After years of fashion writing, a long stint as a columnist on a obscure, local, social blog, and a long-ass hiatus, ya girl Chelsea is back at it and ready to start writing again, this time about my one true love: my cavapoopoo Scoutman. Just kidding. I’m here to talk about food.
Now, I’m aware that blogging is generally nerdy AF and that you’re all probably taking screenshots and laughing your faces off in group text threads right now. Not going to lie, I would be doing the same thing. I included that ridiculous header photo for a reason. It’s cool though, I got over myself a long time ago. Everyone’s entitled to a hobby–you might like to sell beauty products or play rec soccer or paint pictures, I like to cook and write.
Granted, we all know I rock a desk job and haven’t been to culinary school or even worked in a restaurant. Everything I know, I learned through practice, reading books and websites, or from watching hours of Food Network and Top Chef. I’d be eliminated the first round on Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen, or Masterchef Kids. But by everyday home cook standards, I definitely know what I’m doing, and would love to teach my friends and acquaintances some practical tips.
Because I’ve watched The Next Food Network Star for years, I’m aware that when dealing with something as universal as food, it’s important to have a distinctive point of view that makes your food and storytelling unique. After several minutes of consideration, here’s a breakdown of my culinary credo:
- Nose to tail, root to leaf, tupperware to table. Food waste is something that bothers me to my core. I’ll spare you my hippie ideologies, and instead come at it from the practical cost-saving perks of adopting this outlook. There is a way to eat on a budget without sentencing yourself to the same dang casserole for a week straight. I’ll do my best to include ways to “remix” my all of my recipes and ingredients, and show ways to up-cycle food and make other delicious things to eat. Not only will you save cash, but you’ll save time and get your creative juices flowing to boot. I could wax poetic about honoring our resources, respecting ingredients, and my other crunchy spiritual thoughts, but that’s another post.
- Learn not follow. Just as assembling an Ikea console doesn’t make you a brilliant woodworker, following an exact recipe doesn’t make you a good cook. It makes you good at obeying instructions. I’m going to give you a lot of approximates, talk about methods and skills, and hopefully teach you how to solve problems you may encounter. I’ll talk about what ingredients are optional, and which ones you can sub out for whatever’s in your fridge. Working with what you have saves money and makes you a better home cook. Hopefully, over time this will give you the skill set and confidence to go “off the book” and invent your own meals.
- Eat your damn veggies. I know this is super judgy of me, but one of my biggest pet peeves are grown adults who won’t eat vegetables. You don’t have to like or even love them, but I have trouble relating to people who don’t at minimum tolerate veggies, if only just for sake of convenience. My husband Alex used to be one of those people. After nearly three years of ignoring his complaints, one day while eating a bowl of Sicilian chicken soup, he looked at me and proclaimed “wow, you get full so much faster if you don’t dodge the carrots and onions.” Who would have thought, right?
- Enjoy the butter, okay? Or cheese. Or drizzle some olive oil. Or the kosher salt. You’re going to be way more satisfied eating flavorful food than you would be eating mountains of bland rabbit food. I’m obviously not a healthcare professional. Of course my philosophy doesn’t work for everyone, but I’ve found that I actually end up eating less by not depriving myself of the things that make food taste good. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some kinda Paul Dean glutton. I make an effort to incorporate healthy substitutions, but ya know I’m also comfortable with my body’s perpetual and realistic softness. Also, I’m a bit distrustful of the processes uses to make things “fat free” or “fortified” or even “decaffinated.” Which leads me to my next rule…
- Shop the perimeter. I’m a simple girl. I don’t pretend to know if organic fruit or grass-fed beef is worth it. There are TONS of practical benefits of genetically modified produce, but I’m open to the possibility that they could cause some negative freakonomic effects down the line. Plus, to be honest it’s not worth it to me right now to blow a bunch of money on free-range chickens from Whole Foods. (Plus the sheer volume of food that Alex consumes in a day is just astonishing). It’s common knowledge that the less processed foods you eat the better, as fresh food retains more nutrients. The way I keep myself on that path is by shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, and filling up my cart with perishable ingredients.
Let’s be real here. I’ve got a full time job, I try to fit in a workout everyday, I have a robust social life, and I dedicate at least two hours a night to watching Netflix. I’ve also got a husband, two dogs, a cat, a garden, and a big kid house to take care of. This is just a creative outlet and an fun way to document recipes (and maybe teach some friends a little bit about food). I’m not going to optimize my photo dimensions for Pinterest. I don’t have a DSLR camera, so all of the photos here will be taken with my iPhone and video will be cut on Snapchat. *Maybe* you’ll get an occasional Instagram filter. My content will probably be a little sporadic…I mean, I do have TV shows to binge and stuff. I’ll probably write these posts in the 15 minutes after dinner that it takes Alex to throw tennis balls and tire out the doggos, so ya know give me a break.
In exchange for my less than dazzling images and prose, I will promise you guys few things: I’ll never have a stupid long rambling intro before I get to the dang recipe. I’ll never use the word “wanderlust.” The very nature of talking about food is pretentious in itself, but I’ll try to keep it in check. I won’t write in the cliche “little ol’ me” meet-cute romantic comedy ingenue voice that every other Mommy-blogger adopts. I’ll do my best to stay away from humble-braggy lifestyle porn because those people are just the worst.
Let’s all just be cool, hang out, laugh at the bizarro things I find entertaining, and talk about food, k?