Tuesday, December 12, 2006


She cooks! She bakes! She used to benchpress 250lbs before dislocating both shoulders!

I am Wondercook.

Well, actually, I'm Chellie, but Wondercook sounded kinda nice for that little intro bit there.
I really need to get some work done on this place, but while I take a break from that let me tell you a little about me and my food.

I didn't really start cooking until I was in my 20s. Sure, I'd puttered around in the kitchen before then, but it was infrequent and far from interesting. I used to find a recipe and follow it to the very letter, and that was never very fun for me. Food was a necessity of life, and the creation of it was merely a means to an end.

My outlook on food changed when I spent several years in North Carolina. Something about Southern food wormed its way into my soul, and for the first time I found joy in not only eating good food, but making it as well. Maybe all the butter and bacon greased up my culinary muse, but something happened to me in the Southland and I became obsessed.

Cooking became my secondary passion - trailing just barely behind my then-career as a professional wrestler. I learned how to throw out my recipes and to work with my senses instead. I never got into any concepts like fancy sauces or French words I could barely pronounce; I just made everything up as I went along. I was, and still am, an almost 100% improvisational cook.

The only downside to throwing away my recipes was the fear of baking I developed. Everyone knows that you have to Follow The Recipe when you bake, right? Horrible, terrible, disastrous things will happen if you don't! Ergo, my baking repertoire consisted of chocolate chip cookies and Rice Krispy treats. That's it. I wouldn't touch anything else with a 10 foot pole.

Somewhere along the way, serendipity struck in the form of a chef who thinks I'm pretty spiffy-keen. Insert your atypical boy-meets-girl, fall in love, happy cheerful hearts story here. The relevant part of the story, for BKI at least, is his occupation. A real, live chef - someone who loves food as much as I do!

My wrestling career came to an end thanks to post-concussion syndrome and I suddenly found myself with a whole lot of spare time on my hands. This is when my second food-transformation happened.

This is a household of carb-lovers. We love pasta. We love rice. We love potatoes.
My dear friend Beth is a baker extraordinaire. After hearing her talk about all the wonderful, amazing breads she creates, I started to rethink my phobia of baking. I mean, she makes it all sound so easy! Maybe, just maybe I could manage to follow a simple bread recipe.

With much trepidation and crossing of fingers, I approached baking.
And after a couple weeks of playing around, I was kicking myself for having wasted almost 30 years of my life by not baking. (assuming an infant could bake...) You see, my 'playing around' uncovered a passion even greater than my passion for cooking: a passion for baking, and baking mostly bread. And not just a passion, but some weird sort of knack for the whole thing.
I went from zero to "Hi I made my own wild yeast sourdough starter!" in less than a month, much to the delight of my bread-loving hubby.

Now that the last barrier has been broken down, I'm balls-out in the kitchen. I don't care what it is, I'll try making it. Croissant? Yup, got that down pat. Brioche? Been there, done that. Fancy sauces? Definitely getting there.

Next I just need a creative outlet to share my foodie-ness with the world...how might I go about doing that....


Beth said...

My dear, I suspect that in the relatively short time you have been baking you have already surpassed even my mad baking skillz. :-)

I have *never* been able to get wild sourdough yeast to take hold in my starter. Nor have I dared attempt the reputedly difficult croissant, to date.

In fact, when you have the inclination, I would love to see a post on how you got the wild yeast starter thing to work for you.

And, along the same vein, I have never been able to get true Ethiopian injera to work for me... I always have to cheat and use chemical levening... so if you ever aquire an interest in Ethiopian cuisine, let me know if you can figure that one out too! ;-p

Ahh - the teacher becomes the student!

Amelia said...

Chellie, you sound like a woman on a mission. :P

I'll dig thru my mom's old recipe book for something relatively simple looking and see how it goes. Who knows? Maybe I'll do better than my mutant cookie from several years back. x)

Either way, I'd suggest you look at starting a side business. If baking is what you love, and you're so damn good at it, you might as well share those fabulous foods with the world (or at least your neighbors).

Have a wonderful holiday season, and I look forward to loving baking as much as you do. :D

-Amelia (aka amyd_ison)