Thoughts and Reves

The Statue of Liberty ... in Paris
In 2004 I moved to Paris. I was in school for a dual degree in theater and French and, while in Paris, I took both acting and literature classes. But what affected me more than anything I learned in school was what I learned from just living there. It was my first time living alone and being completely in charge of my own meals. At first I lived in the garret apartment of a family's complex at the bottom of the 15th arrondissement. I was on a student budget and not accustomed to cooking everyday meals, so, at first, I at lots of lentils, pasta and eggs. I also was equipped with only a hot plate and a microwave.

While eating dinners alone in my garret, I discovered food blogs. At that point I never dreamed of writing one myself but I was comforted reading about Clotilde and David's exciting edible adventures in the same city I was in! And just reading their recipes and discoveries influenced my own cooking and confidence in the kitchen.

In January 2005, my then-boyfriend flew out to Paris to join me and, together, we were able to rent a one-bedroom in the first arrondissement, just a few blocks away from the Place de Chatelet. This move was the greatest part of my Parisian adventure. Living with an equally adventurous eater inspired me to start cooking whatever I was most influenced by at the boucherie, fromagerie, poisonnerie or marche aux fruits et legumes. I stopped being tied to cookbooks, opened myself up to whatever was in season, and wasn't afraid to make mistakes, always learning as I went. I was also extremely influenced by the food blogs I was now reading religiously and began commenting on several as well.

In March, my boyfriend went off the China with his family for a few weeks and I remained at Paris. At first I wondered if I would return to my life of lentils and eggs but never again. I continued experimenting, making big stews which lasted me several meals instead of just one. One night I was on the phone with my mom, describing a particularly delicious dinner and Mom suggested I start writing some of the creations down so I'd remember them. I hung up, read the food blogs I was following at the time, and then signed into Blogger and began my own. The rest, as they say, is history.

Recently, though, the blog's focus has changed. I've been living in New York since 2006 and, in the fall of 2009, I met the love of my life. Much to my chagrin, he is a vegetarian (although he doesn't object to chicken stock) and not the most adventurous eater. So my cooking has become 90% vegetarian and I'm always looking for ways to introduce him to new foods and flavors. It's made me more creative and, while frustrating at times, has made cooking and eating into a true adventure. He's been wonderfully supportive of the blog and is now responsible for all photography.

The other thing affecting my focus was that, in the winter of 2009, I contracted a serious case of mono. My immune system was wracked and I had little appetite and no energy. As I began to recover, slowly, I needed to eat meals that were as healthy and nutritious as possible. Combined with a new mostly-vegetarian diet, I started paying closer attention to food groups and everything I put into my body. The Make It a Meal function came out of all this planning. I'm now (mostly) recovered but still retaining this new focus on eating healthy, nutritious, delicious, vegetarian food that's still tempting to omnivores.

All this is to say ... welcome! Look around, leave some comments and, above all, enjoy yourself. Bon appetit!