I’m an Oregon native who has lived Back East since 1998, including five years in New York City. I spent 4 years in NYC working at a big magazine—I covered luxury goods and lifestyle, but always fantasizing about being a food writer. In the fall of 2006 I headed north to New Hampshire and began a rural interlude while my new husband finished grad school. I ended up cooking a lot, and recording the results here. We moved to Cambridge, Mass., bought an apartment in a 1901 building, did a lightening kitchen renovation to add unimportant little details like, say, counters, and are reveling in home ownership. I’m a freelance writer, so please contact me if you’d like to talk about any writing projects.
I have always loved food, thanks to a family that is positively obsessed with good things to eat. A few of my defining food experiences:
Eugene, Oregon, age 6: My dad’s boss is a hunter and gives him a duck he shot. My mom makes a fruit sauce (I think it was currant) and roasts the duck, and the three of us perch around the kitchen counter and eat it, not even bothering to sit down. I am very careful to check for stray pieces of shot.
Île d’Oléron, off the Atlantic coast of France, age 13: My host family, which has otherwise ranged from lackluster to horrible, has taken me with them on a weekend trip to their vacation house. We pick up a couple kilos of langoustines at the town dock, along with a few baguettes, take them home, boil them, and heap them in the middle of the table. All we eat for dinner is the amazingly fresh shellfish, butter, and the bread.
Somewhere south of Yuma, AZ, in Mexico, age 15: While in Mexico on a work trip one of the women in the town where we are working decides to teach a few of us how to cook. We go into her dirt-floored kitchen, remarkably cool even on a 95 degree day, and spend a few hours with the woman and some girls our age, all of us hysterical laughing as we clumsily try to imitate the smooth movements required to pat masa dough into tortillas. We also shape masa dough into little boats, which are fried and filled with meat or beans. The village is very poor and most people rarely eat meat, and the woman has just been left by her husband and sells hair scrunchies to get by. Nonetheless, along with other women in town she has insisted on buying several kinds of meat and preparing a feast for our group. We ignore the warnings of our leaders about eating the meat and enjoy ourselves thoroughly.
New York, NY, age 22: My roommate is a bartender at Veritas, and we go in to eat at the bar one night. As dish after dish comes out to us my boyfriend and I can barely speak, the food is so good. She convinces us to order a chicken dish, and we practically lick the bowl. Desserts include a tiny donut and little mexican hot chocolate, and a trio of apple desserts including a spectacular sour apple granita.
Napa Valley, age 23: We eat at Tra Vigne on a day trip to Napa, and I order a broccoli appetizer that includes roasted florets, shaved stems dressed in meyer lemon juice, and a little baked custard made with Parmesan cheese.
Montemarcello, on the Ligurian Coast, Italy, age 24: My family is staying in an old vacation home owned by some relatives. It is April and the fava beans have started, so every store is full of baskets of the beans next to hunks of Pecorino cheese. We sit around the kitchen table eating the beans raw with slivers of cheese and working our way through bottle after bottle of wine.