I’ve receive many questions from my readers. So many, if fact, that I’ve compiled a list of the most FAQ’s I’ve received. And for your reading pleasure- here they are in a very particular order:
When did you decide to start blogging?
I decided to start Sense & Edibility in September of 2016. I had just self-published my first cookbook: Taste & See Cooks. And the response was so great, especially with regard to 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 for me to settle on a direction, and time still to decide on a name. Eventually, I was able to begin writing and sharing my thoughts with you. I’m brand new to this blogging game, but I have great mentors and a wonderful support system in my family. I’m looking forward to developing more skills as a writer and photographer, but I’m excited about what the future holds for 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 in the most sensible and efficient way possible.
Having had the privilege to cook 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 in their 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 Balitmore 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. Now, it is known as Stratford University.
Do you work in a “real” kitchen?
Yes! My kitchen has a stove, an oven, a sink and four walls!
Now, 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 whilst trying to get pregnant. On the advice of my doctor, 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 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 thereafter.
How do you develop recipes?
Most of my recipes are the result of an insane jealously 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 season, a piece of produce or meat I find in the local food market, travel, or just plain boredom. You’ll come to see that not all of my recipes are successes (I won’t post those, but I will post the, often, hilarious stories that go with them). Those recipes that are a hit will have been tested a minimum of three times to make sure you have the same success that landed them onto Sense & Edibility.
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, dumfounded, 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 FM (the military’s acronym for Family Member) for all. Of. My. Life.
Literally. I am one of the rare individuals who have my birth certificate in my military medical records. I was born in a military hospital to my Airmen parents and now I’m currently the proud wife of a Soldier. There was a one month lapse in my FM status, where I went from being my mother’s dependent (I hate that word) to my husband’s. So, at the risk of sheer humiliation, I’ve been a family member for 38 years.
Do you like being a military wife?
Like most military wives, I will have to admit that this lifestyle is not easy. I’m not like many of my sisters in that I have never given birth while my spouse watched on Skype or missed it altogether, but that may be a result of having had twins. I have had to celebrate many birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestones alone due to mission demands. I have had to watch my Soldier walk away too many times to count. I’ve dealt with deployments, isolated short tours, trainings, temporary tours of duty and field exercises that took him away from me more times than I can remember.
BUT! I wouldn’t change it for the world.
The military has blessed me with some of the most profound, heartfelt friendships I could’ve imagined. It has allowed me to sit on piazza’s overlooking the Ionian Sea and watch Mt Etna’s lava flowing down its face. I’ve touched the remnants of the Berlin Wall. I’ve pushed my twins in a stroller around the Parthenon in Greece; and I’ve done it all while supporting my very own hero. It isn’t an easy life, by far- but it’s an amazing one to be sure.
The recipe I used didn’t work. What’s up with that?
Well, that sucks!
While I test, retest and retest my recipes, sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes it’s the result of a poorly written recipe- in which case, my apologies, I am human and am subject to err; but that is never my goal.
Other times, however, I find the main reason for recipes failing is user error. Many times we like to substitute ingredients in a recipe or use incorrect equipment to attempt to recreate a recipe and that can lead to a recipe’s failure. If you choose to deviate from the recipe, please be ready to accept that the recipe 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, like I do) or wait until you can get your hands on it before attempting the recipe.
I tell my readers to always read a recipe through twice in order to familiarize yourself with the steps. Make sure to measure out your ingredients into separate containers (bowls) prior to starting. Observe proper temperature directions and food handling techniques. All these things will help in producing the most successful, and delicious, outcome.
When in doubt, email me! You can reach me here: email@example.com
I need more help than that! Can you give me culinary advice?
I love to chat with up-and-coming home chefs, and oftentimes, their questions are more in-depth than a blog post or quick email can touch upon. 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 $25/hour. Let me help you take the work out of the planning or troubleshoot what went wrong with your meal. Please contact me by email for more details: firstname.lastname@example.org.