Page: Hero in the Kitchen

“Being able to cook allows me to spend less money on takeout and more time pretending I’m Ina Garten”

Page Cook Smarts Hero in the Kitchen #whatsyourcookingstory
Page is a recovering food snob who is embracing simpler cooking since the addition of a little one to her family. Luckily, she’s discovering that simpler doesn’t mean less tasty (She’s definitely still making Ina Garten her food idol proud!). Read her Heroes in the Kitchen story below:

Name: Page
Age: 34
City, State: San Francisco, CA
I cook for: myself, my husband, my 18-month-old daughter, plus the occasional dinner guests.
Outside of the kitchen I: am a freelance copywriter and project manager for websites.
Being able to cook allows me to: spend less money on takeout and more time pretending I’m Ina Garten.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal: Chipotle Guacamole Burgers

How did you learn to cook?

My mom and dad put in a good foundation: They’re both confident, encouraging cooks. For one of my birthdays, my mom collected all her friends’ household staple recipes and compiled them for me in a binder. How great is that?

However, I went to boarding school and then onto college, so as an adult I had to recover from 8 years of dorm food. Post-college, I learned to cook by getting seduced by the photos in fancy cookbooks, spending too much money on those cookbooks, and digging in via trial and error.

What’s been your biggest kitchen challenge?

My biggest cooking challenge has been practicality. My husband and I are both recovering food snobs (can you say you’re “recovering” if you plan to revert to your wicked ways as soon as circumstances allow?), and tend to be too ambitious. Now that he has a startup and we have a toddler, it doesn’t really work just to decide one day that for dinner we’re going to make Concord grape focaccia from scratch.

“The more I cook, the more I’ll want to cook. So just try out something that looks good, and maybe it’ll be your Gateway Recipe!”

How has your cooking routine changed recently?

I’m planning (deciding, shopping and prepping) ahead more, and throwing away less. We’re also spending less and taking in way less sodium.

What new skill or dish have you cooked that you’re most proud of?

Rotisserie chicken flatbread wraps! Not to sound too Donna Reed, but my husband looked deeply uncertain, and then was full of excitement and praise.

What advice would you give to other home cooks on reaching their cooking goals?

Planning out meals ahead of time, Cook Smarts-style, has really worked for me. (I promise I am not on the payroll.) I am less likely to overcommit when I see my whole week’s culinary workload laid out for me, and it’s nice to shop once or twice rather than four times a week. I also find that, the more I cook, the more I’ll want to cook. So just try out something that looks good, and maybe it’ll be your Gateway Recipe!


Page, we love the idea of finding a ‘Gateway Recipe’ to help kickstart your cooking habit. We hope that you haven’t found that cooking simply hasn’t been too much of a sacrifice, and your toddler will soon be old enough to help you and your husband make Concord grape focaccia from scratch.

Guacamole Burgers: Page's Favorite @cooksmarts Meal
To join Page and cook meals like her favorite chipotle guacamole burgers, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!

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