My name is Risa, and I’m a millennial, scientist, and food-lover living in Boston, MA. I cook for myself, and occasionally a crowd, in my tiny kitchen, where every pan and utensil (and human) must earn its valuable square footage. I believe that cooking can embody so many values in life – environmental and financial stewardship, health, playfulness, creation, connection to the past, family, and culture, exploration, and showing those you love how much you care. These are the reasons that I have loved cooking throughout my life, and this year I’d like to add another value: courage.
Up to this point, I have become a competent cook. I can follow almost any recipe and produce truly excellent dishes ranging from breakfast to dessert (if I do say so myself). I devour food TV, consume cooking blogs, and salivate over Instagram pics of perfectly composed dishes (can I get another pun in there somewhere?). But what I am afraid to do is become the thing I most admire – a chef, who not only replicates other people’s genius, but contributes something of her own. That chasm seems to me the greatest for a home cook to cross; it is one thing to know the techniques, and another entirely to look beyond the techniques to the essence of food. What flavors go together? How do I take a dish from edible, to memorable? What precise chemistry causes my soupy mix of ingredients to take on the beauty of a cake?
This year, and through this blog, I aim to figure out the answer to these questions. I will use my working knowledge of the techniques of cooking, and all the accumulated knowledge of chefs and cooks before me, to give me the courage to generate my own recipes. As a scientist, I approach every new problem very methodically, so in preparation for this adventure I’ve come up with a few tenants of recipe creation (available here). These are guidelines based on my understanding of currently available recipes that I hope will help guide me towards success. I will start small, but by the end of the year I hope to be confidently taking risks and creating unique dishes that I am proud to share with all of you. Along the way, I will record my process – how I chose the dish, options for making it your own, tips and tricks, and the final product. I hope that my experience will give you the courage to take your own risks in the kitchen and share your creativity with the world. But remember, unlike with other recipe blogs, when you take risks in the kitchen, results are not guaranteed.