Hey, fellow culinary wizards! I hope you’re just as excited as I am to be navigating this page full of dreams, promises, and photos of aesthetically pleasing meals that went cold before I could eat them.
As you can tell, I am a food expert. Look at this picture of me holding ears of corn! I love corn. I grew up on a Nebraskan farm where we had fields of corn and my grandma made her famous corn and leek soup from homegrown produce every Sunday. My grandma didn’t always have an easy life what with her crippling tortoise racing addiction, but she held onto the importance of family and food throughout it all and corn just really means a lot to me. As do tortoises. And love.
I like to be mindful about putting love into my cooking. Sometimes I feel literally compelled to draw on my deepest and most vulnerable blessed self in my cooking, and go the extra mile to make my recipes feel like love and family. I ask each of my seven children to pose with the cake mix, cradling the bowl to their chests and infusing it with their love. If that’s not enough, I try putting some of myself in by licking the ladle.
Ha! Gotcha. I love humour: it helps bring people together. It also helps keeps people reading, which helps keep you on my page, which helps –
Have I ever told you about my childhood? This is like a super personal memory to share but frankly I’m delighted to have found a single memory I haven’t yet mined for content so here we go! I love you guys.
But first, a photo of my whimsical yet immaculate kitchen bench #iwokeuplikethis
In my childhood, our kitchen was small. Very small. It was literally so small and quaint and homesteady and definitely not a part of a three-storey mansion in southern California. Yet there was always something cooking in the oven. As I played outside in breezy cotton dresses, looking photogenic and revelling in nature and miraculously never getting bored and asking to watch television, I would always know when to come indoors because I would smell the warm scent of an apple pie, or rustic bread, wafting through our cottage garden.
Or chocolate cake! Because – as mentioned earlier – I possess the ultimate chocolate cake recipe. It was passed down to me by my mother, who learnt it from her mother, who learnt it from her sister, who learnt it from her son, who learnt it from his daughter. So what I suppose what I’m actually trying to say is that my second cousin Erica found this recipe online in 2013 and shared it in the family group chat, but! This is a family recipe! It has been passed up, sideways, and down to me! And for this reason, I shall refer to it as heritage cooking and cherish it always.
You know who also cherishes my chocolate cake recipe? My amazing friend Greta of I’m Greta Cooking! Greta loves cakes and recently released her debut recipe book for the easily intimidated: Bakey the Cakey! And you should buy it. Everyone should buy it. But don’t click away from this page! This page is life. Every time you leave my page or scroll past my posts just to get to the goddamn recipe already, a fairy loses its wings. You don’t want that on your conscience.
When I cook, I always remember the advice my grandma gifted me – not the one who raced tortoises, but the one who lived in a bungalow in Canada that was structurally unsound but peak cottagecore aesthetic. She said “My little apricot crumble, my pie, my pet. My sweet, my rhubarb slice. My darling baby bok choy cornhusk. Remember, cooking is not about what the food can give you. It is about what you can give the food. And in this case, as in every case, the answer is more salt.” And then she held my tiny hands over the mixing bowl and together we made her famous salted strawberry and blue cheese frittata dumpling soufflé. Ah, the wisdom!
I think being real about my cooking practice in minute detail is really important – because life is all about the details! Like the woodgrain of my kitchen benchtop. It’s a beautiful luxurious woodgrain with a rich warm quality to it and healing properties that… oh, fuck this. If you’re still reading this, thank you. Thank you for spending time on this page, earning me money. It’s a harsh world out there for bloggers like me who actually live in Seattle and are allergic to wholefoods. Actually, you’re probably just scrolling at this point, so I might as well go ahead and say it: fuck capitalism, fuck the gig economy, and fuck blogging. God did not place me on this earth to write saccharine drivel about my upbringing just so I could afford the ingredients for a chocolate cake (Best Cake Ever link here!). I mean fuck that, honestly. And what if some satirist looks at this cosy, achievable, linen-wearing persona and drags me about my corny posts online? Oh, fuck her too #liveyourtruth
I spend my days cooking for people I love, meaning some of my most memorable moments centre around food. Take Thanksgiving, for example. Have I mentioned I remember practically every Thanksgiving meal from my childhood? They were amazing. The house was decorated, the relatives came, mum had a glass of wine at 11 in the morning, our turkey was always cooked to death, and everyone sat around roasting one another. The memories!
But you know what some of my greatest food memories are? Cooking with my grandmother, a wise and warm-hearted Latvian woman who could make the most beautiful dark bread with pepita seeds and – what? I’ve already mentioned two grandmothers? Oh, shit. Um. Add cream. Beat the mixture until it forms soft peaks. Oil seven baking trays. Fold the mixture into some other mixture of two mixtures. Lose yourself in a hemp bag filled with green lentils, then find yourself again. Clean mindfully. I was talking about my aunt! Wipe all surfaces and keep scrolling this page with one hand. Don’t leave me.
I had dreams too, once. Dreams of love. Dreams of whole civilisations, built on designer kitchenware and the backs of my weekly newsletter subscribers. Then dreams of these civilisations crumbling into the sea, like a series of collapsed meringues. Anyway. Comment if you’d like to see a post featuring curated pages from my dreams diary!
And last but not least, some more advice. Namely: follow your bliss.
Oh, you thought you were going to get a chocolate cake recipe out of all this? Well, once when I was young, my grandmother SHUT UP who was actually the beautiful first daughter of a New York banker crossed with a schnauzer, bought me the ingredients to bake a cake and then wolfed them down while I watched. And this poignant moment from my childhood taught me a valuable lesson that I’m going to gift to you today: disappointment.