Why did you start a food blog?
It seemed like an obvious thing to do. I admit to being a geeky food nerd who pursues cooking with curiosity about culture and historical references. Don’t ask me about the latest bestseller because every bookshelf in my home is lined with cherished cookbooks that I read nightly before going to sleep.
Food is also about generosity, warmth and memory. How food tastes has been a lifelong fascination. I can still remember the sensory pleasure and taste of foods I ate as a child. Making food is how I nurture family and friends. Sharing my writings and recipes in a blog is another way to extend this ongoing and joyful journey with food.
Why did you name your blog Berryer Cooks?
Berryer is bit of an unknown word – in Yiddish it is the word for a skillful person, especially one who has excellent homemaking skills. I think of myself in a somewhat ironic way as a post-feminist berryer – a skillful person in the kitchen, but not necessarily defined as an excellent homemaker in the pre-feminist sense of the word (as in don’t look under the couch).
Do you have professional cooking experience?
Kinda. I seemed to have always returned to cooking in some form in my adult life. I know just enough about food to be a bang-up home cook:
- During college I worked for Mrs. London’s Bakery in Saratoga Springs where I developed a deep appreciation for well made French pastries and bread.
- As an engagement gift, my husband sent me to Peter Kumpf’s Cooking School to pursue a dream of being a professional cook.
- I worked at acclaimed restaurants in DC as a lowly garde mange before realizing I wasn’t physically tough enough to work in a 120 degree kitchen or fast enough for the grueling pace. The life of a cook was not for me. When I came home from work late into the night, my food drenched clothes were so stinky I stripped in the hallway before entering my apartment. The clothing was put on the balcony until laundry day.
- I tried catering as a way to make my own hours at my own pace, but as my business grew, my conflict avoidance made me miserable when dealing with the demanding fussiness of the wealthy clients I served.
- I combined my teaching and cooking backgrounds to create Wee Cook and taught cooking at private elementary schools throughout DC. During this time I also led teacher in-service training for preschool and after school staff on ways to incorporate cooking programs into the curriculum. Years later I also developed and taught a cooking program for a special needs elementary school I founded.
- The last 20+ years have been spent using my skills and wit to incorporate the disparate food preferences of my family into my cooking. I can thank them for making me such an adaptive and flexible cook.
What are your food muses?
Where to begin! My favorite food muses include, but are not limited to: farmers markets, herbs and spices, my garden, heirloom recipes, Southern food, pulses, and tart-sweet flavors. My go-to ingredients include citrus fruits, ginger, fresh figs, Italian prune plums, pomegranate, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccolini, greens, field peas, chickpeas, sherry vinegar, apple cider vinegar, mustard in all forms, parmesan, pomegranate molasses, gochujang, Asian sesame paste , tahini, peanut butter, and of course chocolate.
I am consistently drawn to veggie-centric small plates, comforting soups, vibrant salads, meat in bits and pieces, scratch-made condiments, pickled foods, and just about anything sweet. My cooking projects often involve using a seasonal find from the farmers market, trying to make an intriguing recipe found in any one of my beloved cookbooks, recreating a food memory from long ago, or copying an intriguing dish eaten at a favorite restaurant.
Is there any food you do not like?
I shy away from processed, pretentious, faddish or twee foods, chunks of meat, raw fish, and large portions of anything.
Where are you from?
I was born in Burlington, Vermont and grew up in cities in New England. As an adult I have made a home and eaten well in Albany, NY and NYC; Washington, D.C.; Bethesda, Maryland; Denver, Colorado; Houston, Texas; and Atlanta, Georgia.
What does your family like to eat?
I am the wife of a devoutly carnivorous husband and teenage son (who happens to have an unusually perceptive sense of taste) as well as a veggie loving artist at MICA (who has a baking business called Cake Monster and a sweet rescue fur baby named Taffy who daintily eats the smallest home baked pup treats I can make) Dessert is the unifying force in our family! We also have an adorable rescue dog named Squiggles who devours my homemade dog treats of all sizes and a kooky rescue cat name Moo Moo who aggressively attempts to steal any people food he can get him paws on!
Can I reprint your photos and recipes?
Please ask permission before reprinting photos or recipes and link back to the original post if you do. I have worked hard to create original recipes and photos to share. Please do not use any of my photos if you plan to attribute them to another recipe or for commercial purposes.
Would you be interested in doing a sponsored post/partnership?
This blog is my happy place project. I am super picky about the choices I make when cooking and do not endorse products unless noted. If you represent a product which you have already seen me using or you think would fit in well, please contact me via email to start a conversation.