COOKtheSTORY: Homemade Recipes for Real Life

If you’re the kind of person who loves nothing more than wielding a wooden spoon in one hand and a smartphone in the other, you’re going to love this site. Here’s how it came to be.

Hi, I’m Christine. I’m the writer, recipe developer and photographer at COOKtheSTORY. This site is a place for busy people who love to cook. I started out as a not very busy person who loved to cook. Now that I’m much busier I’ve had to find ways to fit that love of cooking into my life. I share those ways, the things I’ve learned and the recipes I’ve stumbled into, here on COOKtheSTORY.

I used to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I mean A LOT. Before we had kids, back when I was a grad student, I would spend 1.5-2 hours per day making dinner. If we were having friends over I’d start pre-making things a week in advance. I loved every minute of it.

I was a bit of a know-it-all back then (still am!). When people told me that they didn’t have time to cook I thought they just didn’t love it enough. If they loved it they’d find time for it, right?

Then we had our son J and I kept trying to make all these elaborate perfect meals. I managed o.k. but it was a busy time especially because my husband traveled a lot for work. I started this blog despite the hectic days. I think I was trying to prove that you could have a family and a life and still spend tons of time in the kitchen. I was holding onto that. Tightly.

After awhile the blog started to do well and I even got some clients who wanted me to develop recipes and do food photography for their brands. And then we had another baby, Em. There I was with a busy husband, two small kids, a blog and a burgeoning small business. Let’s just say we started buying rotisserie chickens and ordering pizzas.

You see, somehow even with this food blog and all those recipe development clients, I had no idea how to cook simply for my family. When I was making dinner I still went full-out; I made complicated perfect homemade meals every time I got into the kitchen. But I no longer had the time. I needed to change how I was doing things. I took a deep breath and decided to let go of the complicated and the perfect.

I knew that I needed to spend less time cooking but I was afraid that the food wouldn’t be as good or that I wouldn’t love cooking as much. I had to stay true to my inner cook and continue to make delicious homemade food. I just had to do it more simply and more quickly. This became my creed:
What I tell myself so that I have time to cook and for life.

The mantra Less. Not. More. came to rule my cooking life. I wanted to still enjoy cooking and still spend time in the kitchen but just not as much. I’ve figured out a lot of things about how to make it work and these days I’m sharing these quick and easy homemade recipes on my site.

A great example is the SOUPin15 series that I launched mid-2014. In my new quick-cooking life I was craving the slow-simmering of my mom and my baba’s kitchens. I decided to try to make the kinds of homemade soups I’d grown up eating, but more quickly. The result: Every week for a year I’m sharing a homemade soup recipe that’s ready in under 15 minutes. They use fresh ingredients whenever possible, they’re comforting and delicious and they’re easy to work into your (and my!) busy life. There are over 25 of them now. You can see them all along with the tips and tricks that make them delicious quickly over here.

The SOUPin15 series is a great example of what I’m hoping to do on this blog: Help busy cooks cook. These days you’ll find quick and easy homemade recipes all over the site. But the recipes aren’t merely quick slapdash ways to get dinner on the table. They take as their starting point a real love of cooking. They’re simple recipes for people who enjoy cooking. I share all kinds of info about cool ingredients and new techniques to try out because I know that people who love to cook, people like me, love uncovering new things to add to their repertoire.

A bit about me and about my business:

I’m a Canadian girl living in Florida. I’m the mom of two little kids, one American and one Canadian, and my husband’s a Brit so we’ve got an international thing going on. I have a Masters degree and most of a PhD in Linguistics. I used to research Inuktitut, a language spoken by Inuit people. When we moved to Florida for my husband’s job I was far away from academics, which had been the center of my work and social life for years. That distance helped me to realized that my true vocation was something else: The food world of my childhood.

My parents had a variety of successful food businesses and restaurants the whole time I was growing up. I worked in their restaurants from the age of 12 and throughout high school and my college years. My parents are now retired but my brother and his wife continue the family tradition with a restaurant in Manitoba’s White Shell Provincial Park.

Food as a profession made sense to me but I didn’t want to have a restaurant. Instead, I’ve applied my academic skills of researching and writing to food and recipes.

Since starting COOKtheSTORY, the blog and some of its recipes have appeared or been featured in a variety of online and print publications such as Woman’s Day.com, Today.com, CountryLiving.com, Chili Pepper Magazine and The Huffington Post. I’m particularly proud of the piece that was included in the Blogher Anthology Roots: Where Food Comes From and Where It Takes Us alongside essays from some remarkable food writers.
I’ve also had the opportunity to work for a variety of companies. I mainly do recipe development for their websites, packaging and promotional materials but I also do food photography for them and sometimes I help to promote amazing brands by sharing about them on this site (all opinions are always my own). Companies I’ve worked for include Stonyfield Organic Yogurt, Produce for Kids, Pompeian Olive Oil, Columbia Crest Winery, The Vidalia Onion Committee, The New York Apple Growers Association and Anolon Cookware.

I hope you enjoy trying out the recipes on my blog. To make sure that you don’t miss any, sign up here to get the recipes and quick-cooking tips sent to your inbox once a week:

Thank you so much for visiting my site. I wish you a wonderful day full of laughter, hugs and delicious food.
-Christine xo:)

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