Hello friend! Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Autumn. I’m a 26 year-old wife, elementary teacher, and mess-making cooking enthusiast. But, I’m not at all from a cooking family. My story might be the same as many 20-somethings growing up in an age of fast food and convenience cooking. An age in which the kitchen is simply a place where you nuke your takeout and call it a day. My family had that good ole rotating menu of tacos, frozen pizza, hamburgers, brats (Milwaukee girl here!), spaghetti, and really dry pork chops “seasoned” with the old family go-to… Shake ‘N Bake. White bread was our friend and most veggies were pretty foreign to me.
Exhibit A: I thought eggplant was only used in eggplant fries.
Exhibit B: Not one onion or garlic bulb crossed the threshold of our home. Ever. Gasp!
Let’s just say that there was a whole world of flavor that had not gotten anywhere near my palate for the first 22 years of my life.
After graduating college, my boyfriend (now husband) and I moved to Chicago and grabbed whatever low-paying jobs we could find. I became very concerned for Michael as I saw the starchy, salty food he was living off of on such a tight budget. One cannot live on Rice-A-Roni alone! Finally, I decided to take matters into my own hands and get a little more acquainted with that scary room in my apartment. With the internet as my friend and some thrift store cookware, I began learning how to cook nourishing meals on a budget. And so a love affair began. With food that is.
Since then, Michael and I have married and moved back to my hometown of Milwaukee. I finally have a big kid job as a teacher at a school for Hmong refugees and Hmong-Americans, and Michael is finishing up law school. It has become my deep joy to come home at the end of each tiring day to find my kitchen waiting for me. I’ve become inspired by authors such as Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, and Tamar Adler to keep it simple, keep it good, and keep it filled with love. I also try my best to stick to a whole foods approach using mostly organic veggies, whole grains, local products, and responsibly raised meats.
Finding my kitchen has been such an exciting adventure for me…though I’ve learned that I just have to cope with the fact that I screw things up A LOT. Things will burn, bread will simply choose not to rise, and sometimes I sit down to dinner and say, “Ummmm…what was I thinking?” Kid, it happens. Despite my long series of mishaps, I’ve discovered a new world of flavors and cuisines and have found such joy in cooking for those I love.
It is my hope that this blog can inspire you to find your kitchen and what that can mean to you.
“I am more modest now, but I still think that one of the pleasantest of all emotions is to know that I, I with my brain and my hands, have nourished my beloved few, that I have concocted a stew or a story, a rarity or a plain dish, to sustain them truly against the hungers of the world.”