My name is Andrea, I am a self-taught baker and cook. Being in the kitchen is a joy to me – smelling, tasting, mixing, timing, adapting, multi-tasking – I love every minute of it.
I cook classic Italian and American dishes for my family. But I also love a challenge. My philosophy is to let “miscellaneous” ingredients guide me. When I see something interesting and different at the market or grocery store, I buy it even if I have no immediate use for it – or no idea what to do with it. This encourages me to try something new and go outside of my comfort zone. I start asking questions and doing research. There is such joy in achieving a dish you never thought possible – or even knew existed. A lot of times, these new dishes quickly become old favorites. This inspired me to create Misc. Kitchen.
I have also had some epic failures when trying something new in the kitchen. I try not to see them as such – I just write a lot of notes and take away a valuable lesson for the next attempt.
On that note, I should tell you that I despise perfect. In life and in food, I am drawn to the beauty of imperfection. Slightly messy, a little askew, craggy, rustic – I’m down with it. Frilly, fancy, pretentious, stuffy – not for me. When things are too perfect, they lose their character. I’m all about character. So you won’t find fancy food styling or glossy photography on this site. But you absolutely will find my heart – in all its imperfect glory.
Speaking of my heart, I am a mom to a beautiful two-year-old named Daniel. I encourage him to connect with me in the kitchen every day (it doesn’t always work but I try!). Even if it’s just stirring the flour or adding an ingredient to the bowl, he becomes part of the final result. And when a dish comes out of the oven that he helped to make, he just swells with pride.
I work in the fragrance industry, which has a significant correlation to my cooking and baking. Spices, herbs and aromatics that are used in cooking and baking are also found in perfumes. I prefer the subtle taste of spices but I’m very aware of their power in every recipe I make. It is usually the first (and sometimes only) tweak that I will make to an existing recipe – and if I’m creating my own, it’s what I will spend the most time thinking about. Spices are the watercolors of a dish. They can shade or brighten any meal. Exploring and experimenting with different spices notes is fun and personal.
I owe my love of baking and cooking to my grandmother, Esther, who worked in a bakery for most of her young life. She was a funny, loving and serene woman who came alive when she baked. She would start weeks in advance on her holiday cookies and when she was done, the tupperware containers would be stacked 4 feet off the ground. As a little girl, I loved to watch her bake. I would sit on the floor, playing with her egg slicer and flour sifter, waiting patiently for my favorite treats to come out of the oven. My grandmother made magic in her mixing bowls. Everything she baked was delicious and created an indelible impression on me. I can’t wait to do the same with my grandchildren some day.
For now, I want to make an impression on you. I’ll be improving this site every day, and hope you will stick around and make some magic in the mixing bowls with me.