So why us. Why do you want to read about our crazy adventure through life, cooking, traveling, and photographing everything we see?
What experience do I have to tell you about restaurants are worth venturing to, bottles of wine, new coffee shops, nail salons (I have a long time, seriously passionate affair with good manicures), local makers, throwing dinner parties, and what recipes to use to feed your family?
The short answer? 30 plus years of travel, using WHATEVER is handy to take a snapshot or photograph (be forewarned, if we’re out together, your phones camera will be considered fair game when mine’s battery dies), growing up cooking, learning from family, friends, and anyone else willing to answer my thousands of questions, with a couple of absolutely epic, now and forever a part of family lore failures along the way… (ask me sometime about the five alarm chili, or the very first time I decided I could bake without a recipe…it was bad. Quinten Tarantino bloodshed bad)
I’ve long talked friends into throwing lavish dinner parties with me for our parents and friends, drafting them as my sous chef’s, starting when I was in high school, feeding friends and throwing together big pasta dinners with a more the merrier approach to life.
One of my earliest memories is a friend of my Dad’s telling him that when I grew up, if we were throwing a dinner party and someone asked to bring a last minute guest, my response would almost certainly be “Who the hell are they? F&*% it, it doesn’t matter, of course they can come!” Remarkably accurate prediction of the future. And perhaps where my love of profane words started.
Fast forward into college, I spent a lot of years working in hospitality in one form or another, I’ve bartended, waited tables, been a hostess, had a brief stint as a cocktail waitress in a rather seedy establishment that shall forever remain nameless, ran the kitchen of a wine bar & bistro, worked the line in a now defunct small Italian restaurant (in which I also bartended), worked the line in another rather famous Portland restaurant who had the bad habit of bouncing paychecks, created the menu for, and did all the legwork for weekend breakfasts, at a (again) now defunct, tiny bistro in a tony Portland suburb.
Throughout all of this I’ve collected cookbooks, and have spent COUNTLESS hours pouring over them, trying to learn everything I can about why they’re laid out they way they are, which recipes are easy to read and follow, which have appealing photography (again, and the why behind it), and cultivated an innate love of entertaining (thanks Mom & Dad).
Growing up, my Mom made certain that we traveled extensively as a family, and as such, my brother and I were very blessed to have passports full of stamps from a very young age, and have had many an adventure exploring. While last in Germany we ended up raising a glass (or four) at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, the night that Mexico played (and beat) Germany, in Germany. Both my mom and I speak Spanish, and ended up celebrating with the Mexico fans, singing Celito Lindo at the top of our lungs, quite possibly also from the top of the table, though that part is hazy…
Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport” -unknown
I’ve had a wide and varied career path that has brought me to this point, toss in a few more years of professional sales (fashion retail, then diamonds & banking, respectively) and a really great track record of making mistakes, some far more entertaining than others, and here we are.
Throughout it all, a small handful of things have remained constant. My love(s) of cooking, entertaining, traveling, and photography.
Which brings us back to now. I’m rolling them all up into one, and jumping. I’ll learn to fly on the way down.
My husband, God love him, asks me often if there are any strangers to me, and the answer is invariably “nope, just friend’s I haven’t met yet”. Aside from being my partner in life, he’s decided to join me on this foodie journey, and while he’s not planning on being a super active or vocal participant in Cook.Eat.Explore, you can definitely expect to see his contributions on our blog from time to time.
Join us, on this crazy wonderful journey through new cities, small towns, big name cookbooks, tiny hole in the wall restaurants, with a big handful of my own recipes tossed into the mix as well, after all, the happiest I am is surrounded by friends in my kitchen, cooking, laughing, and sharing a bottle (or twelve) of wine. Wear cozy clothes, and be prepared to crash in one our guest rooms.
After all, our home is made for hosting.