I receive many questions from my readers. So many, in fact that I’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs). For your reading pleasure, here they are in a very particular order:
When did you start blogging?
I started writing in September of 2016, having just self-published my first cookbook: Taste & See Cooks. And the response was so great, especially concerning the memories and anecdotes that preceded every recipe, that I decided to start writing more often and with a broader audience in mind.
It took some time to settle on a direction and more time still to decide on a name. Eventually, I was able to begin writing and sharing my thoughts with you. I’m still new-ish to this blogging game, but I have great mentors and a great support system in my family.
I’m looking forward to developing more skills as a food writer and photographer, but I’m excited about the future of Sense & Edibility.
How did you come up with the name for your blog?
Sense & Edibility is a play on the title of a Jane Austen book: Sense and Sensibility.
Jane Austen was one of my mother’s favorite authors. Sense and Sensibility was her favorite book by Austen. I thought I’d pay homage to my mother, and at the same time, name my blog after one of my biggest goals as a trained chef: teaching others to work with food sensibly and efficiently.
Having had the privilege of cooking in kitchens in many different states and countries, I realized the more I traveled and spoke with people, that not everyone has the space, tools, or skills to create gourmet, restaurant-quality meals at home. I want to get people as close to that as possible, and in the process, surprise them with what they are capable of accomplishing.
Where did you go to school?
I am a graduate of the Baltimore International Culinary College in, you’ve guessed it, Baltimore, MD. I graduated, with honors, in August 19*cough, cough*. Let’s just say it’s been a minute (and a half). The school has changed administrations- and names- a few times since my days, though.
Do you work in a “real” kitchen?
Yes! My kitchen has a stove, an oven, a sink, and four walls!
Do I work in a commercial kitchen? No. No, I don’t. But it’s no less real than the stainless steel meccas most people think chefs are confined to. I last worked in a commercial kitchen in 2002, right before I changed jobs while trying to get pregnant. On my doctor’s advice, I took a less physically demanding job, so I changed course (not careers because I would never agree to stop cooking permanently) and started working as an administrative assistant at a military hospital. The twins were born after, and I couldn’t bear to leave them to go back to working 12-hour shifts in a kitchen. I began a stay-at-home cake decorating business shortly after that.
I now work as a food writer, food photographer, stylist, and freelance culinary content writer for other bloggers and media outlets.
How do you develop recipes?
Most of my recipes result from insane jealousy that arises whenever my husband claims something he’s tasted (which I didn’t make) is good. It doesn’t even have to be over-the-top delicious. Even if he says, “It’s really good,” I need to figure out how to make it and make it better. Other than that (irrational) way of creating, I develop recipes based on the seasons, holidays, a piece of produce or meat I find in the local food market, travel, or just plain boredom.
Not all of my recipes are successes (I won’t post those, but I will post the often hilarious stories that go with them). Recipes that are a hit will have been tested a minimum of three times to ensure you have the same success that landed them a spot on Sense & Edibility.
Your recipe didn’t work. What’s up with that?
Well, that just sucks!
While I test, retest, and retest my recipes, sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes it’s the result of a typo, unintentional omission, or simply poorly written recipe- in which case, my apologies, I am human and am subject to err; but that is never my goal.
Most often, however, I find the main reason for recipes failing is user error. Many times, substituting or omitting ingredients in a recipe or using incorrect equipment can lead to a recipe’s failure. If you choose to deviate from the recipe, please be ready to accept that it may not turn out the way I’ve described or photographed. If you don’t have the equipment called for in the recipe, see if your neighbor will let you borrow theirs (just pay them in food, as I do), or wait until you can get your hands on it before attempting the recipe. If you substitute or omit an ingredient, you probably will find the recipe won’t be the same.
I encourage you to always read a recipe twice to familiarize yourself with the steps. Measure out your ingredients into separate containers (bowls) before starting. Observe directions related to proper temperature and food handling techniques. All these things will help in producing the most successful and delicious outcome.
Also, remember that my images result from my being a food photographer and stylist for years. I have to make my food look extra pretty to lure you into my web of recipes. That said, I don’t alter or adulterate my food in any way. Don’t feel like your recipe failed because it’s not worthy of a magazine cover.
When in doubt, email me! You can reach me here: firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include what (if anything) you changed about the recipe when writing so I can best troubleshoot what went wrong.
I need more help than that! Can you give me culinary advice?
I love to chat with up-and-coming home chefs, and often, their questions are more in-depth than a blog post or quick email can address. For those pesky recipes you’re trying to develop or an upcoming party that you need to plan a menu for, I offer culinary consultation for a fee. I can help you take the work out of planning your meal or with troubleshooting what went wrong with your own recipe.
Please contact me by email for more details: email@example.com.
I posted a comment on your site, but now it’s gone!
Were you being mean? If you were, that’s the reason why it’s gone. Though I open myself up to public scrutiny, I don’t allow bullying or insulting language on my site. It doesn’t matter if it’s directed towards me, the recipe, or other commenters. There’s no reason for mean language.
If you weren’t being mean and you still don’t see your posted comment, it probably had nothing to do with the recipe you were commenting on. To allow others who come to the comments to see whether they should make the recipe, I want to make sure only relevant comments are visible. If you have a non-related comment, please use the “contact me” link to send me a message instead.
Please note that I reserve the right to edit all comments left on this site for clarity, spelling, grammar, or relevance.
What is your all-time favorite thing to make?
Well, that’s like asking me which one of my kids I love more!
That really is one of the most difficult questions I am asked. I used to stare, dumbfounded, at the asker because I never knew what to say.
I’ve been asked that question often, so I’ve finally come up with an answer: braised short ribs. It’s a combination of cooking methods, and the end result is so rich and flavorful that it’s also a dish I enjoy eating. It also helps that it’s my husband’s favorite meal, so it’s a win/win for me.
How long have you been a military family member?
I have been a military family member all. Of. My. Life.
I am one of the few individuals who have my birth certificate in my military medical records. I was born in a military hospital to Airmen parents, and now I’m the proud wife of a RETIRED Soldier. After 26 years of honorable service, my husband retired, and now we’re living our best life!
Did you like being a military wife?
Like most military wives, I have to admit that the lifestyle was not easy. I had to celebrate many birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestones alone due to mission demands. I had to watch my Soldier walk away too many times to count. I dealt with deployments, isolated short tours, training, temporary tours of duty, and field exercises that took him away from me more times than I can remember.
BUT! I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.
The military has blessed me with some of the most profound, heartfelt friendships I could’ve imagined. It allowed me the opportunity to learn recipes from cultures that I can now bring to you.