I’m Brooke. I love food – reading about it, talking about it, cooking it and eating it. I’m easily consumed by a recipe idea, a strange ingredient combination and meticulously reading restaurant menus – even if the restaurant is located states away. I’m very into popcorn, quesadillas, grains and beans, intense cheeses, seafood, furikake and coconut oil. Recently, I learned that milk chocolate is actually pretty amazing. I used to spend all of my time chasing the craziest cooking ideas and turning our kitchen into different science experiments (Of course I can cure olives! Yes, that bag of cheesecloth is paneer I’m draining in the sink, why?) and thinking the slow cooker was evil. Things have changed.
About Life as we Cook it (the real reason I’m here)
I’m also a writer, culinary school graduate, former food editor and more recently, a mom trying to get food on the table nightly. Before children, I thought nothing of working all day and coming home to spend an entire evening in the kitchen. Eating at 9pm? No problem. Made things a little too spicy? Oh well.
Going into parenting, I knew that having kids would mean turning our lives upside down, but what I didn’t understand was how much our cooking lives would be altered. No more randomly strolling grocery aisles at 6pm for that night’s dinner inspiration, no more choosing a dish that took an hour of prep, plus an additional hour to bake, and no more experimenting with random spicy peppers.
But, here’s the one thing that I did know: I was prepared to put endless effort into exposing my children to all different kinds of foods, flavors, textures and spices. Maybe they would turn into picky, only-eating-orange-and-red-food, sauce-on-the-side tots, but it was not going to be from lack of trying. I was not going to stop liking the food that we put on the table. I’ve put more time into meal planning, since becoming a parent, than I did in all the time before welcoming these little ones into our life. I believe in the importance of home-cooking and, of, trying new things – I know that the only way to make sure it happens is to have a plan.
I have foods I don’t like, and while I wish I enjoyed them, I just don’t. My goal is not to coerce our daughters into eating things they can’t stand, but I do want them to try a bite before saying no.
Our older daughter, Easton, is just over three and pretty willing (and determined) to eat anything. She is also incredibly interested in helping in the kitchen, which thrills me to no end, and yet makes it extremely challenging to cook efficiently. (Last week, I peeled and chopped two onions, and a 2-inch piece of ginger, waiting for her to finish peeling her clove of garlic.) Our youngest, Reeve, has just started eating and I plan to use the same methods that worked the first time (starting with vegetables, adding spices to purees and eventually, sharing meals as a family). Ultimately, will she eat whatever’s put in front of her like her sister or will she stare at me in contempt as I try to sneak a black bean onto her plate? It will be an interesting experiment.
Life as we Cook it is a look into the path we’re taking in our household to navigate it all: cooking for families, cooking with kids who want to “help,” for babies just starting out and for us, when we eat after the girls go to bed. While my kitchen goals have changed since having children, I firmly believe in cooking food, not kid food. With that in mind, I hope that even if you’re not cooking for a family, you’ll find that the recipes interest you, too.
You’ll see that chicken, turkey and fish definitely make their way onto our plates, but many of our home meals tend to be plant-based, or veggie-grain-bean heavy. We do a lot of planning and prep to get dinner on the table (here is more information about how we get it done). Whenever possible, I’ll indicate anything that can be prepared ahead of time, at the end of the recipe. I’m always looking for dinner inspiration from others and hope to offer some to you, too. Thanks so much for visiting.
Reach out to me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. It is so hard to get a picture of four people looking at the camera, especially when two of us are under 4-years-old. So, so hard.*
Photo by Margaret Reilly (who tried really hard to get everyone to look at the camera and smile)
Life as we Cook it logo by Susan LaConti (susanlaconti.com).