because along the way realized I loved writing this blog. Remembering the path I took to each recipe, as well as the testing (and re-testing), plus being behind a camera again has been fun and rewarding. So despite being a bit over 50 (both in age and recipes) the blog continues.
Why did I think I should write a cookbook? Well the main answer can be found in my first post. What qualifies me to take up my small sliver of the blogisphere? I guess I’d have to say experience (yes I have more than 10,000 hours of cooking experience) and the fact that I love, love, love food and feeding people. It was an early passion and the desire to be around food – shopping for it, touching it, cooking with it, and feeding people – has never waned. It must have something to do with the fact that I have spent much of my life in a kitchen.
I’ve been paid to cook since I was 13. One of the families I used to babysit for hired me for part of one summer to come on their vacation and be their cook-babysitter-house cleaner. It was a busy few weeks on the Saint Lawrence River watching four boys under 10 and making dinners for seven. At the end of the week one of the teenagers who was staying nearby awarded me with the “Betty Burner” prize. Betty Burner was Betty Crocker’s bad cousin who couldn’t cook for beans. The award was a plastic picnic fork with the words “Betty Burner 1974″ scratched into the handle. I don’t recall actually burning anything, but chances are good I probably did something special to earn it, since most teenage sarcasm contains a grain or two of truth.
Since that first job I’ve done a lot more cooking. Some of it was paid, some wasn’t, however ultimately I had a decent set of kitchen skills and a pretty good intuition when it came to food. By eighteen I knew I wanted to be a cook. After college I kept on cooking and finally chose a career where the main goal was to make the food look pretty. It didn’t have to taste good or be steaming hot, but it did have to be so scrumptious you could eat it with your eyes. Which is pretty much what I’ve done for the last twenty-five years – I’ve been a food stylist.
Woven between the food styling jobs I’ve also taught cooking classes, catered, made many wedding cakes, hosted a kid’s cooking show (pre-Food Network), developed recipes and written articles for kid’s magazines, as well as tested recipes for several cookbooks. I’ve been lucky to spend much of my life around food. Because for me cooking is like breathing – you do it because your body can’t help it.
Hope you enjoy and happy cooking!
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