About Emily and This Website
I was raised in Lake Charles, a medium-sized town in southwestern Louisiana. My mom and grandmother cooked often and well, and I grew up with the luxury of truly delicious Creole and Italian (my grandfather was Sicilian) specialties being the regular course of action at mealtimes.
I left Louisiana for college in Evanston, IL, where I studied Religion and European History. Though I loved the entirety of my undergraduate years, I did miss being surrounded by vast quantities of southern food and eccentric people. In the years following graduation, I went to graduate school twice, worked at two great American universities, lived in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, Cambridge and Amsterdam, got married, got a dog, had two kids and finally settled in DC, a city I really love. Whew!
It was during my second trip down the graduate school path - this time to study Human Development and Psychology and this time a fiancee/newlywed - that I really started cooking a lot, truly appreciating wine, thinking about life with kids and taking as many courses in government and politics as I could (I swear there is a connection with development/psych and government/politics).
All of those passions continue to be prominent in my life today. I'm a stay-at-home mom of two darling boys and am proud to say that they've never eaten at McDonald's, Burger King or the like. My husband, kids and I spend a lot of time playing around in the kitchen, gardening, reading, laughing, talking about current affairs and politics and trying to live a good and meaningful life in which we care for family and friends and nurture our Earth in all the ways in which we're capable.
For years now, my dear friend, Shawn, has been on my case to become a food critic/writer and/or to start a food blog. Once my youngest turned two, I found myself simultaneously craving some bit of return to ME as distinct from the ME as Mommy and able to eke out a few more seconds each day. I also wanted to reach out into my community more, to try and share information and ideas that strike me as valuable, important, delicious or simply fun.
In late March, 2011, we returned from a food- and wine-saturated week in New Orleans (where, by the way, the fleur-de-lis -my favorite icon- is ubiquitous (an homage to Louisiana’s French heritage and now an official state symbol). D.C. was in the throes of a cold, gray winter, and after the sun and warmth of New Orleans, I was glum. I raced to the garden center to buy lettuces that I intended to nurture lovingly inside until I could transplant them outside. Soon after, I successfully riffed on a wilted greens and mascarpone pasta I had made previously; my version was sublime*, and while enjoying it, Tom and I started noodling (no pun intended) on Shawn’s idea.
Not long afterwards, I launched this site: my cooking-eating-wine drinking-mommy reflecting-politics musing-animal welfare loving-gardening attempting blog, Em-i-lis (sounds like: Emily). Because I love to write but don't have tons of time, I have found the blog format to work well and fulfill me in many ways.
As I came to be a wife and mother, I realized how much love you can share through the simple act of cooking. Feeding another person well is a way of caring for, nurturing and loving them. Learning more about where your food really comes from, how the land and animals that provide it are treated, and making food decisions (what you purchase, what you eat) based on that knowledge- that is a way of showing compassion towards yourself, others and our Earth. So, in essence, food and what that word really connotes -cooking, eating, consuming, being politically aware, thinking about agricultural systems and policy, wondering how to address problems related to hunger and obesity, worrying how or if we will address climate change- is at the core of my being. My spiritual center, I guess you could say.
Let me know what you think, what you'd like to see more or less of, what makes you laugh, any recipes you try. Thanks for reading!
*For that inspirational recipe, see Em-i-lis Recipes.