Hi! My name is Jackie, and I’m a 20-something year old native Californian working in the tech industry. I have a lot of varied interests, but my main ones include judo, hockey (go Sharks!), and of course, food. I was a history and science double major in college, so sometimes you’ll see me nerd out in those respective subjects when I talk about various things I’ve eaten or places I’ve visited. I currently reside in Denver, CO, where I know absolutely nothing, but I’m having a blast learning where things are and hiking through nature.
What can I expect from this blog?
Lots of food! I know this is a food and travel blog, but certainly there will be more food than travel. If anything, I’ll be traveling so I can get to food! Something that I’ve always loved is learning about new cultures and cuisines when I travel, particularly regional specialties. Once I’ve tried something delicious, I’ll often want to re-create it because sometimes I just won’t have access to it with the restaurants at home. Also sometimes, I’ll watch TV and see something delicious from a region/area that I haven’t saved up money to travel to yet so I’ll try to recreate it by using a bunch of recipes I find online. I did this a lot when I was a poor college student and watched a lot of food TV at the gym (lol). Obviously, I have no idea how authentic my end product is, but it usually turns out pretty delicious.
Why “just for one”?
Adding this to the FAQ mix because I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this! Friends have mentioned to me that traveling alone feels like a daunting experience that they’re not sure how to approach. I’m hoping to share my own experiences to shed some light on how I’ve faired on my travels and how you could do something similar and have a lot of fun!
Traveling by myself is something I like doing pretty often because I love the challenge. It’s a little scary sometimes because you don’t have someone immediately there for you to fall back on, but that’s the part of the experience! Traveling by oneself is a great way to self-reflect and push yourself out of your comfort zone to try new things and meet new people. When you have a friend with you, it’s sometimes easier to just stick with what (or who, in that case) you know. Traveling by yourself does get a little lonely at times, but that’s when you find some locals and make some new friends! One of my favorite travel experiences was hiking on the southern coast of England with a group of London locals. I wanted to do something active and found this group on Meetup, and I met a lot of cool people that I still keep in touch with. Also, when you travel alone, you have the perk of planning your own schedule, which includes planning when you want to take the trip. Traveling with friends can be fun, but it gets complicated sometimes when schedules don’t line up and/or you have different interests and vacationing styles.
When dealing with food, portioning can be very important. For me, I get tired of eating the same thing a few days in a row, so making smaller portions is important. A lot of the recipes I’ll share are ones I’ve pared down to 1-2 servings so I can have the meal just for dinner (and lunch the next day if I made a little more).
Lastly, I want to dispel the idea that you can’t do things by yourself. It makes sense that people are generally wary of this because doing things alone has been traditionally seen as a taboo of sorts. Doing things alone may make one feel like it gives off the impression that the person is an oddball that doesn’t have friends. I’ll let you in on a little secret: most of the time, people aren’t paying attention to you, so enjoy yourself! It might feel a little weird at first if you’re not used to it, but eventually it’ll feel perfectly normal telling the hostess, “Just for one, please!”
But some of your posts include other people! How is that “just for one”?
Adventuring by yourself doesn’t mean you always have to remain a lone wolf! While there are times solo adventuring means doing things with just yourself, it also sometimes means you find groups of people to make friends with and go on adventures together. While I often do things by myself, I also occasionally do things with other people. Remember–solo adventuring doesn’t mean you don’t have friends 🙂
What’s your food background?
I started cooking when I was maybe…4 or 5? Obviously I didn’t make things by myself, but I always helped my mom bake cakes from those box mixes a lot. Not the most complex thing, but hey, it’s a start for a toddler. My first culinary love was actually baking, and I wanted to go to culinary school to become a pastry chef at one point after high school. That didn’t happen though since I graduated from college as a biologist and historian (but not a biological historian…is that a thing?). Funnily enough, now that I’m older, I don’t like pastry and dessert making as much because I feel like the specific and precise chemistry behind it doesn’t allow me to be as creative and experimental. I still bake occasionally, but my culinary experiences primarily involve cooking savory meals. I started cooking more (in addition to my baking) near the end of high school, and then a lot more when I got to college because I was afraid of gaining the dreaded Freshmen 15 if I ate out too much. Then I got very intrigued with cooking when I spent most of my time at the gym watching food TV while I ran on the treadmill. It’s been a weird path, really.
Do you have a style/cuisine that the blog will focus on?
Eh, not really. I’m sure I should be focused on one thing because that’s what they want people to do on shows like Food Network Star. Really though, I just make things I see that intrigue me. A lot of the time, I’ll decide what I want to make depending on what’s available at the farmers’ market that week or if I saw a pretty and/or weird vegetable that I just wanted to try out for fun.
While you’ll see a lot of recipes for familiar and popular foods from various cuisines on this blog, a lot of the recipes that come from my brain will be experimental. All the techniques I’ve gained are self-taught and through a lot of “Hmm, I wonder what happens if I do this”. I honestly do watch a lot of food TV, and when I see something cool, I’ll try to find some way to use that technique. Some of the food combinations I’ll present are classical, but some are very much a figment of my imagination. I actually have a little notebook I carry around with me in my purse/backpack just in case inspiration strikes when I’m on the train to work or when I’m out and about. So no, no specific focus.
Notes on making things from scratch…
I really like making things from scratch. It’s a weird obsession because I like learning how things are composed (and this fascination actually isn’t specific to food!). When I get to make things from scratch, it allows me to full understand how and why those things are the way they are. For instance, let’s look at pasta. It’s perfectly fine to eat boxed pasta and quite frankly, it’s way more convenient and is inexpensive. However, when I can, I really like making fresh pasta because I like seeing how the dough comes together from just two simple ingredients–eggs and flour. I get that we don’t always have time to make things from scratch though, so I’ll include substitutes in these recipes whenever applicable. If I forget, just remind me in the comments!