Making a Fresh Start

Hopefully, you’ve taken the chance to read the “About the Blog” page, where I give a little back story for this blog. If not, I’ll get you caught up here and expand upon what I’ve already explained…

After graduating from college a few years back, I moved back home with my parents and took some time to figure out what to do next. After a few months of lazing about, cooking a bit, and struggling to come up with any clear life plan, I started a small food blog, got a job at Macy’s, and started taking some culinary arts classes at my local community college. I really got into cooking that summer (though I had dabbled in it in the years prior) and contemplated going to culinary school or finding some sort of food writing job. I tried countless new recipes and made up my own, and each one went up on the blog, called Reading, Writing, and Ravioli. I got started working on the job hunt after about six months at home and trudged through that process for over a year, dealing with rejections, countless applications that went unanswered, and a handful of interviews. I was focusing on finding publishing and writing/editing-focused jobs in the South and not getting anywhere in the search (being an English major with internship experience at small companies did not make me a prime candidate, evidently). This spring, while visiting my boyfriend of 5-and-a-half-plus years here in Memphis, I found out about a job at a local museum and after a whirlwind interview (I interviewed mere hours before my flight home, just a day after finding out about the position) and a few weeks of waiting, I received a call saying the job was mine if I wanted it. After some trips to see family, a mother-daughter vacation, a trip to Memphis to find an apartment, and lots of packing, I moved to Tennessee and started my life out on my own in the real world.

My job is wonderful and I work great hours there—I get off of work around 4:00pm each day and live about 15 minutes away, so I’m home with plenty of time (and energy) to prep and cook dinner. I live in a nice, one bedroom apartment with a wide, galley kitchen (really, it’s quite wide and two people can easily and comfortably work together in the space), and the kitchen is a big change from my family’s kitchen back home (which had extra deep sinks, two ovens, a large island and tons of prep space, and plenty of storage). I’ve been here for two months now and I’m still getting used to cooking on electric burners (they burn much hotter than gas stoves, in my opinion), washing dishes in a sink that’s about as deep as your standard cereal bowl, and finding room for all of my appliances and ingredients (it’s a bit tight, but I’m making it work). I’ve been cooking about three days a week, and the other days are either reserved for dining out, eating leftovers, or scrounging for whatever’s left in the apartment, but I’m working on cooking more, even if I end up just cooking simple dishes.

I’ve been cooking a lot of dishes I’ve made before, because it’s my boyfriend’s first time eating most of them, but I’ve been trying out new recipes too and I’ve been itching to share them. My old blog hasn’t really been working for me for a while. My camera has been on the fritz, I’ve been busy these first few weeks with getting everything set up in my apartment, and I’ve been adjusting to my new schedule. Most importantly, I’ve realized over the past few months (or even year) that I never measure when I cook and this made blogging a chore. When I bake, I measure everything, because baking is a science, but cooking…I just go with the flow. I add a pinch of this and a dash of that. I tweak recipes and add my own spin on things. I substitute ingredients and often play the “what can I make with what I have left in the fridge” game (or, as I like to call it, Chopped-light), and I’ve realized that I need to have a blog that lets me do that. So, rather than revamp my old blog, I want to start fresh. I’m making the switch from Blogger to WordPress.com, I’m cooking in a different kitchen, and I’m not getting caught up in the nitty-gritty details of recipes. I will share cooking tips and basics to help keep my readers on track, and I’ll certainly use some measurements (I won’t be posting anything as vague as “Add chicken, pasta, basil, cheese, and tomatoes to a pot; cook; and serve,” I promise), but I want to encourage people—whether beginner cooks or those with more experience—to trust their gut and trust their senses. I want readers to learn what flavors pair well and what flavors they enjoy and how to tell when there’s not enough or there’s too much of something. I don’t want you to measure out a tsp. each of salt and pepper and panic if you add just a little too much—I want you to put as much as you like because you’ll know, upon tasting, if it’s the right amount. I want you to feel free to change things to suit yourself and your dining companions.

So, here I go, making a fresh start, cooking beyond measure(ments)…

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