Featured ATX Food Blog :: Mary Makes Dinner
We’re big fans of Mary from Mary Makes Dinner. Not only did she rise to the challenge of creating a meal using in.gredients found in the store, she also provides our community with a well thought out and beautifully executed blog.
Besides being our go-to for food guidance on the internet, she’s one of the ATX food bloggers that is involved in the community in a big way. If there is a food-based event, Mary will be there. And if you aren’t impressed yet, she also teaches culinary classes around town, online and privately. Yeah, she’s a guru of sorts.
Mary walks the walk, talks the talk and boy, can she write. Learn more about how she got caught up in the ATX food movement.
How did you discover your love of food and writing?
I was raised in a food family, so my appreciation for food pretty much started at birth. My Dad’s family were restaurant people, and my Mom’s father was a fisherman in Maine. Growing up, I was surrounded by my Mother’s rural home cooking and my Dad’s culinary adventures. I started working in the food industry after quitting school at sixteen. I spent most of my youth working in Japanese restaurants. Later, I got the chance to live in China, where I took my first formal cooking classes. Somehow, despite all the food in my life, it had never occurred to me to take a class. Once I did, I was hooked. I enrolled in the Community Culinary School of Northwestern Connecticut as soon as we came back home.
Has blogging changed the way you view food and cooking? If so, how?
For me, it’s actually the other way around. I’ve worked as a blogger for more than five years, but the bulk of that time has been as a DIY natural beauty guru on The Natural Beauty Workshop. I always focused on formulating recipes and creating tutorials, so I never really though of myself as a writer. It wasn’t until I started seriously working on Mary Makes Dinner, about three years ago, that I actually took writing seriously and learned to take pride in it. Now I can’t stop writing. I even created a new blog, Mary Makes Pretty, to catch the non-food overflow that keeps streaming out of my head.
What is your favorite ingredient to use in the kitchen?
I buy soy sauce by the jug. Japanese mayo and sriracha are my condiment MVPs, and furikake and fresh scallions win for most-used garnish.
What is your best memory in the kitchen?
Making my chef say “Oh YEAH” during my last few weeks in culinary. You have to imagine his old-timey Manhattan accent, to get the full effect. Oh YEAH. When I catch myself saying the same while tasting a recipe, I know it’s a keeper.
What is the best thing about your kitchen?
I love that it has plenty of room for company. Everybody wants to be in the kitchen when they come over, and I’m happy that they all fit.
What is your favorite meal to prepare?
Dinner, hands down. When I cook, I’m able to tune out everything else and just enjoy the moment. Cooking dinner every night gives me some time every day to focus on the present, let go of my troubles, and just be. I think it’s funny when other people talk about cooking like a chore. For me it’s a retreat.
What does your dream kitchen look like?
Butcher block counter tops, a well padded linoleum floor that can take plenty of abuse, a gas stove, lots of natural light, plenty of workspace, and room for friends.
What 3 guests would you like to have at your dinner table?
It is a little cheesy, but I love feeding people I love. You could put the names of all my friends and family into a bag, pull out three random pieces of paper, and that would please me more than any celebrity foodie or historical figure… except maybe Patrick Stewart. You could put his name in the bag too.
What does the word “sustainable” mean to you when it comes to food?
It means food that was grown in a way that doesn’t carelessly wreck the world for everybody else. There are different degrees of that, for sure, but I like to support agriculture that is at least trying to move in the right direction.
Favorite Recipe to Date?
I’m pretty proud of my Black Bean Soup recipe. It is fairly simple, but I am yet to find another version of Black Bean Soup that I like better than my own. Of all the recipes on my blog, I could this one the most frequently. In that sense, it is clearly the house favorite.
The readers’ favorite on my blog is my Cashew Rangoon. These crispy little dumplings are delicious, but I only make them for parties and gatherings. I came up with the recipe by trying to invent a vegan replacement for one of my favorite junk foods, crab rangoon.
What three recipes would you share with our readers?