Hi, I’m Kenton and the “chef” of the family. I grew up on a cattle ranch in the Sandhills of Nebraska. Growing up in a remote area I gained an appreciation for quite, wide open spaces. We raised a good portion of the food we ate. We had a large garden, chickens and of course cattle. Now living in the city of Omaha, I fully understand how anemic the “fresh” food we purchase at grocery stores often is. Most of the restaurant fair is just as bad.
After college I headed to Tunisia (North Africa) for a stint in the Peace Corps. There I experienced an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. It was there that I learned how good an apricot could taste. The vast majority of the food consumed there is seasonal and fresh. When the pomegranates were in season, you ate a lot of pomegranates, because that’s what was available and you wouldn’t see them for another year. It was in Tunisia that I gained an appreciation for hot, spicy food. They use a lot of jalapeno type peppers and a paste of hot dried peppers called, harissa. Living in Tunisia certainly expanded my experience of food, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It’s somewhat ironic that the times in which I’ve been surrounded by the best of food, I’ve been my poorest. I lived in a country where only the rich had a phone in the home, but the average person ate much better tasting food, than the majority of North Americans. I wore patches on my jeans growing up, but I ate home grown, home butchered, aged beef. The beef and chicken I ate, you can’t purchase in a grocery store. I’ve lived close to my food and know where it comes from. Now, living in the city, I feel estranged from my food. I’m attempting to make an effort to bring food back into my life in a positive way. I hope you enjoy my effort on these pages.
My name is Melissa. I grew up in a home with a baker. While other kids had ding-dongs and ho-hos in their lunches, my mom made sure I always had home-baked cookies. She also made every birthday cake from purple moonscapes to bright green dragons. At the time, I’m not sure I appreciated it as much as I should have, but now what I wouldn’t give for one of her oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Not all of her recipes were perfect. I have a faint memory of Dad banning the thumbprint cookies with apricot jam. It’s not that they weren’t good but somehow he ended up sitting on a few.
As a kid, I didn’t bake much. I didn’t have to with such a great supply of goodies readily available. But Mom is a few hours away from me now. In the last few years, I’ve started baking on my own. Most of my baking is quick breads and muffins. Since I work full-time and am also a doctoral student, recipes that are relatively quick and flavorful have become my standbys. Kent and I have also become more health conscience. Quick breads and muffins have proven to be quite adaptable without losing their essential goodness.
However, I sometimes need to stretch my baking muscles. Sometimes these pastry experiments are fantastic. Sometimes, they are a little embarrassing (ask me about the blueberry breakfast tart sometime). This blog will cover the good, the bad, and the flops of my baking.