While I have always felt passionate about food, I have not always had an interest in baking or cooking. I grew up in northern California in a household filled with amazing food, mostly healthy and organic food. But my mom’s amazing kitchen skills did not initially translate into a cooking or baking interest of my own. I felt content knowing that I could eat boring food on my own, and then go home and be spoiled with delicious creative dishes you’d generally find in a restaurant.
It wasn’t until I moved to DC and started living with my best friend from college, Kelsey, that I realized I found pure joy in standing in the kitchen for hours with a spatula in my hand and quite often, flour all over the place.
There were a couple big moments that helped spark and encourage my interest in baking.
- The first was receiving a bright red and cheerful KitchenAid mixer for Christmas back in 2009. Once you have this glorious tool, you sort of wonder how you ever did anything without it. No seriously. It makes food so much better. I tried making cookies from scratch at a friend’s (who did not have a mixer) and they were just not the same as what I could have made at home!
- The second was my trip to Europe a year and half ago. After spending 15 months at your average “first year out of school” administrative job, I felt the need to go do something interesting. I’d never had the chance to study abroad in college (I spent a semester in DC instead) and I’d kept waiting, thinking I’d find a friend to travel with eventually. But finally I gave in and just decided to do it by myself. I spent two months abroad in several different cities, but my time in Paris had the biggest impact. While there, I took a baking class to learn how to make pastry dough (aka croissants, which will be covered in post 2) and breads. Realizing that the average baker could create the deliciousness that is a buttery croissant sealed the deal for me. Ever since I came back about 18 months ago, I have spent a lot more time baking.
- This last big moment might sound silly, but it really did help. Having roommates and a boyfriend who will consistently eat the baked goods you leave out (or co-workers who will demolish them the second the email goes out letting them know it’s in the kitchen) makes a big difference. For me, part of baking is being able to share it with the people around you. I almost never bake just for myself. The best part is waiting for it to be done and then watching other people enjoy it (of course while I enjoy it myself). Living with close friends, and now my boyfriend, has provided me a constant stream of tasters and helpers.
To those of you reading this, I thank you. To get started I am going to try to post one baking recipe a week. I’ll also try to post “My Favorite Meal of the Week” every week. This will generally be things I have made at home and I’ll include the recipe. Although sometimes I may throw in a fun food adventure outside of my kitchen too. Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@ameliahbarry) and Instagram (ameliahbarry) and email me any questions or suggestions (firstname.lastname@example.org).