Becky Hardin St. Louis, MO

Taste of Home - - Why I Cook -

“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!

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