Girls with Goals

Food & Cooking

The Food Snob

Mousse decorated with peaches, whipped cream, ...

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  • Beer.
  • Tea.
  • Soup.
  • Molten chocolate cake.
  • Lobster.
  • Fish.
  • Crab.
  • Tiramisu.
  • Mousse.
  • Home-made mac and cheese.
  • Clam chowder.
  • Chile rellenos.
  • Pancakes.
  • Pastrami.

What do all of these foods have in common? These are things that I’ve only started liking within the last year–many within the last 3 months.

Why do you care? Well, you probably don’t! But The Pioneer Woman can get away with making lists, and I feel like I can make lists that rank up with the best list-makers out there.

These foods are actually accomplishments of which I’m very proud. My whole life I’ve been a picky eater–and often I still am. Well, guess what?

I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore! (name that movie!)

I can’t for the life of me figure out why I would force myself to not like something or not, at the very least, try something. Where was my head?

It seems that one day I just got sick of being so picky. I didn’t like having to tell waiters to leave off a certain ingredient, or to have three dinner rolls and a small pile of turkey on my plate at Thanksgiving. It got tiring being the person everyone had to accommodate.

And, yes, being a picky eater was much better for my waistline. But still. It’s like I’ve been introduced to new friends! The kind of friend that even if you don’t see her for months or years, you can come back together like you were never apart. It’s easy between us now.

Plus, this goes with my goal to try new things and be adventurous. And I’m well on my way!

Just for the record, here are some foods that I still don’t like, but maybe one day we’ll get to know each other better and forge a trusting relationship:

  • Wine.
  • Onions.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Yogurt.
  • Shrimp.
  • Scallops.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Peas.
  • Asparagus.
  • Cabbage.
  • Whipped cream.

So please, if you’re a picky eater, and you really don’t understand why you still are, go ahead and try a new food for me. Just give it a shot. I promise you’ll come across something new to love that you weren’t open to before.

– Allegra

P.S. I also don’t understand adventurous picky eaters. You know, someone who jumps out of a plane for the heck of it but grimaces at the thought of eating something with sour cream on it. You know who you are.

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“Career Move Mondays” – Building a Business

Buttercream swirls are piped onto the sides of...

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I’ll try not to make this post too cryptic, but since this blog is intended to give us some anonymity, I can’t reveal specific details. Sorry!

Here is the first thing you should know: I decorate cakes.

Here is the second thing you should know: I don’t want to open a bakery.

A few years ago I started taking cake decorating classes. I absolutely fell in love with decorating cakes. Sitting down with some frosting and fondant and creating something beautiful is one of my favorite things to do. I find it both relaxing and challenging–when everything is going right, I get into a groove and out of nowhere 7 hours have gone by, but when everything is going wrong–which is likely to happen when using food to look like it’s not food–it can be hell.

A while after I took the classes I kept making cakes for friends and family to practice, and I eventually became a cake decorating instructor. I absolutely loved my students and seeing what creations they came up with. But there is a little red tape involved in working for not just one, but two companies, and I couldn’t stand that.

I eventually began to develop my own idea for a business, and pursued it particularly after I graduated college last spring. I got the business cards, the website and some marketing materials, I planned the classes I would teach, and even had a small grand opening celebration/test class with family and friends.

Everything went great. All my students thought it was a fantastic idea for a business and they all learned something new. However, not one of them booked a future class. And supposedly they liked it? Seems a little fishy.

Anyway, from the beginning I expected this endeavor to just be a part-time side job, and concentrated on finding a full-time job. Check! So what’s happened to my business? I haven’t done even one paid class. And I didn’t have the momentum to push the business.

Although I didn’t put as much money into my business as many budding entrepreneurs do, I certainly don’t want all the effort I did make to go to waste–plus, I still think I have a good idea on my hands.

So this is the year of my business. I’m giving it a chance.

First of all, I’m reformatting. There had to be a reason I couldn’t even get friends to book a class…money? convenience? difficulty of the material? the types of classes?

So I’m reconsidering everything. Overall, the business model will remain the same. But I’ve already got a few ideas in the works for something new and improved.

But the way I’m really going to push myself is by applying for a student entrepreneurship grant through the university I work for–and technically I’m still a student, so I qualify. Many of the other students I would be competing against really need the seed funding–many of their businesses are highly technological. While some money would be nice, I’m applying for this to receive the guidance and advice from entrepreneurial experts.

Over the next few months I’ll be attending info sessions and submitting a concept proposal in the hopes that someone else sees the value and potential of my business. Wish me luck!

Oh, and by the way, HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

We love you!

– Allegra

 


This Locavore’s Dilemma(s)

Michael Pollan’s book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” outlines how something as simple as what we eat for dinner can have serious implications for all of us politically, economically, psychologically, and even morally. The book has inspired people all over America to change the way they eat; not just for their own health, but for the health of the earth and everyone who lives on it. And in my opinion, one of the simplest and most effective ways to change your eating habits is to become more aware of where your food is coming from: how its made, where its made, when its made, who makes it, and how all of these factors affect people, animals and the earth.

But enough about that. This blog isn’t some hippy-dippy space for me to rant about my causes. One of my biggest goals, though, is to eat fewer processed foods and really gain an understanding of where the food I eat comes from.

Eating locally is one of the easiest ways to do this. My boyfriend and I have started shopping at our local farmer’s markets. It’s amazing, really. Just this past Sunday, we bought most of our groceries for the week (fruits and veggies, meat, bread, spices, pasta, even soap!) directly from the farmer that grew them, the ranchers that raised them or the artisans that made them.  We talked to all of these people and were able to ask questions about the food, what’s in it, and where it’s from.  Try doing that at your neighborhood grocery store!

This “go local” craze seems like a walk in the park. Literally, the farmer’s market is at a park! In reality, though, it will take some serious effort to keep up this lifestyle. We went to the farmer’s market. We went to Whole Foods. We went to another local health food store. We went to our neighborhood grocery store. Then, after we got home, we went BACK to the grocery store in a mad dash, racing the countdown until dinner, to get items we had forgotten during our marathon grocery-shop! We’ll definitely need to work on our planning and organization skills to stick with this goal, because I can’t spend 3 hours grocery shopping every weekend.

Another obstacle is money. This stuff is NOT cheap. $7/lb for ground beef? But I can get it $2/lb at the grocery store! We’ve decided that we are definitely going to have to decrease the amount of meat we eat each week, which might pose a teeeeeny little problem for me: I am ALWAYS hungry. Protein is the thing that keeps me going between meals and snacks. I know there are alternative sources of protein. What are your favorites? Right now all I have are beans. Lots of beans. (And if you’re curious about why local/organic/natural foods are so much more expensive, I encourage you to watch the documentary Food, Inc.)

Now that I’ve bought all of my yummy local groceries to prepare delicious homemade meals, the HUGE question I’m asking myself is, “BUT WHAT ABOUT WHEN I WANT TO GO OUT TO EAT?!?!”. I have no delusions about my goal. I know I wont be able to eat 100% local right from the start, or even years down the road. There are restaurants around that have a focus on local foods on their menus, but what about the ones that don’t? Should I feel like a hypocrite for eating at these places? Should I feel like I’m taking a step backwards from my eating-local lifestyle?

All you locavores out there: How do you do it (while keeping yourself sane)? I’ll keep you posted on my progress (which includes a soon-to-be-built square foot garden – keep an eye out for my next post!).

Ciao,

Florence