As someone with a background in the sciences, creative things weren’t always my thing. I’m not sure if I just wasn’t interested, thought I lacked the gene, or hadn’t found the spark to light the flame of it inside of me. The one that screams, “You have to do this or your life will feel incomplete! These words, photos, recipes, paints, clay, whatever, have to become something.” Maybe your inner creative voice isn’t quite as demand-y but when mine showed up two years ago, just at the tail end of my doctoral program, she sure as hell was. Thankfully, I listened and on a cold winter morning, I pressed “publish” on my first post. And it was terrible. It was so bad that I am intentionally not linking it for you here, if you want to dig it up, you’re going to have to scroll and scroll and scroll. #sorrynotsorry
But here’s the fun thing about life. You never know where it’s going to take you. One month I was lecturing on the topic of human sexuality to a bunch of half-awake college students, the next this quest for creative living had allowed me to become completely self-employed, spending my days recipe developing, writing, and photographing. Some of my close friends and family were skeptical – “But you’ve just finished grad school!” and “Can you really make a career out of food blogging?” – but most said keep going. Listen to the bossy lady inside who is telling you to live this more creative, more culinary, kind of life. Maybe she knows a thing or two.
That my creativity came to me in the form of food is actually not all that surprising. I was born-and-raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, known by my grandmother as as the grandchild who insisted on ordering the fried alligator while everyone else ordered hamburgers. I wrote my first recipe at age six, failed at my first flan at age eight, and fell in love with chicken liver pate at age nine. I was the kid who loved food so much that they hated the people who insisted on taking photos after it had arrived. See this Baked Alaska photo below from Antoine’s for evidence–I’m the one second from the left, with the death grip on her spoon and a look of horror amongst smiles, convinced the whole thing might disappear if we pause for a photo.
Now nothing gets eaten without a photo. I guess you could say some things have changed.
Today, I live in Portland, Oregon with my chocolate lab Bourré (pronounced Boo-Ray) and my middle-school-sweetheart-turned-husband Barrett. Together they make the best recipe testers around and the non-furry one also happens to make a mean cocktail. When I’m not in the kitchen cooking or in the backyard with said cocktails, you can usually find me throwing the ball for Bourré, doing wobbly warrior ones, or, sailing the Columbia River and doing my best to avoid death-by-boom. But more often than not, I’m spending time with my boys and my family and my friends and thanking my lucky stars that somehow, inexplicably, life landed me where I am today with a future that’s full of twists, turns, and surprises.
Many thanks for that, bossy lady. Who knows where I’d be without you.
ABOUT THE BLOG
Live every day as if tomorrow might never come. These are the words that I live by, the essence of my food and travel blog, and the very belief that gave me the boost I needed to journey away from a career in academia and towards a career in culinary creativity. I’ve touched on some of the experiences that brought me to this way of living in this space before, but really what it all comes down to is this:
Life is fragile.
Eat the damn chocolate.
Find your marrow.
I didn’t expect to, but I found mine here, in the form of recipe-sharing and story-telling and travel adventures.
And I feel lucky to say that this humble little blog has since taken me on a journey I never dreamed possible. I’ve developed recipes using some of the world’s best beef and spent a week in Nova Scotia photographing lighthouses and lobster and drinking way too many frosty pints of maritime craft beer. I’ve connected with just the best group of people over on Instagram and Facebook (come join!), have been featured in such places as Food52, BuzzFeed, and Yahoo, and was even named a finalist in the SAVEUR Blog Awards. (Still in happy shock over that one.) But I think the best part, the part that makes all of the struggle to get here worthwhile, is that I can honestly say for the first time in a long time, I feel comfortable in my own skin, more mindful of the richness that surrounds me, and excited to wake up and work every single day. Except for when the alarm clock goes off before 6am and then, according to my husband, I’m sometimes not so nice.
Despite the blog name, the recipes I share with you here aren’t all over-the-top indulgent, though my New Orleans upbringing does frequently make an appearance in the form of fried foods. But I also share recipes that are simple and seasonal like Pan-Seared Gnocchi with Charred Ramp Pesto or bold and playful like Black Garlic Ice Cream with Cookie Crumble.
Each post is inspired by a place and time but more than anything, each is inspired by a moment. And it’s to that precise moment that I want to bring you, the reader, in words, photos, adventures, recipes, and everything in between. Because at the crux of it all, this space is intended as a place to connect with all of you through sharing stories and sharing recipes. Whether they’re words about finding my Cajun heritage or my topsy-turvy relationship with whiskey; from salmon fishing in Alaska to my embarrassing childhood collection of alligator heads. The simple act of story-sharing over a meal – please, someone pass the wine – is, to me, one of things that connects us most as humans.
Take a moment while you’re here to explore. Read some things, cook some food, laugh at my perpetually-hungry chocolate lab. But whatever you do, don’t hesitate to sign up and stick around for a while and leave comments when you feel inspired. There’s nothing that makes me happier than swapping stories and breaking bread with new friends.