I started in the kitchen when I was still a baby. Helping my Mom cut cookies, making tea time treats with my Oma, and Grandma (when we visited in Calgary,) and eventually making large batches of cookies which my friends would wolf down the dough if I left the kitchen for a second.
By the time I moved out and started college, I was broke and my family double its already enormous size, as I was living with my future husband who oddly had near the same family size as I. So for the holidays I baked. Everyone got cookies. I'd make at least 8 different recipes and dozens of treats. Gingerbread bars, rugelach, coconut peaks, sugar cookies, pinwheels, lemon rosemary shortbread. I would buy those crappy tins that Chinese takeout would come in since fancy cookie tins were expensive. Everyone would always sneer at those damn containers like I was handing them a dirty diaper. Fancy cookie tins cost a lot when you need 3 dozen of them because your sisters can't stop procreating! But they always said the treats were delicious. Oddly, I always thought they were just being nice.
Eventually, I started doing cakes for holiday dinners. The cookies were getting out of hand and my kitchen was tiny with limited cupboards and countertops. So apartment sized, but in the basement of a double-wide trailer. Yes, I was the ultimate trailer-trash, living in the basement of a trailer. (But my besties lived upstairs so it was the greatest arrangement, and one I miss dearly.)
My "professional" life didn't reach the culinary realm for a long time though. I mean, who makes money baking? After dropping out of college we moved to Edmonton, I had a dizzying array of jobs, never made money, eventually went back to school (for accounting,) made enough money to fold, got laid off during the recession, and then was wondering what the hell to do with my life.
I had begun a tiny catering company a few years before. My big debut was doing Superhero cupcakes for Free Comic Book Day at the best local comic book store (hey Happy Harbor, miss you!) I gave the business a joke of a name (get it? I'm a woman, and I need to get back to the kitchen *nudge nudge wink wink*) and did the very odd order for a few years, never thinking anything would really come of it. But now I was living off EI, couldn't find a job, and there are these wonderful farmers' markets in this city.
So I started doing the markets. After a few months of not great sales and stomach aches, my lactose intolerance was actually a dairy allergy and taste-testing my food was not good for me, I took the advice of my friend and went vegan. I refused to compromise on taste, texture and style.
And here I am.
I've always believed that scratch-made is better. I've never successfully made something from a box, and always have found more satisfaction in knowing I made everything with my hands. I won't shy away from turning the "there is no way that can be made vegan" into a delicious, cruelty-free dessert. Everything I make is made with as much care and love as if I were making it for my loved ones.
Photographic evidence of my early start. The fact that my mom handled a young child and a toddler in the kitchen with two teenage girls somewhere else in the house makes her a saint in my books. And that my brother will forever hate me for having a picture of him as a kid on my website.
Also, I was the fattest baby ever, and this was when I was half my regular Michelin man size. I had all the rolls and dimples. Why is that still not cute as an adult?