This week, our featured member is Rebecca, who not only is a food blogger but also a part-time cooking teacher, occasional caterer, a writer of a food and family column for the Traverse City Record-Eagle, an avid do-it-yourselfer in the kitchen (as evidenced by her Homemade Cultured Buttermilk seen above), and a homeschooler of her five children, all of whom are boys.
I’ll pause a moment and let that sink in for a while.
Rebecca Lindamood, known here simply as Rebecca, refers to herself as a former full-time cook. With five perpetually hungry boys, she can probably drop that “former” tag. In her blog Foodie with Family, she shares that her first venture into “experimental cuisine” involved serving her parents Cocoa Krispies in orange juice, reasoning that orange and chocolate pair well together. That she was inspired to serve her parents what she believed to be a “gourmet snack” is testament to the fact that they were the ones who, as she says, “ignited her passion for adventuring with her food.”
That passion can be seen in her list of favorite ingredients, a list that includes garlic, onions, basil, thyme, habaneros, jalapenos, cilantro, dark chocolate, yeast, flour, and anything sweet that she can hide in her apron pockets to eat while the kids aren’t looking. Given that she refers to herself as a self-employed baker and cheesecake artist, I’m trying hard not to envy those apron pockets if they get to hold some of the sweet delights below.
Rebecca takes it as a personal challenge to replicate store-bought items, and make them better. Some of the items that she never purchases anymore are pickles, jam, buttermilk, barbecue sauce, ricotta cheese, beer, and bread.
Given that she lists yeast and flour as some of her favorite ingredients and bread as one of her always-homemade items, it’s interesting to note that making quickbreads (like banana bread and zucchini bread) is what gives her the most trouble in the kitchen. She calls it her “eternal shame,” confessing that she simply cannot master them. “I think my trouble is that I overthink them. Or overmix them. Or over-something them.” But one look at her non-quickbread recipes below, and it’s clear that when it comes to yeast breads, this part-time bread baking instructor is in her element.
You might wonder what a busy mother of five boys likes to make as a go-to dish, and for Rebecca, it’s either Cuban Pork made in the slow cooker (paired with mango salsa), or homemade pizza. And if you might assume that cooking for a household of guys means that her Tasty Kitchen recipe box is filled with mostly man-food, you’d be pleasantly surprised. Check out some of the wonderful appetizers that you can find in her recipe box.
Clockwise from top left: Mediterranean Hummus Pizza, Recession Caviar, cute little Spanakopita Dip and Mini Spanakopita Phyllo Cups, Chicken and Pork Potstickers, and South Carolina Barbecue Sauce, Kansas City Sauce and Pulled Pork Sliders. Okay, that last one can pass as man-food, too.
Getting hungry yet?
Outside the kitchen, Rebecca says that she spends her spare time “reading, running (slowly), playing piano (badly), and figuring out ways to avoid doing anything resembling housework.” Yep, she’s funny, too.
So now it’s time for us to turn things over to Rebecca, and have her answer some questions. (Maybe we’ll find out if there’s something that’ll trump that Cocoa Krispies with orange juice incident.)
Q: What do you enjoy most about cooking?
A: I love that my grand obsession allows me to be both precise and artistic at the same time that I’m nourishing my family. Talk about multi-tasking. You can’t beat that with a stick.
Q: Any favorite chefs or food celebrities? Who inspires you?
A: I learned to cook by hanging out with my grandma, mom, dad and aunties in the kitchen. My parents ran a Christian camp where we cooked three meals a day (and snacks) for about 150 campers all summer long. It was a fantastic education and my culinary teachers were the best. As for celebrity chefs, I might just have a little food nerd crush on Alton Brown.
Q: What is the strangest food or food combo that you really, really enjoy?
A: Gorgonzola cheese and chopped black seedless grapes on hamburgers. I’ve been banging the drum on this for ages. It is my all-time favorite burger combination. Don’t laugh! Just try it once and you’ll be convinced.
Q: And what if you had to eat something RIGHT NOW, and had only 3 minutes to get it ready? What would it be?
A: Sourdough pretzels dipped in cream cheese. I’m easy.
Q: Do you have a most memorable kitchen flop ever?
A: In a word: durians. We bought a durian for my mother as a 50th birthday gift. (My mom likes food adventures and it was a fruit none of us had seen before.) We broke it open in the middle of the party and passed pieces around to anyone who stayed after smelling it. I think I was the only one who actually swallowed a bite of it. It remains the only food about which I’ve ever had nightmares.
Thanks for answering our questions, Rebecca!
You can browse Rebecca’s recipe box here at Tasty Kitchen to see more of her delicious recipes. And although getting warmer outside, don’t miss her Loaded Baked Potato Soup or Taco Soup if an unexpectedly chilly day comes upon you. Those soups are hearty, filling, and warm you inside out. While you’re at it, check out her food blog as well, Foodie with Family, which is packed with great recipes and some interesting stories behind those wonderful dishes.