I feel like I should start this post with “Hi! My name is Alyssa! I parent xyz children with four legs, xyz children with two legs, and am married to a wonderful man! I cook food and I can’t wait to share it with you!”
But, that’s not me. So I’m starting it my way.
Hi, my name is Al. Real name Alyssa. I’m full of sarcasm, exclamation points (!), burned food, recipes I have succeeded with, and semi-useless advice.
I love food. I love to cook and eat. The kitchen is my favorite room in the house. But my track record is 50/50.
I’m sure your next questions is: why a food blog, then?
Good question. The answer is: I’m not an innate cook. Nor am I the only one who has to Google “how to make a pot roast in the crock pot” from time to time.
I want to build a community where we all succeed, fail, talk, share, and know life isn’t that perfect picture we see online.
I married Mr. A at the ripe old age of 20. Back then, all I knew how to make was Campbell’s, Kraft, and grilled cheese. Mr. A did the cooking for the first 3-4 years so neither of us died of food poisoning. I learned the basics from him. Fresh garlic. Spices. The difference between a steak cooked to death and a seared steak with a still pink center. How to stir fry in a wok. OMG, salt and pepper. Not just table salt and a powdered pepper, but kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
Still, at every family gathering, I was teased about my lack of cooking skills. Holidays were interesting as we laughed at my attempts at meals, as were parties with friends. I would ask my guests to bring a dish to pass so there was edible food. My dishes usually iffy.
Truth? I didn’t mind. For a long time, the teasing, jokes and my lack of skills were simply normal. We ate food. We didn’t starve. I only cooked once a week. What was wrong with that?
Then, one Easter Sunday in my mid-twenties, I hosted an extended family dinner. It was the same jokes as always, but I was worried the food would be inedible. I’d never made mashed potatoes before and the pork loin was a new recipe I’d never attempted. Nor had I ever cooked pork loin, so that was two strikes against me when it came to the meat. I was making the traditional green bean casserole people made at Thanksgiving, and I wasn’t sure if I had done that right. There were other dishes I don’t recall, but I do know I was terrified they would taste horrible.
It was all, thankfully, edible. Everyone went home with full stomachs. Oh, the food wasn’t perfect, but no one starved. Still, I had spent days–weeks–worrying about the meal.
I decided then and there I would learn to cook. Not Kraft, Campbell’s and 20 cent ramen noodles, but real food.
I kicked my talented husband out of the kitchen and took over. I spent the next 6 or 7 years studying cookbooks, surfing the web, and trying new recipes. At one point our pizza delivery man knew when my dinners had gone wrong because he would deliver around 9pm, when the meal I had attempted ended up in the garbage.
We had a child, and I still took over. I wanted to be able to make a pot roast without Googling it, or beef stew that wasn’t boring, and all. the. risotto. I’d learned about risotto during my food self-studies, and I wanted to be able to do it right.
So I practiced. We ate well mostly, gagged things down from time to time, and always kept pizza delivery on speed dial.
Now here I am, 15 years later, and I’m not the perfect chef. But I do know stuff.
I hope to provide tricks I’ve learned, mistakes I’ve made, and create a community of people who love food–and who know it’s not always perfect.
Just spork life and cooking with all you have. You might go wrong here and there, but you’ll always eat.