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In the past couple of weeks What’s Cooking has been nominated for a few awards. I thought I’d address them all together. I’m reiterating part of what I said previously in the Readership Award post and revealing a little bit more about who’s behind the food.

The Beginning

When I created this website as a labor of love toward cooking, learning and creativity, I had no idea about the channels it would open up for me. I discovered other cooking websites, each distinct in writing style, personality, cooking style and photography. I discovered a community rich in insight, encouragement and culinary tips. I also learned how to see beauty differently. There is such beauty in simplicity and every day things like a fruit or a fish or a half eaten burger, or precious natural light. I’ve been pushing my culinary boundaries beyond my comfort zone and across cultural borders. I never expected that in writing, I’d be reading so much and that in reading I’d become engulfed in a sea of knowledge and begin to see and engage with the world through so many different lenses.

Scenes from Spain

Eating and traveling have been so influential to me and cookbooks have opened up a new world. I was granted the opportunity to chat with Nigella, one of my personal cooking heroes, and to interact with so many passionate people. It really changed the way I view the world both intellectually, in that I’ve learned to use a camera and social media and literally, in that I actually see things in new ways.


Courage and Results

Whenever you put yourself out there in a meaningful way and present a version of yourself that people may not know, it is an act of courage. If you’re doing something that motivates you, displays persistent intellectual curiosity and compassion without expectation you may actually be amazed at the ways in which your efforts will be dignified and rewarded. The reward for me, on top of being recognized by peers, is in the process itself–the cooking, community, cookbooks, writing, photography, conversations, learning limitations, pushing past them, eating, discipline, determination and so much more.

My dishes

Liebster Award

Katie nominated me for the Liebster award. Her website, Pocket Full of Sugar, is a beautiful and enticing homage to baking and cooking. It’s inspiring to see someone so young documenting her trials and tribulations in the kitchen with hints of her life interspersed with such skill. Her photographs are also beautiful. The Liebster award is a means of encouragement for newer bloggers. Thanks so much Katie.

The Rules of the Award:

1. Post eleven facts about yourself.
2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated.
3. Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link them in your post.
4. Go to their page and tell them.
5. Remember, no tag backs.

11 Facts about Me:

  1. Cooking runs in my family down the female line.
  2. In college I majored in Spanish/Latin American and English literature with an emphasis in creative writing.
  3. I work full time and sometimes on weekends as a litigation attorney in midtown Manhattan. 
  4. I love sports, eating and travel.
  5. My grandma used to give me pots and pans to play with as a kid to keep me off of the plastic-covered furniture.
  6. I used to play jazz saxophone until I moved to this apartment with paper thin walls.
  7. If you ask me a question I will always give you an honest answer.
  8. I drink a lot.
  9. I do step aerobics like it’s 1985.
  10. I don’t really believe in fortunes, but I had a professor in college (an older, famous African-American writer) once tell me that she had a vision of me changing the world with my pen, but only if I could face the source head-on. In her vision, the source was the sun and I was standing sideways. She said the only way to change the world was if I turned around and stopped looking at my hands.
  11. That vision was 13 years ago. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve turned around yet.
Curry Spices


Katie has proposed the following questions for me:

  1. What is your dream job? A recipe tester for a magazine or newspaper or fiction writer.
  2. Who is your celebrity crush? I have two: Jeremy Irons for his intellectual prowess and Rafa Nadal for his relentless passion and fitness. 
  3. Sweet or savory? Savory, but there’s always room for chocolate.
  4. What is your go-to dinner? Herb crusted salmon. It’s quick, easy and healthy.
  5. What is your favorite movie of all time? Taken. Just kidding. Probably Good Will Hunting.
  6. Sedan or SUV? The footprint of a sedan, the power of an SUV.
  7. What is your biggest pet peeve? When someone disrespects other people’s time, space or passions.
  8. Fruits or vegetables? Vegetables.
  9. Describe your ultimate Friday night. Eating and drinking with loved ones.
  10. City life or country life?  Both. I was born and raised in the country, but spent weekends in the city with my grandparents. I value people, culture and influence as much as I value being alone, solace, and quiet.
  11. Why did you start blogging? I started during the hurricane because I cooked everything in my freezer and was excited to share my creations with people. Writing is something I’ve always done. Publishing fiction or landing a journalism job that pays enough to live off of is like winning the lottery. 

I know the rules say to choose 11 eleven nominees, but in the interest of time I will do what I can, but four come to mind immediately.

My nominees for the Liebster award are:

  1. Maria Dernikos who puts out amazing Greek recipes and brings a true passion to her craft.
  2. Eliza Bakes who brings a joy and a sense of humor to the kitchen and whose lovely cat appears in most pictures.
  3. Darya from Tortore whose healthy, simple and natural creations use seasonal produce with an authentic French twist and expert eye for photos.
  4. Dolly and Oatmeal whose baking and photography have made me want to reach my hand through the computer and steal her wares.

My questions for for my nominees:

  1. What is your favorite cuisine?
  2. How do you solve a tough problem?
  3. One thing about yourself of which you are proud?
  4. Most triumphant moment in the kitchen?
  5. One word which you hate to use?
  6. Name one location that you want to visit?
  7. Who is at your dream dinner party?
  8. Your favorite hobby or avocation?
  9. What’s your dream job?
  10. City life or country life?
  11. On a Saturday night stay in or go out?

cous cous

Versatile Blogger Award

Maureen from Whip a Dish has nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. Her blog is filled with practical and healthy meals drawing influences from many different cultures that culminate in delicious and easy to make solutions for dinner.  Thanks, Maureen.

Sapana from Cooking With Sapana also nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. Sapana is the most prolific cook I know, breaking down delicious Indian dishes step by step, making the mystery accessible for those of us who cannot get enough of her wonderful cooking. Sapana is a young mom from Delhi and has been an incredible resource and an inspiration for me. Thank you, Sapana.

The rules for the Versatile Blog Award are :

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award.
5. Notify these bloggers of the nominations by linking back to one of their specific blog posts so they get notified back.

In the interest of time, I will only pass this onto one person, though there are so many people doing such great work out there. I will continue to name them throughout the blogging process. Since I’ve already stated a few things about myself above, I will just go on to name my nominee:

My Nominees for the Versatile Blogger Award Are:

  1.  The Kat and the Falling Leaves who creates beautiful Ukranian dishes and presents them in an easy to make format. She is a mom and a salsa dancer, as well as an excellent cook. She’s also a very good reader, dropping suggestions and helpful thoughts in the comment boxes of everyone she reads.

Thanks to all who stop by and read. Happy cooking!