My name, face, and the number of friends I have are incidental to your appreciation of this blog. The following information, however, I am prepared to reveal so that you have a better idea of what this is all about and where I am coming from.
Drawing on botany, linguistics, literature, art, music, history, and customs, posts appear twice a week, normally Wednesdays and Sundays, and showcase an edible plant or two. The edible plant on display is always one that is grown near Graz, Austria, the place where I have taken root and that I choose to call home.
I grew up in the United States on one of the Great Lakes. A good part of my childhood was spent in my grandma’s kitchen, watching, eating, helping. Her parents came from Tuscany; my grandpa was born in Piemonte. Gnocchi, melangiani, and mangia were everyday words instead of something exotic. From her, I learned that cooking and sharing the results with others is a way of expressing love.
At a rather early age I became a vegetarian because the taste of meat disgusted me. Later I found many more solid arguments to support my decision. I began to explore the cookbooks at the public library and to experiment with new ingredients such as whole grains and beans. I started out with Diet for a Small Planet but rapidly moved on to cookbooks from Mollie Katzen and the Moosewood collective.
These influences accompanied me through my college years, a period of my life spent in a medium-sized university town. The large international population and the diverse restaurants it spawned made it easy to come into contact with a panoply of ethnic cuisines including Japanese, Afghani, Nepali, Thai, Eritrean, and Pakistani.
Over the past decade, I have lived in Austria, France, Poland, and Russia. Each country has had an impact on my culinary practices. Living in Central and Eastern Europe has turned me into an ardent fan of soups, dumplings, and buckwheat, while my time in France fanned the flames of my love for vegetable tarts, cream-based desserts like crème brûlée, and leeks.
About two years ago I started exploring the food blogosphere. My favorites are Chocolate and Zucchini, 101 Cookbooks, and Gherkins and Tomatoes. About the same time, I started growing herbs, vegetables, and fruit on my balcony. Cooking and gardening are both creative, experimental processes without which we could not survive. They are also sources of pleasure and joy that bring people together. One day the desire arose to try my hand at writing a blog so I could share this joy I feel when creating with others. Here is the result.
May these words and recipes inspire you!