A few weeks ago I was at a wedding and we were discussing cooking.
I kept getting asked the same question which is one that I don’t typically have a good answer for:
What style of cooking are you known for?
What are you best at cooking?
I guess this is because people hear I have a food blog and they assume that it’s something along the lines of dishes that only involve bacon or gluten-free or something.
I have to have a something right?
So I spent some time thinking about what my cooking style involves. I’m not really sure it’s a perfectly succinct answer, but here it goes.
Why do you need a something?
I remember this small hole-in-the-wall restaurant that was a few blocks away from my apartment in DC.
On their menu they had:
- Fried Chicken
- Chicken Lo Mein
- Cheese steaks
- Spaghetti and Meatballs
Also see most mid-level chain restaurants that have a ten page menu. They feel the need to offer everything so they do all of it half-assed rather than picking a few items and making them well.
I think it makes sense for a restaurant to specialize in something.
But does the same go for the home cook? After all, I like to eat a wide variety of foods and cuisines so why shouldn’t I try to learn how to cook those things?
There’s a few reasons. First, it can be overwhelming. It’s a lot easier to start with, say, Italian food. Once you get the basics down, then you can start to branch out to some other Mediterranean styles.
But if you are just getting started in the kitchen, and trying to do too much at once, you’ll end up with a weekly meal plan that looks something like this:
Thursday: Tofu Stir Fry
Friday: My Head Explodes
So yea. It can be important to start slowly and with some specific cuisines in mind.
Second, if you are a food writer/blogger like myself, it’s a lot easier to find an audience if you have a thing.
If I only posted Italian recipes, then I’d have a large guido following, most of my traffic would come from the New Jersey/New York area, and I would weigh 400 pounds.
Instead, I kind of just post what I eat and cook which is a wide variety of things. This probably upsets some people and I’d be shocked if anybody liked everything I cooked. My wife certainly doesn’t.
That said, I think that over the years, I have developed a few larger themes that I think I can express.
My Cooking Style
Here’s a rundown on the basic style I try to follow here and also what I think I’m better at making.
Made-from-scratch Stuff – In general, I try to make stuff from scratch. This isn’t to say that I do it all the time, but I think it’s cool to make mayo by hand. I think it’s fun to know how to make really good sandwich bread from scratch.
Fusion Salads – When I asked Betsy what she thought I was best at making, this is what she said. Taking a few different ingredients from different cuisines and mixing them together is something I’ve gotten a lot better at. A good example of this is coming your way tomorrow.
Healthy and Hearty – It’s funny. There are days were I’ll be accused of being both too healthy and too unhealthy within the same hour. In reality though, I try to plan my weekly meal plans to be pretty balanced. If I have fried chicken one night, I’ll probably have something lighter the next night. I try to plan my posts in a similar fashion.
Tex-Mex – I love Tex-Mex, but my wife really loves Tex-Mex. So I’ve became sort of a Tex-Mex expert over the years.
Brunch – Breakfasts and brunches are actually my favorite meal of the day. There’s nothing better than starting the day with a good filling breakfast. I try to post one brunch/breakfast post a week, normally on Saturdays.
Of course, all of these are just general themes. At the end of the day, I’ve posted over 600 recipes here over the years. So it’s pretty hard to find a centralizing theme really.
What’s Your Style?
I’m curious how other people answer this question. When people ask you what your cooking style is or what your best at cooking, how do you answer? Leave a comment!