I grew up in rural Baltimore County, and now I live in the heart of Baltimore City. This suburban-to-urban migration has influenced nearly every aspect of my life as a food writer and cook. For instance, I am always on the lookout to try new recipes and distinctive combinations of ingredients — and I raise chickens in the backyard of my Hampden rowhouse. Also, when it comes to the food I put on the table, I choose only fresh and locally grown ingredients whenever possible and do most of my shopping at a nearby farmer’s markets. My grandparents were farmers, so they went ‘local’ before it was a movement. I guess I’m following in their footsteps.
I’ve always been interested in cooking, but I didn’t get serious about it until after a trip to France several years ago. During the trip, I had a culinary epiphany, brought on in part by having the chance to spend time with Ina Garten, one of my food and entertaining faves, while visiting a friend in Paris. When I got back to Baltimore, I was so inspired. And ready to cook!
One of the things I love best about cooking is that you can constantly learn new things and make exciting discoveries in the process. For example, while trying to find a dessert that appealed to me, I created my Charm City Cook Salted Caramel Brownies. I’m not a huge sweets person, so the combination of ingredients — three kinds of chocolate, sea salt and caramel (along with eggs from my own backyard Ameraucana hens) seemed like the perfect mix for a decadent, yet down-to-earth fudgy brownie.