“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.”

-Harriet Van Horne, Vogue (1956)

Hello there and welcome to The secret life of kumquats!

You’re probably wondering what this blog is all about huh? Well, to  make things simple I’ve devised a little Q&A. Have people actually asked me these questions? No, not yet. I just thought I’d beat them (and you) to the punch! Happy reading!

And you are….?

I’m Brittni ~ your average 20something girl who loves to simmer, whisk, bake, braise, broil, roast, roll, whip, chop, dice and do anything else you can possibly think of that involves food.

Oh, and I like eating it too.

I used to live in Seattle but am now residing back home in Olympia, WA where I work as a writer and administrative assistant.

A few things besides food that catch my fancy: chocolate covered gummy bears (okay, yeah that’s still food…), reading everything, getting lost in used book stores, running around Disneyland (literally), playing dress-up on stage (some would call it acting), “cocooning” (i.e. holing up for an entire day with nothing but a hot mug of tea and Season 6 of Sex and the City), exploring the aisles of Trader Joe’s, buying fresh flowers, laying on beaches with nothing but a pile of books and a margarita, being an absolute goofball and a ton of other really random things, which you’ll learn about as this journey continues.

What’s this blog all about anyway?

I’m what you’d call a “curious” gourmet – fascinated not just by what I’m cooking but who, when, where, why and how I’m cooking it.

Thoughts like this tend to pop up when I crash about the kitchen:

~When were pretzels invented?
~What is black garlic and why the heck is it black?
~Why do I put my custard in a hot water bath while baking?
~Who is the Diane of “Steak Diane?”
~Lard? Really?! Is that necessary?

In my attempt to answer these questions, I have discovered something pretty cool:

There is a story behind nearly every food, recipe or ingredient you can think of… a “secret life” if you will.

But it’s not always the food’s story that needs to be told; more often than not it’s ours.

Food, I have learned, is about so much more than what we eat for dinner. It’s about the mother who bakes cookies past midnight, intent on finding the perfect balance between butter and sugar ~ the farmer who arrives at the market every day at 5 a.m., dedicated to bringing you the freshest produce possible ~ the child who bakes a batch of chewy oatmeal bars because they remind him of his grandmother.

That’s the part of cooking I find most fascinating ~ how you can learn so much about yourself and others when you look at life reflected in a spoon.

TSLOK is a place for stories. Sometimes they’re mine; sometimes they’re the foods’ and sometimes they’re yours. They might involve successes and messes, love or heartbreak (and at times all of the above) ~ but whether small and seemingly insignificant or monumental and life changing these stories are all a part of something so much larger than our kitchen tables. And if that’s not reason enough for them to be told than I’m not sure what is.

Alright, enough of this schmaltz…moving on!

What are kumquats exactly and why is your blog named after them?

Kumquats are tiny, cute little fruits that look innocent but pack a punch. Sweet on the outside and tart on the inside, with an edible skin to boot, they are a wonderful snack and zesty addition to many recipes.

I like to think that kumquats are a bit like those stories I mentioned above. Sometimes they’re sweet, other times sour. But whether good or bad, tasty or just plain not we cherish them because they are what fill our lives and make it worthwhile.

Do you have a “food philosophy?”

Why yes and it’s rather simple: if it tastes good, eat it!

Okay just kidding…well sort of.

I believe in eating healthy, supporting local growers, getting in 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day (yada yada yada).

However, I also believe in being happy and if that means using two sticks of butter in your triple chocolate brownie batter or indulging in the occasional double cheeseburger with extra bacon then so be it! It’s really all about moderation.

To me, cooking is an adventure. It should introduce you to new cultures, different lifestyles and exciting people and places.

To steal a line from Auntie Mame…

“Live! Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”

So what are you waiting for? Grab a fork and dig in!

What photo equipment do you use?

My camera model is a Canon SX20-IS. It’s what the cool dudes at Best Buy call a “bridge camera” ~ more than a point and shoot but not quite an SLR. I’m a photography newbie and just getting used to using words like aperture, ISO, and shutter speed in everyday language. So believe me when I say any food photography tips would be gladly accepted!!

I also use a smaller Sony camera (that would be the DSC-S2100) for those days when lugging around the big girl camera just isn’t an option (i.e. Ladies Night Out. Have you tried wielding both a big-honkin’ camera and a mojito? Yeah, tough stuff).

Let’s say I wanted to contact you. How would I go about doing that?

Just so you know ~ I adore making new friends! If you feel so inclined as to become one, or just feel like shooting me a friendly “Hey! What’s up?” then send your thoughts this-a-way:

Email ~ brittr4@gmail.com
Twitter ~ breinertsen
Foodbuzz ~ Kismet in the Kitchen

P.S. Do you have kitchen adventures of your own you’ve been dying to share but don’t have the patience for email and such? Then by all means, please utilize those lovely little comment boxes. You’ll find them below each post…

Well, that’s about all of me I think you need to know! Happy cooking kids!