"The Art of Quick & Easy, One Recipe at a Time"
Web Editor, MrFood.com
"A good meal makes a man feel more charitable toward the world than any sermon." -Arthur Pendenys
My name is Jessica, and I'm the Chicago piece of the Mr. Food team! Growing up, you could usually either find me either in the library with my nose stuffed in a book or on the football field as part of the marching band. While I think my parents thought I'd grow out of both, I ended up earning an English degree and playing piccolo for the nation's premier college marching band, the Marching Illini, for four years. I suppose it's true that old habits die hard. I always loved going to my grandma's house for the holidays because she was such a wonderful cook and was delighted to have me help her out in the kitchen. After she passed away, I was determined to carry on the family recipes and make an upgrade from my poor college eating habits. So far, it seems to be working pretty well! I've suffered no major catastrophes (apart from the one time when I flipped over the casserole dish inside the preheated oven). I'm excited to see what new recipes I'll discover through Mr. Food!
Favorite Mr. Food recipe: Amish Country Casserole
How often do I cook? About 3 times per week
Who am I cooking for? My mom, my brother, my friends. My dog usually gets to sample a bit too, which is nice since he'll eat anything!
How long have I been cooking? I started cooking on a regular basis very recently. Growing up, I enjoyed a lot of pasta and frozen pizzas. It wasn't until after college when I had to "fend for myself", so to speak, that I tried my hand at cooking like my grandma had always wanted me to.
My biggest challenge in the kitchen: I'm still pretty terrible at timing everything. I never seem to put aside enough time for the prep work involved in a recipe which then throws me off when trying to time the main dish to end when the side dishes are done. I'm hoping this will become less of an issue as I get more comfortable in the kitchen!
What profession best describes me in the kitchen? Artist. I try to at least make the plate look pretty even if I'm not entirely sure if it's going to taste the way that it should! I usually like to pick out a spice from the spice rack and sprinkle it on top. I seem to think that if it looks impressive, then it's going to taste better. I may be fooling myself, but at least I'm fairly well satisfied.
The kitchen appliance I couldn't live without: My laptop. I know it's not technically a kitchen appliance, but I love playing music while I cook and having a browser open so I can look up any silly cooking questions I inevitably have.
My ultimate meal: Chicago-style deep dish pizza (sausage patty and onion) with a side of garlic bread. I always made sure to take advantage of the local cuisine before I went back to college, and it never, ever disappointed.
The one food I can't stand: Pickles. They're too slimy, and I'm not fond of the smell either.
The food that instantly takes me back to childhood is: Cheese-It Crackers with peanut butter. It used to be my favorite snack when I got home from school. I still love it to this day, and I can probably get through half of the box before I realize what I've done.
If I were a spice, I would be: Cinnamon. There's no particular reason except that it's my favorite apart from salt-another classic.
My favorite food that grows from the earth is: Strawberries! They're the perfect fruit for dipping, whether in melted chocolate or a bowl of sugar.
If I could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, it would be: J.K. Rowling. I'm an avid reader, and I have so much admiration for the way Ms. Rowling was able to inspire so much imagination in children and adults alike.
Sweet tooth, or salt-craver? What's my weakness? I put salt on practically everything, probably to a fault. I can turn away a slice of cake much more easily than I can turn away a soft pretzel or a bag of Goldfish.