The culinary adventures of an avid baker / reluctant blogger
Briefly / A Little More
My name is Zoë, and as this blog’s name suggests, I love to bake (sometimes cook) and I hate wearing pants (aka trousers, for any international readers). Or at least I did when that photo was taken, but I’d like to think I’ve evolved a bit.
Manhattan born, Brooklyn based, I’m a formally trained photographer and a self-taught chef/food writer… or rather that’s what I’m going for. My background is varied to say the least- areas of study/work range include Japanese language, studio art, international affairs, tech start up operations, freelance photo/writing, and countless restaurant jobs. I can’t say all of it was useful, but if nothing else I’ve got plenty of stories.You can read more about the author (aka me) here.
As mentioned here (and here), as well the widget on the sidebar, I’m a contributor for Nom, in which I post photos and recipes (some from here), short videos and shows on cooking and techniques. You can check out my Nom channel here.
Let’s face it: there are more food blogs on the internet than the world will ever need, but for whatever reason, that fact fails to deter people (myself included). More and more cheery, fun baking blogs, replete with adorable sidebar photos and perfect social media feeds, continue to pop up and frankly I can’t compete with that. So consider me the April Ludgate of food bloggers (albeit with a little inner Leslie Knope); this is my passion (and livelihood), but I can only write about it with a thick wall of sarcasm and self-deprecation around it. Does that sound a little immature? Of course. Does it matter? NOPE.
What does matter is the content- the section below goes into this in greater detail, but essentially the tenet of this site is that anyone should be able to cook/bake. You don’t need fancy equipment or ingredients- just a good recipe and a little patience. Some of my favorites are from the years I spent baking in my college dorm kitchen with just a couple bowls, measuring cups and basic tools (total value was probably ~ $30). All in all, the actual writing about cooking/baking/etc here is done with a lot of thought, effort, research and consideration, so if nothing else you can just scroll past my ramblings and go straight to the recipe. Cool? Cool.
My attempts at writing a brief summary of how I got into baking, and later blogging, kept ending up being WAY too long and/or sarcastic for the “About” page of this site, so instead I wrote a post on that and pared this down to what sounds like a rom-com premise:
Girl grows up in Manhattan, moves to Ohio for college, tries baking, gets really into it [in my head there’s a classic movie montage of messy kitchens and dropping batter], discovers lifelong passion, and eventually manages to make a career out of it.
Lovely story, right? One problem: that’s so not how it went down. Yes, I fell in love with baking right away, but that didn’t make me any more knowledgeable about what is essentially chemistry. I got lucky in that I find precision appealing rather than intimidating (thank you OCD!) and enjoy doing hours of research (thank you nerd life!), but I still made tons of mistakes along the way. There were plenty of bad cookie batches, confusing recipe instructions, and frustrating moments that made me want to literally throw in the (reusable) towel. My dorms’ smoke alarms were my mortal enemies until I got off campus senior year. I’ve spent way more time than I’d like to admit trying to salvage a failed recipe, or conversely, obsessing over every tiny detail that no one would ultimately notice (less of a thank you, OCD).
Regardless, it was always worth it to me because, above all, I loved the act of sharing what I made with my family and/or friends. It’s well known that food brings people together; beyond sharing a meal, it’s also a way to pass down family history, bond, or just simply show that you care.
So, with all of that in mind, I made and run this site because I love how food brings people together and by sharing my knowledge and experiences, hopefully help people do the same (without the years of trial and error.)
Aside from the photo above, my kitchen is almost never in a state to be photographed, since it’s a real kitchen that gets used and not Pinterest decor porn. I’m working on a full post about how I set up my rental apartment kitchen on a budget- just waiting for the next blue moon when my kitchen is presentable to get photos. You can see a bit of the DIY pegboard I made for wall storage, which I cannot recommend enough to anyone looking to increase kitchen storage. The dresser shown is a basic Ikea Hemnes I got off craigslist a couple years ago (topped with marble contact paper), and has actually been great for storage. I had basic shelves (as pictured), but in the fall of 2016 replaced those with giant Ikea Lack floating shelves that, frankly, were a huge pain to install alone and limited in how much you can place on them, weight-wise. Again (this last bit added November 2017) I REALLY need to do a post on this, as I’ve since worked around those issues and have, in my humble opinion, managed a pretty banging kitchen setup. Not that it’s so well done that it’s every photo-worthy tidy, though that last bit is probably (err, definitely) on me…
– I shoot the site photos with a Canon 5D Mark II body and either a Canon EF 50mm 1.8 or EF 24-70mm F2.8 lens. Prior to September 2015, I used a Nikon D40.
– I have a separate website for my professional photography that you can check out here. It also includes contact information for hiring me to shoot events/portraits/locations/etc.
– Yep, this site runs ads, includes affiliate links, and sponsored posts (though they’re always labeled as such). Gotta get that money to keep this site free to readers!
– On that note, I only list/mention items, linked or not, that I use myself and would recommend regardless.
– Like one (or maybe more) of the recipes on this site? Awesome! Want to use it on your own website/tumblr/other internet source? Cool, but please only use one photo (with proper credit) and cite the recipe (that includes linking it back to the page) accordingly. If you’re interested in more than one, please contact me for permission.