I am a Portland, Oregon area food enthusiast. I was born and raised in Kentucky. In between I have cooked across the south and called Texas, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia my home. I have been baking since I was a girl and have been master of my own kitchen since I was in my teens. Southern cooking is my heritage and strongly influences my food preferences while the fresh perspectives and ingredients of the Pacific Northwest inform my choices.
My passion for food has known many phases. During my baking phase I decorated elaborate cakes, baked homemade breads and beautiful cookies. During an exotic food phase I experimented with spices and ethnic cuisines, tried new ingredients and flavor combinations and learned new cooking techniques. During a health food phase I haunted health food stores, mixed nut flours into baked goods to balance proteins and developed recipes with reduced sugar and sodium content. More recently, while building a teahouse in my backyard I developed an appreciation for sushi and an interest in the artful presentation of simple seasonal ingredients in Japanese cuisine.
Another phase engaged my passion for writing. Several years ago I compiled a family history cookbook. As I sifted through old cookbooks and gathered memories and recipes from family members across five generations I gained a whole new perspective on the role of food in family life. The final product included photos, recipes, stories and food anecdotes from the late 1800’s to the present.
Today my explorations in the kitchen are marked by a synthesis of all of these phases into a less obsessive, but no less determined, effort to provide an enjoyable, healthful and meaningful experience around my table for both family and friends. I try to be considerate of what I know about individual preferences while offering gentle challenges and opportunities to experience something new. I hope to stimulate and satisfy the mind and the senses while encouraging an awareness of diet and health. I also hope to encourage a love of cooking and exploration in the kitchen.
By way of my own experiences in the kitchen I have come to realize that food is more than a technicality and cooking is more than a skill or even an art. Cooking is about nurturing the future with roots that dig deeply into the past. Cooking is a channel for transmitting love, faith, understanding, pleasure, history, geography, culture, chemistry, art and adventure.
The kitchen arts encompass metaphors for, and lessons that apply to, every aspect of life. Cooking and eating are daily pleasures that connect a need for creativity and expression with the need to nourish our body and soul. Please join me as I explore the art of cooking in My Own Sweet Thyme. It is my hope that the stories and recipes I share here will inspire you to make new discoveries of your own.