Becky Hardin St. Louis, MO
“COOKING SHOULD BE FUN AND CREATIVE, NOT STRESSFUL!”
This wife, mom and photographer (follow her on instagram: @thecookierookie) proves you don't have to start early to be a standout cook. At age 30, Becky panicked when she realized she had no idea how to cook—anything. She decided to begin a blog, The Cookie Rookie, to document her trials in the kitchen. Here’s how she went from clueless to confident.
How did you get interested in cooking? I never really had an interest in cooking growing up. My mom, Susie, is an amazing cook, so I was just happy to enjoy her food from the sidelines. But when I turned 30, something clicked and I suddenly had an intense desire to learn all that I could. My mom came and stayed with me for a weekend and brought along my mostrequested recipes to help guide me. I spent the entire weekend learning how to master my favorite childhood recipes, and I was hooked.
What advice would you give to other newbie
cooks? I think learning to cook is all about being OK with the trial and error and realizing things are so much easier than you might think. If you’re creating food with love for your family, there are no bad recipes. The more you practice, the more you get a feel for what flavors work well together. It’s all about confidence!
Do you have a favorite ingredient to cook with? Cheese! I’m proud to be the queso queen, even if it’s not exactly friendly on the calorie counts. And here in St. Louis, we absolutely love our Provel cheese! If you haven’t had deep-fried Provel bites, have you even lived?
What are your special Christmas traditions? Growing up—and we still do this today—we always had a big Christmas breakfast before we could open presents. Breakfast pizza, monkey bread, fresh grapefruit, and vanilla orange juice would wake us up bright and early, followed by the opening of presents one by one as a family. I plan on teaching my son, Henry, to be just as patient as we had to be as kids. Maybe his love of food will make it easy—he’s already shaping up to be quite the foodie!
What does cooking
mean to you? I love that food brings people together. Food is memorable, as well as the conversations had over a home-cooked meal. Those are moments we can’t get back, and I’m realizing they are so worth the extra work.
Proud to be the queso queen!