My Name is Karen

Hello and welcome!  My name is Karen.  I’m a twentysomething currently living in Flagstaff, Arizona and I love to bake. And cook. And eat the things I bake and cook. And share the things I bake and cook. And now I want to share all of these things with you.  But first, a little more about me and my culinary journey.

Growing up in the Grand Canyon state has its perks, least of all its wide variety of culinary offerings, coupled with the recent trend of the Phoenix foodie invasion.  When I was a kid, I got exposure to everything but particularly the enticing spices of the authentic Mexican food scene, though I’m still struggling with how to capture it in my own kitchen.  My favorite foods, though, were the comforting ones — the ones my mom or my family would make.  Every birthday I would ask for tamale pie (basically sauced taco meat and cheese on a bed of Fritos) and everything Thanksgiving we would eat Morris’s corn casserole alongside our green beans and turkey. But I never really thought I could do it on my own. Sure, I cooked in college and knew a thing or two when I got married.  Yes, my husband and I would cook and he would teach me little tricks of the trade, like proper seasoning techniques. And you bet I could whip up a box of brownies. But brownies from scratch? I was too scared.

My turning point has to be apple pie.  The quintessential, all-American classic of gently spiced apples baked to perfection inside the flakiest of all crusts. Okay, so that’s not how mine turned out, but it was the first thing I think I’d ever truly baked from scratch. I’d picked the apples myself on the green grass of a little space in a tiny vacation getaway spot in Sedona, in Oak Creek Canyon, that my parents and I stay at every October. And for once, I’d seasoned it properly, made the dough myself, and even crumbled my own concoction on top. I brought it to work, much to my trepidation, and people loved it! That was in October and I haven’t stopped since.

A long time ago, I learned to not be so burdened by my fears when it came to love or academics, but over time I came to realize that I had been letting my fears get to me in other areas of my life, like exercising. I hadn’t been running because I was scared, but once I started, I was totally hooked. The same was true of cooking: once I dug in, it was the best possible surprise.  It was fun, easy, and rewarding. And I couldn’t stop! My habit has expanded my cupboards, my horizons, and possibly the waistlines of my coworkers.

So here’s to cheesecakes! To cupcakes! To curds! To confectioner’s sugar!

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