Hi. I’m Natalie, the Genetic Chef, and I grew up in the kitchen learning how to cook from my family.
Welcome to my food blog where I will share with you delicious recipes that were passed down from my family along with a few that were created by me. I come from a family of excellent cooks who learned how to cook from their family, who learned from their family, etc. It’s in the genes. Hence, the genetic chef.
I want to speak (write) to you as if we were having a real conversation and not be confined worrying about ending a sentence in a preposition, or inserting too many commas, which I tend to do. Wow, I got both in there in one sentence!
I have been cooking since I was a child. I love to cook and it always comforted me. I would help out with dinners while my Dad worked and my Mom sewed trying to make ends meet. It didn’t bother me at all. Luckily, I paid attention every time they cooked. I would write things down and before you knew it, it became second nature for me to whip up a meal.
I have three kids and I have done the same with them. Each one of them can create a meal with no problem. They can bake too. My youngest son, Ethan, fries eggs every morning for him and his older brother, Ryan. My daughter is a master at salads, smoothies, and baking. Ryan likes to eat more than cook and his specialty is cooking over a campfire.
It’s a shame Home Economics was removed from the curriculum at school. That was such an awesome class where you were taught the basics. Once you learned the basics, you were unstoppable. I still remember being in school and one of the football players was heading off to home ec. He was going to bake a cake and was very excited. Later he explained how he learned to spread the batter off to the sides in the pan, to prevent a domed top. A flat top makes for better layering and frosting.
Cooking and baking are a science, but you don’t have to be a scientist to cook or bake. You need to learn by doing. If you have a few fails then move on. That’s how we all learn.
I’m going to share with you my favorite recipes, most of them are original or were passed down to me by my Peruvian and Italian family. The rest are from my favorite cookbooks from my mentors that I have had in my possession since I first began to cook. These are the authors who inspired me and made learning how to cook exciting. You know who they are – Julia Child, Jacques Pépin, Marcella Hazan, Mary Ann Esposito, and the cooks from the PBS cooking shows that were actually just that – cooking shows. They taught how to make a dish with explanations and instructions. I also have many old cookbooks – some dating back to the 1920’s! They’re interesting because they don’t stress out about the procedure of cooking, rather it’s written as if you had some common sense. Back then I guess you had to because everyone had a purpose to maintain the home and make the family work.
I get so excited when I am out and about and someone has a question relating to cooking or an ingredient. It happens a lot at the market. I would be at the produce section and someone would ask a question about broccoli. I would help them choose a bunch then go into the perfect recipe that included broccoli. I love that! Every chance I had taking my kids to the market included a lesson in pricing, choosing, and restraining from buying if it wasn’t up to my standards. Instead, let’s make something else. What’s the best trusted brand to choose for that special recipe. Is it really worth getting the ‘on sale’ item? I taught them everything I knew and they were willing to learn.
About my photography…I am not a photographer, I am a cook. I hope to take decent pictures to depict the outcome of a recipe because as we all know you first eat with your eyes. But, sometimes I just want to concentrate on the important stuff. If you look at a few cookbooks, not all contain photos of the finished product. They don’t have to. How many angles of a cookie do you really need to see? My point is, I will do my best to snap and show the best picture I can. But, I do want to be straightforward and honest right away. I am going to concentrate on the recipe and instructions and humorous asides that go along with it, whether related or not. I am told I am funny. At the very least, I crack myself up.
I do feel, however, that when making a cake or the like, that showing a picture of the whole as well as the inside is important. For example, I can show a picture of a cake, but what does the inside look like? Is it riddled with holes which means it was overmixed? Is is dense or light in texture? Did it fall in the center but leveled with frosting? Those things are important to me. They should be to you as well.
I don’t have any special equipment for photography. I use my phone most of the time and I do have a decent camera that I’ve had for almost ten years – way before I started this blog. I don’t know what most of the buttons do. I use auto most of the time. I promise I will do the best I can.
Also, I don’t cook my suppers in the morning when the light is good. If it is that time of year when the sun is shining at 6pm then I’m lucky. Just know that I am not being defiant with photography and I think some of my pictures are quite good. Instead, I want to concentrate on what I love to do – making good food and talking about making good food.
My goal is to share these recipes and get you to try them. My intent is to give you some entertainment in the process. I wouldn’t describe myself as a mother of three, who enjoys a good movie, is a domestic goddess, and a lover of chocolate, although most of that is true – except for the domestic goddess. Yes, I love chocolate. But, really only once a month.
I hope we get to know each other better. There is so much to share. I hope you take this journey with me. Let’s hang out for a while. Grab a cup of coffee. We have lots to talk about!