Some of my earliest memories are in the kitchen. I specifically remember making cutout sugar cookies with my mom, and being so distraught over throwing away the scraps of dough, that I started sneaking little bites out of the trashcan (don’t worry, it was right on top!!). I’m not sure why that memory has stuck with me because its kind of weird and a bit gross, but maybe it’s that I had a passion for creating something out of nothing, and I hated to see it go to waste. I grew up eating wonderful homemade food, and it didn’t take long until my sister and I were joining my mom in the kitchen, helping her prepare whatever delicious recipe she was working on.
These days, I have grown to love cooking savory food primarily, with some baking thrown in there. I love cooking more than baking because of its forgiving nature. Baking is more of a precise art, and while I’ve had a lot of success there, I’ve had even more success cooking breakfast/lunch/dinner. It is less exact, and is open to interpretation. I get to use my creativity in the seasonings and spices, and love to riff off of a recipe that I trust. I usually cook dinner for Austin and I, and I’ve enjoyed planning ahead with a mix of new recipes and old favorites. There’s something calming about coming home after work and turning my brain off from accomplishing anything but my next meal. Cooking is a relatively quick creative exercise that produces immediately consumable results. When many other unfinished projects or unanswered questions linger, cooking allows me to one extra problem by the end of the day.
My family’s recipes are sealed tight, but I’ve slowly built a collection of recipes that are a mix of old family recipes, trusted favorites, and new resources. The cookbooks that I most often turn to are any of Ina Garten’s books or Chrissy Tiegen’s. I have yet to purchase Chrissy’s new book, so stay tuned on that… There are also several food blogs that I’ve come to trust because each and every recipe is outstanding. My top favorites are Half Baked Harvest and Broma Bakery. Not only do their recipes turn out great, these girls are fun to follow on social media, and inspire me to experiment with my paintings similar to how they push the boundaries of their recipes, their styling and their photography. I made these pork chops last week with some leftover pears from the farm and Austin was literally licking his plate. So good.
I think the reason that I love being in the kitchen so much is because of its immediate results. It allows me to serve others and myself, and creates a reason to gather, whether it is Austin and I on a weeknight, sitting on our kitchen barstools, or entertaining our closest friends and family to celebrate a special occasion. I can bring the same service-oriented spirit into my studio. I intend for my paintings to serve as a reminder of the natural beauty in the world, and to create a moment of calm in an otherwise overly stimulated world. While the results are less immediate than a home cooked meal, their lasting impact is equally as profound.