I learned to cook at home in my family kitchen. As a teen I started to make up recipes and cooked just for fun. I was a fly by the seat of my pants kind of cook, pulling whatever we had in our kitchen together to create new and interesting meals I’d make a big ole mess and it drove my mom crazy. She’d always say “You need to start writing your measurements down and clean the kitchen as you go!”
Though my mom cooked for the family on a regular basis, cooking was not something she loved. She is a better cook than she ever gives herself credit for, and she learned a lot from my grandmothers. To this day she still cooks those Traditional recipes. It was my dad who was the avid home cook. My mom and dad divorced when I was very young, so I have had the benefit of two sets of mom and dads.
Both homes we all ate dinner around the family table. Cooking was my dad’s passion and his pleasure. As a kid we would make beef jerky, ice cream and other kitchen experiments together. He introduced me to some my favorite foods, from crab to baby back ribs to clams. When I was little if my dad would eat it, I always wanted to try it.
When I started my own family, I knew cooking, the kitchen, and family meals together would be an important tradition I wanted to take from my own childhood.
My 9-year-old daughter, Eyden, was born watching me test new recipes and photograph my food concoctions. She probably thought photographing your food was what everyone did before eating. I was fortunate that she was a courageous food lover like my dad and like me. And so, when my husband and I became a blended family, my two sons, Ethan and Hayden came along, and my food challenges began.
They were much pickier about what they would eat. Their favorite food was the all-American boxed macaroni and cheese. My daughter and I had to start getting creative and think outside of the macaroni and cheese box to create a uniquely delicious version. I did not give up. I was determined to broaden their tastes.
I started to bring my boys in the kitchen with me and have them as my in-house taste testers. They’d sit with me and watch The Food Network and I would see the excitement in their eyes as our favorite street food shows sparked creative food ideas. I started to see my boys and their interest for newer foods transform. They became less picky and more curious. My husband, is my biggest supporter and raves about my cooking. Luckily he’ll eat whatever I put on the table. He would much rather eat my cooking than go out to dinner any night.
I originally created a blog simply as a way to share recipes and food ideas with my dad and extended family across the country. As I immersed myself into the food world and as my daughter got older and I connected with her friends’ moms, I saw how many struggled with preparing healthy delicious meals for their own picky eaters. And how far we had come from the tradition of eating dinner together as a family.
Eyden recently wanted a cooking birthday party and invited all of her friends. We made homemade Marinara, homemade meatballs, and focaccia. I sent all of the kids home with their recipe sheets, their first apron and spatula. A week after the party one of the mom’s text messaged me, “My daughter made dinner for our family using the recipes you showed her.” Along with a proud picture of her daughter and the food.
The moment I read that text I knew, I’m doing not only what I love, but what I was meant to do on this planet.
This is my mission as The Homemade Cook.
I am changing the world by teaching and empowering others to bring their families together, create belonging and a connection. Food and Cooking are my vehicles. My mission is to teach and empower others to be confident in the kitchen and bring their families together!