“Reading recipes inspired me to try new things, and through my reading experiences, I learned a lot of ways to pair new flavors and learn techniques.”
City, State: Dunwoody, GA
I cook for: Curt (the hubs), Anna Grace (10) and Ella (7), and Sassy (my Chesapeake Bay Retriever)
Outside of the kitchen: I work part-time at my church as the Assimilation Coordinator, helping to connect all newcomers, as well as coordinating all of the membership-related things. I also am a full-time mom to a 2nd and 4th grader, who are busy with their extracurricular activities, which, therefore, also makes me a chauffeur. I love laughing, so having a great time with my family and friends is what “fills my tank.”
Being able to cook allows me to: spend quality time with my family. It is important to our family to sit down to eat together several times a week. When I cook, we get uninterrupted time together as a family to have intentional conversations of all kinds.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal: Grilled cheese with balsamic red onions and sweet potato soup. Also the rotisserie chicken pot pie. Not because it taught me anything new, but because it tasted so darn good in my mouth! I am all about comfort food.
How did you learn to cook?
My mom taught me my foundation in the kitchen. She was an encourager of me just getting in the kitchen and figuring stuff out. So I would say, in a lot of ways, I’m also self-taught; even though Mom always could answer my questions.
I’m an avid cookbook reader. As a teenager, while my friends subscribed to glamour mags, I subscribed to cooking magazines. Reading recipes inspired me to try new things, and through my reading experiences, I learned a lot of ways to pair new flavors and learn techniques.
And then, in my early 20’s, I worked for a company that sold kitchen tools and cookware. I had to get in the kitchen and learn how to use all these tools in more ways than one, so I could sell them to clients, so that forced me to learn a good bit and be creative with my tools/food.
How has your cooking routine changed recently?
Before children, I really didn’t have challenges, per se. But now, as I juggle other people’s schedules besides my own, I’ve run into the challenge of meal planning. First of all, I have very little patience for it. So needless to say, finding the time to sit down and riffle through cookbooks to decide what I wanted to make, check my ingredients, make a grocery list, AND THEN, actually go grocery shopping, got knocked low on the priority list. And truthfully, our family has suffered as a result of my attitude, because going to restaurants and grabbing a frozen pizza several nights a week isn’t the healthiest way to go. And as a mom, I struggle with guilt for that because I know better.
“Cook Smarts does all the hard work for us, so we can reap the rewards. For me, my reward is freedom to spend my evenings that way I want to – with my family.”
What new skill or dish have you cooked that you’re most proud of?
I’ve never been very comfortable sauteing anything other than veggies, because I didn’t want to over- or undercook the food. But now, with Cook Smarts, I’m seeing how easy it is. I love it!
For many years now, I’ve thought of myself as a pretty experienced cook — except if you asked me to saute fish or meat. I’d always find a way to bake or grill it. So the first CS meal I ever made was the pork chops with balsamic red onions. (In the past, I’ve always baked pork chops in the oven.) …And when I put those CS pork chops in my mouth, there were fireworks going off — I did it! I sauteed meat…I’m a rock star…Well, that night, I was a gourmet chef!
So for me…it’s the little things!
What advice would you give to other home cooks on reaching their cooking goals?
Plan ahead. I think every person (not just moms) understands that planning ahead makes anything easier. For me, Cook Smarts helped me change that aspect of my kitchen life, because I am using the service almost to its fullest. If I had to give advice to other moms, I would say, find a way to allow this service to “work” for you. It does all the hard work for us so we (as home cooks, moms, wives, and family members) can reap the rewards. The rewards are different for different people. But for me, my reward is freedom: Freedom from all the nitty-gritty of planning, freedom from being trapped in the kitchen for too long each night, freedom from the restaurant and take-out ball and chain, and freedom to spend my evenings the way I want to — with my family.
We’re glad you can count on us to make meal time and family time better for you and your family, Katy! We look forward to hearing about the day when your daughters start cooking and bombarding you, their encourager, with cooking questions. Here’s the happy food, healthy eating, and lots of laughter! Cheers!