I’m not gonna lie — this year I’ve pretty much holed myself up in my apartment and done almost next to nothing except occasionally see some friends and eat really good food. Some people see that as a bad thing, especially since I just moved to Boston in January. I should be having the time of my life here, but for the past 5 years I’ve been overworked and honestly during my time off I’ve just wanted… time off.
But the good part is, that in the past year I feel like I’ve grown tremendously. There’s a part of myself that I haven’t really been able to explore much over the past 5 years. Getting to know her has been the greatest joy of 2019. Even though I still have a lot of learning and growing to do, I now have a clear vision of what I like, what I want to do, and who I want to be. In the next decade, I’m going to work on accomplishing my dreams and being unapologetic and unashamed about that — that includes sounding my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world (or internet, for that matter).
I love baking and cooking, and I want to explore more about that. I particularly love baking. I guess anyone really could have seen this coming, given my adoration for the Great British Bake Off, Mary Berry, and Paul Hollywood. Someday I hope to go to pastry school, not to become a professional pastry artist, but for my own personal enjoyment. And of the things that I’ve started hoarding over the past year is cookbooks. I’m not just looking at them, but I’m actually reading them like a book and making things from them (gasp!). David Lebovitz (the esteemed OG food blogger) said it best when he mentioned that a good cookbook reads like a story, and he’s right. I’ve loved getting to know these artists over the past year and forming a vision of what I hope this blog to be in the future. And not to mention, it’s so nice to get off of facebook and instagram and be a real human being by eating, tasting, and exploring new foods, rather than just watching videos of food being made online. And you know what? I’m actually getting pretty good at cooking and baking!
I’ve also been collecting old recipes from my mom and grandma, both of whom have tons of recipe cards, both handwritten and typed (ON A TYPEWRITER), as well as cookbooks that they’ve garnered over the years. I love sitting down with them, flipping through those books, and asking them which ones are the tried and true favorites, and which ones just take up space. I’ve found that some of the best recipes come from my family’s old church cookbooks. Since moving to Boston, I have a new appreciation for the cuisine of my Midwestern home, and by flipping through these I’ve fallen in love with the old classics. Yes, I grew up on chicken roll ups and didn’t know that some Midwestern staples weren’t a thing everywhere until I moved east. Creamed soups, beef stroganoff, Velveeta cheese, and buffalo chicken tenders with Ranch are glorious and no one can tell me otherwise. And where are all the Germans in New England? I have yet to have a good bratwurst. But that’s just makes me appreciate home even more.
This blog has been a long time coming. As my family knows, I’ve deleted it, brought it back, and changed name, domains, hosts, and visions a hundred times over. I think all I needed was a sense of self and some gumption, and this year has given me that. Mom, dad, fiancé dude, and anyone else who is reading, THANK YOU for tuning in, even just for a few clicks. I promise that next year will be even better and more joy filled. There will be plenty more bakes (in a new bigger kitchen!), and a lot more to read here. On to the next bake.
And in case you’d like to explore my favorite cookbooks of the year, check them out below!
My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz
Pierre Hermé Macarons: The Ultimate Recipes from the Master Pâtissier by Pierre Hermé
Betty Crocker’s Cookbook: New and Revised Edition
Half Baked Harvest Cookbook: Recipes from My Barn in the Mountains by Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest
The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: A Delicious Alternative for Lifelong Health by Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Molly on the Range: Recipes and Stories from An Unlikely Life on a Farm: A Cookbook by Molly Yeh of My Name is Yeh
Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines