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All Things Edible

Well, my name really is Jenny, not Jennifer or any other variation. I have mostly brown hair and brown eyes, and am blind as can be without glasses.

I married my high school sweetheart, even if we did go to different schools, whom I met at a restaurant. We have two boys together, one who only likes to cook and bake when he remembers that they are like science, and one who would be happy to help me in the kitchen ever day. Except when it comes to clean up time.

I grew up as an “army brat”, meaning we moved around a lot, so I never really felt I was “from” somewhere until I was a teenager. Now I can say I am from North Bay, Ontario, but am happily living on Ottawa. While I would love to travel the world, Ottawa is home, even in the freezing cold of winter, with snow everywhere.

Sharing, sharing, let’s see…. I’ve mentioned in my blog that I joined a swim program and learned to swim. Well swimming is about to take a two month holiday, because of a pool closure, and while it is closed, I am going to put on a white belt and learn Taekwon-Do! My oldest son is a red belt, so I’m taking advantage of his knowledge to get some tutoring in advance. I won’t be ready for competition anytime soon, but I won’t start classes feeling silly not knowing anything either.

If you are in Ottawa and want to come join me, let me know. I’d love the company!

How long have you been blogging? Do you like it? What’s your favorite post you’ve written?

I started blogging almost 3 years ago now. I had been reading a few blogs, and enjoying them, and liked the idea of a creative outlet for my cooking and baking. It was almost like a journal or a diary, where I could keep track of what I’d done, and combine it with taking pictures, something else I like to do.

I love to blog but sometimes feel frustration at not having enough time, good enough pictures, the right words to say what I want to say, or the right venue to say it in. What would be really nice would be for someone to “sponsor” me, let me take some photography classes, some cooking and baking classes, and make blogging my “career” for awhile.

I said in my “About me” post in the Daring Kitchen that I still did not know what I want to do with my life – I think I just figured it out! (Now to find that “sponsor”….)

I’ve never gone back and reread all my posts, to see if I have a favorite. By default I would have to say my favorite is my first post, because it started me on my blogging journey and took me places I would never have imagined! Now I have friends all over the world, I exchange Christmas cards with people I’ve never met (but want to) and would drive hours just to meet and have coffee with a fellow blogger! I’ve had the chance to try new things and learn new techniques, all because one day in June 2006, I took the step of taking a picture of a cake, and writing a little bit about it on a blog.

When did you join the Daring Bakers and why did you join the Daring Bakers?

I joined the Daring Bakers fairly early, missing only the biscotti and the pretzels. I had read both Ivonne’s and Lis’ posts about the biscotti and thought it sounded fun to bake with someone in a different country, at the same time, and see what happened. Baking by internet! When the next bake together happened, for the pretzels, a few more people had joined in and it sounded like even more fun. So I emailed Ivonne and asked if I could join in – then “freaked” out when it turned out we were going to bake croissants from scratch, something that would take 3 days to do!

I’ve never regretted asking to join in, and am proud to say I’ve been a Daring Baker since before we were Daring Bakers!

Do you have a signature dish that you are known for? If so, what is it and why is yours so darned good? Smile

I don’t think I do, but maybe I should ask around and see if others think I do.

What’s your favorite cookbook for desserts/baking? What’s your favorite cookbook for savory/cooking?

I flip around with cookbooks a lot. Some I read and never bake or cook from, some I only use once. Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours is probably my most used cookbook ever. And I’m not finished with baking from it, there are still plenty of things in it I would like to make.

Savory wise, I probably cook from my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks the most, though I wouldn’t say I have a specific favorite from that collection (and I am still short one book.)

Though to be honest, my favorite “cookbook” is a little red binder with hand written notes, yellowed papers and stains all over the pages, that belonged to my grandmother. Plenty of recipes in it I will never, ever make (and don’t remember her making) but there are enough recipes, both baking and cooking, that I remember eating as a child, to make that little book my favorite.

If you could bake with another Daring Baker, who would it be and why?

I’m going to cheat at this answer and assume that I would automatically get Lis and Ivonne to bake with me, no matter who else I picked. They would be “supervising.”

If I were baking bread, I would want to bake with Mary (Breadchick). I “virtually” bake with her now and would like to do so in person.

If I were making a dessert, I would want to bake with Helene (Tartlette). As for why? Well go look at her desserts!

I’d also like to bake with Meeta (What’s for Lunch Honey), but not for anything specific.

Oh this is a hard question! There are so many others I would want to bake with, I want to name everyone but don’t think I could!

What’s your favorite flower and/or plant?

I love lilac bushes. I love the smell of them in the spring and early summer, where their perfume fills the air every time there is a breeze. I had planted a lilac bush beside my front porch at my first home and was pleasantly surprised when it bloomed for the first time and the flowers turned out to be white, not pink or purple! I don’t think I have a lilac bush here at my new home, but I plan to change that.

Ironically, as much as I like the scent of lilacs, I am actually allergic to perfumes, so I can’t handle fake floral scents.

Do you have a favorite local restaurant? If so, why is it your favorite and what kind of food is served there?

This is a tough question too – it so much depends on what I feel like eating. I love to go for Thai at a little place called Sukothai, with my husband. But if I’m in the mood for smoked meat and cheesecake, then Grand Central Deli is the place to go. I have a preferred Vietnamese place, but would pass it up in an instant if someone offered to take me for a tasting menu at the Brookstreet Hotel. There are so many places here that I’ve never been to, but want to go to, and so many that I will never get to try.

I admit that lately, though, my favorite is a Shawarma place located inside a Burger King (on Huntclub and Merivale for those of you in Ottawa), that has wonderful food. Their garlic sauce is fresh and packs a punch, and they are flexible with the orders. It isn’t anything fancy, but I don’t always need fancy.

Who taught you how to cook and/or bake?

No one really taught me how to cook or to bake. My mother used to cook a lot when I was growing up, and I always watched my grandmother bake. Somewhere in my early teens, my mom stopped cooking and I slowly started. It wasn’t until I moved out of my mother’s home that I started to really cook, reading cookbooks, watching shows and just playing in the kitchen. Baking came even later, with the same kind of read/ watch/ play learning that I had for cooking. I knew I had succeeded at being a good baker when one of my aunts, who was always a wonderful baker, actually called me long distance to ask for some baking advice.

What’s your favorite holiday and why?

I’m not sure if I have one, that isn’t something I’ve thought about. Christmas is always rushed with too many expectations. Both my children’s birthdays fall near a holiday, and I’d rather celebrate those than the holidays themselves.

I guess Halloween, if I had to pick one. Sure it is about costumes and candy and isn’t a real holiday, but because of that, there isn’t the pressures that come with other holidays: is the turkey perfect for Thanksgiving, did I get the right present for uncle so-and-so, oh oh, we found the missing egg from last Easter and it stinks!

Plus you can dress up and have childish fun, even if you are a grown up with no children!

You can visit Jenny on her blog All Things Edible