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My name is Nancy, and my hope is that this blog will help me document all of the things I have learned and love about food and wine (and beer…and cocktails…) and better share it with others. I have come to realize that obsessing over food and wine and where it comes from and the traditions associated with it and the happiness it brings from eating, cooking, and sharing it is what really defines me.
After receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Illinois in 2001, I decided to pursue cooking school. I attended for a few semesters, but decided it was not for me. It was pricey to say the least, I already had a degree, and between the great line cook job I had gotten and the cooking books I was reading, I decided to forgo culinary school, and just see how far I got on my own. I then spent the next 5 years cooking – in Charleston, SC; Savannah, GA, Champaign, IL; and St. Louis, MO. Those few years were interesting, to put it mildly. I lived in beautiful areas, met amazingly talented people who had the same passions I did, and became a cook (and sometime baker) that could hold her own in any restaurant. But it did have its downsides – crazy hours, crazy lifestyle, back-breaking work, low pay, rarely having a female coworker, never seeing your family, never having a holiday or weekend off, working 16 hour days, wondering if it was all worth it, need I go on?
As 2005 came to a close, I felt aimless and uninspired and unmotivated. I decided to leave the restaurant industry and see if I could put my business degree to some other use. I found a job in Human Resources, and was amazed how much free time I seemed to have doing the 8-5 thing. About that same time, I met Zach, the man I would soon marry. Looking back, there must have been a reason I decided to make a life change then. If I hadn’t, I would have never had the opportunity to create this amazing life that I’m sharing with him.
But enough with the sappy love story. Let’s get to the point. I love food, I love eating, I love having some drinks, I love going out for dinner. When I travel, the food and wine situation at our destination is always my ultimate concern. I cook every chance I can, and I fancy myself a pretty damn good cook. I dabble in baking, and I want to get better. I love cookbooks. I try out new cocktails at home, and my husband is starting to brew beer. We started a garden last year, and hope to expand it this year – and ideally start canning this fall.
But I don’t take myself too seriously. I love hot dog stands as much as the next guy. I will always admit to loving Kraft powdered macaroni and cheese. I throw fits and cuss. I usually over-eat and over-drink. I procrastinate.
But, life’s a work in progress, right? So here is mine.