admin On September - 6 - 2013

One of the things I enjoy about working for my sister is the wide range of clients she has as a publicist. Authors, actors, and cooks, to name a few! I particularly love the food-related clients because it gives me a chance to delve into the gastronomical vortex that are food blogs (although on those days where I’m dining on the most atrocious of fare, it can be somewhat tortuous). As all my friends can attest, I ADORE having dinner parties and entertaining. Indeed, I might well have considered going to culinary school had I not had a very solid understanding that becoming a chef meant adopting a lifestyle I was NOT  prepared to endure.

In a cruel twist of fate, I have never been able to successfully find an apartment that had a kitchen that matched my culinary desires. Whenever you have a dog it’s a trial enough to find a place, so I’ve generally had to be willing to sacrifice kitchen space for the privilege of not being rendered homeless on the streets with my dog. I will admit that I have my favourite kitchen to date. It’s actually very nice, newly finished and spacious. The only problem is the incredible lack of counter space and the fact that and there is no way for me to install a dishwasher (a dishwasher, a dishwasher, my kingdom for a dishwasher!). I bought one of those handy dandy wooden block counters from IKEA, but wouldn’t you know it, when I went back recently to buy a second I’d discovered they’d been discontinued (see DISCONTINUED for more information).

My need to use whatever kitchen space I have for added counter space has also made the actual ‘dining’ part a little tricky, however, as it results in a lot of on-the-lap eating in the living room and no shortage of dangerously close encounters with the edge of plates courtesy the muzzle of my adorable, yet incredibly moochey, dog Lucy.

turkey

One of the ‘Why not try doing this elaborate recipe on the day of the dinner you’re inviting ten people over for?’ experiments. Yes, it’s a cupcake.

My adoration of entertaining is slightly at odds with my deficit of organizational skills, however, and there’s inevitably a fairly high ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ element to my outings. By and large though, I usually pull it off. Somewhat astounding given my irrational penchant for inevitably choosing recipes I have never made before.

One of the things I find strange is that in exploring cooking (not baking) blogs, there seems to be a dramatic gender reversal in authorship. The cooking world is notorious for being a ‘boys club’ that female chefs find incredibly difficult to break into. Yet the world of cooking blogs seems to be dominated by women. I’m not talking about ‘mommy bloggers’ either (and I am most certainly not using that term in a denigrating fashion, just as a categorical definition…those who follow these things know exactly what I mean). So I’m curious why that is.

For a long time, baking was my nemesis. I’ve struggled with the level of precision required of baking and pastry work. Indeed, in my chemistry classes in high school I always liked to envision myself as some kind of mad scientist who delighted more in making ‘weird’ things happen in my experiments rather than actually doing it correctly (I’m still always amazed at how well I did in that class). And that kind of ethos has followed me into adulthood. Rather than being creeped out by discovering the almost radioactive reaction that occurs when honey, balsamic vinegar, curry, and fat have cooled, I was ridiculously excited and decided next time I’d definitely have to chuck in more of the ingredients as an experiment to see just how neon I could get the colours to go. That type of attitude to the culinary arts does not serve you well when it comes to baking, where the simple addition of 1/8 tsp of the wrong ingredient can render the product completely inedible.

In an effort to help me, my mother bought me The Idiot’s Guide to Baking. Far from being insulted, I was thrilled and it has brought me so far. I’m still not capable of altering baking recipes in the way I might do to in cooking, but I can at least follow a recipe now and my cupcakery has improved exponentially. I still have yet to master the pastry world…but one conquering at a time.

Now I live in the food capital of Canada, and do I go out? Nope. Granted it’s mostly due to my massive career change and brokering the sacrifices that go along with it. But I do plan on changing that soon.

Part of me would really like to tackle the elusive macaron—the other part of me says ‘why bother, you live in the world’s macaron capital outside of Paris!’ But I do love a challenge…