People are always asking me how I ended up in the food biz. Sometimes my answer is simply: boredom. I was so starved for creativity during my first corporate job that I ended up starting a blog on the side to feel some sort of purpose and re-find my sanity. But now that I’m pounding the pavement trying to build a business out of my love for food, hustling freelance work from wherever I can get it, the more important question to ask is why I love to cook.
It’s funny, because I got my start in the professional cooking world in the least professional of settings – quite literally, in my 6 x 4 square foot kitchen, feeding friends from a pot of chili with a measuring cup instead of a ladle. My first site was a how-to by life example, with stories and recipes from that night of chili. My hope was to inspire my peer group to get in the kitchen and get cooking, but I hadn’t given a whole lot of thought to my more long term goals.
Like many people, I grew up knowing the value of good food. My mom was an early adopter of the organic movement. Long before Whole Foods popularized it, she was feeding me bowls of quinoa instead of Easy Mac. But what really compelled me to quit my day job, and what drives me now, even when a long day over the stove feels like a chore, is the power of a meal to nourish the body and soul.
My own definition of nourishment has changed over the years. Since I started Feed Me Phoebe, my focus has been on helping fellow home cooks find accessible ways of embracing a more balanced diet. I think feeling good about your body, your food, and the effect it has on your environment, is one of the most compelling reasons to get in the kitchen. Michael Pollan said it best (as he usually does) that what you choose to eat is a political act. When people ask me about what I do for a living, I often joke that I’m saving the world one kale salad at a time. But on a certain level, I believe it!
Anyone who’s ever been inside a Juice Press knows that being healthy can be expensive. But being sick is more expensive. In the years since being diagnosed with an auto-immune disease and a gluten allergy, I’ve come to realize how harmful the processed snack foods we’re faced with everyday can be on our bodies, and how a little bit of leafy green goodness can go a long way. Exploring healthy living through your kitchen is the most affordable way of getting the nourishment you need.
I ultimately love home cooked food because it gives me the emotional and physical fuel I need to live a healthier happier life. I’m all about baby steps and eating the good with the bad. Because the most important thing is that you get in the kitchen in the first place. Everyone is nourished in different ways, and cooking gives you the power to put your own special brand of love on the plate, for all to share.