Hi, Meghan here. Originally from the east coast of the United States, I graduated with a degree in International Relations from the University of St Andrews in June and am currently living in London studying for my MSc in Human Rights at the London School of Economics.
Growing up, mother-daughter time was generally spent either in the kitchen or with a hoover in hand, and let’s face it, getting one’s hands dirty is much more fun and exciting than cleaning up the mess afterwards. Baking was something my mom had always enjoyed and excelled at and was a great way to keep me, her only child, distracted on a shoe string budget, while also passing down the traditions of previous generations. We made a lot of quick breads (especially banana chocolate chip bread – a recipe passed down from my mom’s Nana), so, naturally, the first recipe I ever thought up and made all on my own was a kit-kat-chocolate-chip-reeses (you get the idea) bread. Did I mention that I was six years old at the time? Oh yeah and never being one who liked candy (though I did love to compete to see who could get the biggest haul when trick-or-treating), I thought a ‘cake-bread’ would be the perfect way to use up my Halloween candy. Looking back on it, I’m amazed my mom let me go through with it – I’m pretty sure I had no idea I needed eggs or baking powder, or any of the necessary ingredients to make magic in the oven. Luckily, I have since learned a thing or two. From my mom, from working in a patisserie, and from my own mistakes.
I find it hard to believe now, but when I first went off to university, I was deathly afraid of cooking. Baking I had down by then. I had to as a dedicated desertovore (if that’s not a word, it should be) and one of those lucky few to find out at the age of 14 that I am allergic to wheat and cow dairy. Our numbers seem to be growing, and with them the gluten-free options in supermarkets, as well as the increasing availability and/or labeling of ‘free’ products in traditional bakeries. When I was first diagnose, though, very few of these options existed! What’s a girl to do for dessert then? Bake! It was time to throw out the box mixes, grab a couple bags of Arrowhead Mills whole spelt and oat flours, and get to work. It was rough going at first; trying to adapt recipes originally meant for all-purpose wheat flour could leave a young 14-year-old in desperation. Thank goodness for my mom! Many years, recipes, and pounds of unbleached white spelt flour (once we discovered it) later there was little in the baking world that could dampen my spirits. Cooking, though? It seemed like every recipe had about a hundred steps!
Hunger, allergies, and less than appetising hall food do wonders as motivation to conquer one’s fears of cooking. During winter break in first year I got my step-dad to teach me a few basic dishes – soup, risotto, roasted vegetables, an omelet – so as to make it over that first hurdle. The last few years, living in a flat with four other girls and having to cook all of our own meals has been a wonderful adventure or learning to cook and loving it. Whenever I’m stressed? You’ll find me in the kitchen. Procrastination? Well, we need to eat dinner, don’t we? And I mean really, what’s a meal without dessert?…
My favourite aspects of baking and cooking are working with my hands and experimenting with the never-ending options of flavour combinations (hence the title of this blog). I also enjoy discovering delicious and unusual foods everywhere I travel. It is all an adventure and I have created this blog in the hopes that you will join me on it!