About Fresh Eats at Home

Welcome to Fresh Eats at Home, a food journal for the over-scheduled home cook.  And, if you happen to be under-scheduled, or a highly skilled chef, pull up a chair, because there’s plenty of room at my table for you, too.

Like many of you, I’m not a trained chef. I didn’t go to culinary school. And I’d love the luxury of more time to plan and cook elaborate meals for my family and friends. But, I’ve found that time, while desirable, isn’t required. Great ingredients and a little imagination can lead to creative, inspiring meals.

Many food writers and bloggers have a story — one that involves grandmothers, drafty farmhouse kitchens and carefully tended local, seasonal produce; grown and harvested long before it all became so chic and aspirational.

No such whimsy here. Well, to be precise, I had that grandmother. I am a farmer’s daugher. My dad can recite a litany of tales about picking the currants and the apples and selling them roadside. But there’s a catch: grandma died before I was born and I’m told she was a competent, but unexceptional cook. And the farm was sold long ago.

My mother? Truly exceptional, but she viewed cooking as something to cross off her lengthy to-do list, which during my childhood involved collecting graduate degrees rather than cookbooks.

Don’t get me wrong, we cooked together. Homemade eggplant parmesan, chicken soup from scratch and the best brownies in the business. But I suspect her goal was more about raising an independent, capable child than cultivating in me the soulful joy of preparing a beautifully poached organic egg atop heirloom greens and perfectly crisped pancetta. Lovely goals, both.

Rather, my passion for cooking and food was born from necessity, and evolved into something more.  About 10 years ago. I was newly single and, for the first time, responsible for planning and preparing all of my own meals.

So I dug in, bought a few cookbooks (okay, a lot of cookbooks), watched some Food Network and PBS (okay, a lot of Food Network and PBS) and, importantly, started experimenting in the kitchen. I loved the creativity, the improvisation, the results (even the mistakes!). And I’m loving the process of striving to become an exceptional home cook.

Today, I’m a freelance food writer, married stepmom of three, exercise enthusiast and bookworm. By day, I’m an executive speechwriter and event planner working for MSL Group at General Motors. 

I started this blog in 2009 as a creative outlet when things were looking pretty bleak in Detroit, my home town. In 2011, I took a break after having surgery, and now I’m back. And my city, while still battered and timeworn, is evolving into one of the nation’s most intriguing hotspots for food.

One rarely launches a blog alone, and I had help from Barb Kiebel of Kinetic Webs, as well as support from my terrific family and friends. Additionally, Susie Raynal created the art on Fresh Eats at Home — for information, email me on my contact page.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about food, cooking, and this blog, and I welcome your feedback, comments and emails.

-Maria Raynal