I started documenting recipes in 2015. I'd jot down notes, type them, and email myself my rendition. I'd proceed to write a story about the recipe, by hand, in 19 by 25 cm large, black hardcover Moleskin notebook. It would be about a weekend with Will, an ingredient that inspired the recipe, about work or current events. Whatever the topic, I'd tie it into the recipe. Now, only three years later, I've filled five of these extra large notebooks. I've documented fair amount of recipes. I feel that it gives shared meals, daily experiences, meaning. And I've always used writing as an outlet. I intend to slowly roll out more past entries as the blog progresses. Below is the intro to my first moleskin in 2015:
I’m restless. I mean really, I can’t sit still. I’m seemingly infatuated with the feeling of being productive. Sure a nice problem to have. And to most, a great one in fact. After all, it’s gotten me to where I am now: Media logistics Assistant for the House Radio TV Gallery and graduate student at Johns Hopkins University pursuing a Masters in Political Communication. I walk in the U.S. Capitol building each day, and come home to my boyfriend, Will, to make us dinner each night. I’m lucky, very. But, at times the completely illogical part of me feels it’s not enough. I feel, albeit totally irrational, I can do more. Tackle more projects, learn more stories, achieve everything.
I suppose I first became interested in cooking when I lived in DC during the spring semester of my junior year at Dickinson College. Although, I cannot recall a specific moment. Rather than studying abroad, I had an internship at a lobbying firm, which counted as credits. I was living in an apartment and started grocery shopping and cooking on my own. It was a sharp transition from my insulated life at a liberal arts school in the middle of Pennsylvania. My high school was nearly as big as my college, and incomparably more racially and socioeconomically diverse. At Dickinson, I was the first Jewish person that many met. Whereas I came from a very public high school, to me Dickinson certainly had more of a private school feel. Thus, exploring DC was a welcome change of pace. Sure, Dickinson served me well. I was president of College Democrats and played varsity field hockey for four years. But in DC I met people with more multifaceted stories and backgrounds. I felt more inspired. It was also spring—an easy time to fall in love with the cherry blossom encompassed city. A minor anecdote worth noting, is that it was also when I met Will. I often wonder if I fell in love with DC, or my glorified memories of first meeting Will drew me back to the city. At some point, I stopped attempting to differentiate the two. I do know I started to become more involved with cooking at that time. Ultimately, after graduating and becoming permanently situated in DC, cooking evolved from an interest to a hobby. Now, it’s grown into my full-fledged passion.
It stemmed from undertaking a new skill that I could learn to perfect. But, now I genuinely love creating new recipes, seeing what works, getting reactions. I love blending flavors and moreover, experimenting. I love having a list of recipes in mind that I want to adapt and crossing them off. But, if I’m going to be honest here, I love that I can feel proud after I create a warming pesto dish or comforting blueberry muffins. Dare I say, it makes me feel productive.
My newfound love for cooking started five years ago. Perhaps, not so newfound anymore. It was around then that I devised a longer term goal. A task I could perpetually be adding to, editing, perfecting. I would write a cookbook. But, it would be a documentation of recipes throughout my life. There would be a documentation of recipes throughout my life. There would be three sections: from my 20s, 30s, and 40s. How to cook when you’re in a relationship, when you have kids, when they move out. It documents life through meals, forming a longer narrative. Each recipe with a short story included, will encompass memories as well as cooking tips. I love the notion of sharing memories and experiences through home cooked meals. They’re cultural, they're celebrations, and they're so intertwined with our everyday life. Some of the recipes I have developed incorporate my self-taught trial and error tribulations of cooking. And some evoke immense nostalgia. Ultimately, I firmly believe that cooking a home cooked meal is a sincere gesture of gratitude, a way to demonstrate love.
And so it begins. I’ve always been partial to writing by hand. To me, hand written thank you notes and hard cover journals seem more authentic. So though I have full intentions to publish this, it will start by hand.
Other noteworthy entries from our years in DC will be filed under the category, Journal - Before the Year.