Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Change is in the Air....

Indeed. Change is inevitable, and hopefully for the better. If you have been here before, you would remember me as the "novice baker". That was my identity when I started this blog almost 2 years ago. The time when I knew zero about baking, and cautiously taking my baby steps to learn to bake and cook in a foreign land.


Two years has passed. It wasn't a long time, but it was neither a short time. I made some silly mistakes and threw away some inedible concortions along the way, but more importantly I learned not to do things in certain ways. Like whisking cold egg white in the mixer? No, it will not rise, and certainly it will never triple in volume.

I love to eat. I am constantly hunting for good food. And when I am not eating, I am probably dreaming or thinking of what to eat the next second. But I wasn't a cook, neither was I a baker. When I was staying in the food paradise where good foods are abundant and affordable, cooking was the last thing I wanted to do. The pleasure of eating good food the moment you craved for it is immensely gratifying.

I learned to cook and bake when I first moved to St Louis, to join my husband (aka OCT) in his last year of grad school. Leaving a corporate job and having all the time that I once lacked, I started to discover the pleasure of cooking and baking. A craft that I never had the chance to learn as a kid. Actually the opportunity was always there, since my mum was a good baker herself. But I chose to chase after other frivolous pursuits.

Joining OCT in St Louis means we will have more quality time together, after going on a long distant relationship for 4 years. But it also means we have to live within a tight budget, since I no longer have the dispensable income. Naturally, eating out is no longer a luxury we can afford as frequent as we would love. But I. Love. To. Eat! So, in order to feed my eating enthusiasm, I started cooking and baking. I bake everything and anything I crave, from Chocolate Cake to Cheesecake, as long as I can find a reliable recipe.

So this is how it begins. A blog is started to record my adventure and misadventure in my tiny kitchen. The place where I spend my happiest time as well as the most frustrated time (when the white eggs didn't triple).

Novice baker was an anonymous identity I used for almost 2 years now. It was a perfect excuse I used when something didn't turn out the way it should. "Because, I am a novice baker". Two years of trials and errors and more bittersweet experiments in the kitchen later, I am a better cook and baker now. Though there are still a whole universe of culinary wisdom awaiting me. I will keep learning, cooking, baking and make mistakes if that's what it takes to make me a better cook. But for now, I just want to introduce myself.

My name is Mandy, and I will be your hostess here. I hope you will be entertained by my adventure in the kitchen, and I look forward to know you, my guest a little better. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

23 comments:

SteamyKitchen said...

Wow, did you make all those dishes and cakes?

Deborah said...

I just found your blog - you definitely look like you are no longer a novice!! I will take your place as the novice and hopefully after 2 years, I will be able to not be considered a novice anymore as well!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

What a wonderful story, Mandy! I love the fact that this has been your career in a way for the past 2 years and it looks like you have done so much! Great job!

Anonymous said...

you are very inspiring mandy. please continue to show us your heavenly creations...

Mandy said...

Jaden,

Yes, I made those dishes myself. And finished almost half of everything myself. Isn't that scary?

Deborah,
Thanks for visiting. Looking at your creations, you have long pasted the novice stage!

Jenndz,
Thanks! Looking at your icon reminds me of your killer brownies!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Mandy, you have some seriously beautiful food here! Wow, I'm stunned!
Are those cookies the Korova cookies?? They look luscious!

Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving such a lovely comment - I'm glad because now I found your blog too!

Lee Ping said...

I am glad to know you and looking forward to know you and the food you like better. ;)

"Fresh from the Oven" is a great name for your blog.

Is the first photo truffles topped with roasted almonds?

Little Corner of Mine said...

Mandy, love all your bakes, very pretty, definitely not a novice anymore. Can't wait to see more. :)

Joe said...

Mandy - I can't wait to see your new adventures!

Anne said...

Fresh from the Oven definitely suits your blog. To think you've had your blog for 2 years, is quite an accomplishment. I doubt I would last that long :)

And let me mention I like your photos. Your blog is admirable :)

Pilar said...

I have just discovered your blog and surely you are not a novice anymore ! Its true that we can learn every day a litle bit more if we have interest.
Best regards from Spain

Mandy said...

anonymous,
thanks for the compliment. I am flattered.

patricia,
YES! They are the korova cookies! The dangerously irresistible cookies. :)

Lee Ping,
The first photo is some oreo truffles I made some time ago.

Little corner of mine,
I love the Malaysian food you cooked too! And I still remember that birthday party you hosted for your daughter, so many food!!!

Joe, Anne:
Both of you are my inspirations! Love all the stuff both of you conjure. And I lurk into your blogs on a daily basis!!;P

Pilar,
yes, there's so much to learn, from other talented bloggers especially!

tigerfish said...

I don't think you are a novice baker-you're a pro!

I don't bake so I can be contented just to visit you and "eye" your bakes through pictures :)

blur_mommy said...

Just hop over to ur blog from lee ping's. Looking at ur pics, you are definitely not a novice baker : ) U are doing an awesome job!! Keep those beautiful creations coming!!

Happy Mrs Kwok said...

Hey Mandy,

You should change your blog title to Expert Baker! Your foodies are so awesome!

I must really learn from you :) I'm so so so so so novice in baking! I tried so many sponge cakes and only once did it really taste spongy and soft. :(

Teach me teach me!

RecipeGirl said...

I just found your blog, and I think I'll enjoy visiting. Looks like you have some great stuff :)

Rachel said...

Hi Mandy, I enjoy reading your blog a lot. I loves to bake and cook and do a whole lot of food experiments at our liitle kitchen while my husband is at work! I feel myself can relate to you so well except the fact you are a much beter cook and baker than me! Look forward to knowing you more. I am orginally from Taiwan and finally am making steps in reunion with my husband here in Iowa.

Live.Love.Eat said...

Hi there. I just found your blog through Two Peas & Their Pod. I already NEED to know what is in that picture with the egg in it. It looks scrumptious. Come on over & visit. I, too, love food!!!

Food For Tots said...

I found your blog from Rasa Malaysia's posting. I am so inspired looking at your achievements after 3 years of hard works. I hope I can be like you too.

Jolyn said...

hi mandy...

when i came upon your blog, it is as if i'm reading about myself...
really...cause in many ways, i'm just like you..

i'm a big chocoholic :p
i love food and enjoy eating...
i love photography...
i love travelling...

like you said, when you come from a place where good, affordable food can be found everywhere, in my case, malaysia [btw are you from malaysia?]...there really isn't any reason for me to cook at all...

but when i came over to australia and staying on my own, i too, started having interest in baking and cooking...and being a newbie in photography, all my "trial" food have become my photography target :)

so it is really inspiring to read about you...

Rita said...

Hi Mandy

Just found your lovely blog, will start browsing trough the many recipes soon. I also left my job in order to be with my husband, and it also lead to the discovery of cooking and baking!

The Underground Cupcake said...

Your blog Rocks!!!

Anonymous said...

wow.. awesome story! How inspiring to those of us who also are experimenting with food and with blogging! I wish you continued success!

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