Interview With Rebecca Gagnon of Cake Walk
Rebecca, please tell my readers about your cooking background.
I am a baker and cook by way of interest and self learning. Both my Mom and Grandmother were from scratch cooks and home preservationists, and I carry on their traditions using tools they've given me. I also love to expand my personal knowledge through books, classes, and experimentation.
What inspired you to start rcakewalk.blogspot.com?
I started my blog shortly after a death of my uncle. I grew up rurally and very close with my mom's side of our family, and when he died suddenly at age 56, it brought back a flood of memory and lament for the way our family had grown out and apart over the years. I had been sending loose emails with photo albums to a small group of friends, captioning my kitchen exploits, and I think my uncle's death made me really want to share my life and my excitement for healthy, homemade food with others on a larger scale.
What's your favorite meal to prepare?
I love to cook simple but really spicy food like tacos. Tacos are a staple, but for me they can be really unusual versions sometimes. Last night for dinner, I made a deconstructed taco salad with an improvised cumin dressing, some homemade pinto bean burgers I had stashed in the freezer, and some onion and garlic spiked arroz blanco on the side. I love dinners that just "appear", and that are never the same twice.
What camping recipes for kids would you recommend?
I've not done a whole lot of camp cooking, but my dad and I cooked and camped on a canoe trip when I was younger. I thought it was amazing that he made pancakes for us in the morning on his little Coleman camp stove. I'd recommend perusing the aisles of your local food co-op or natural foods store and seeing what kind of bulk mixes can help you out. You can often find pancake or soup mixes that can serve as building blocks to other dishes. I think the best thing to keep in mind is that everything tastes better outdoors!
Once you complete your clay/brick oven project. What would be the first thing you cook?
I hope I'm able to build it! I am a bread fanatic, and grew my own sourdough culture last year using grapes from my parents' farm. I would love to be able to make bread and pizzas outdoors. There is a real connection between wild yeasts and the environment, so I'd love also to be able to design a space for my bread to rise outdoors in the summer.
For vegetarian campers, could you suggest some vegetarian meals/recipes?
When I think of camp food, I think of what can be cooked in a single pot with packable ingredients. So I'd suggest soups or chilis. I also think that eggs travel surprisingly well, if you know your egg freshness and egg farmer. Egg breakfast or suppers are quick and nutritious, and lend themselves to easy adaptation.
What's one food you can't live without?
Chiles. I love all kinds of hot peppers, and I think my life would be very bland without them.
What are some camping dessert recipes you would recommend?
Again, I'd probably say something easily cooked in a single pot over a fire, like a fruit cobbler. With those eggs you packed earlier and some durable baking apples and a little flour you could be in business in short order. If full out baking isn't your thing, you could always make up a big batch of homemade granola before leaving civilization (a nice chocolate version could easily stand in for dessert!). It packs well and keeps a long time.
If you could learn how to cook any meal from any chef, what meal would you want to learn how to cook?
That's really a tough question! I think the most interesting food for me to eat out is Indian food. It's also probably the cuisine I know the least about. I would love to learn more about it, especially some of the many specialty flatbreads and chutneys their culture is famous for.
In 10 years do you see yourself still cooking and blogging?
With the rapid rate of change in the digital world, it's hard to say what 10 years will bring - but I certainly hope so. I love writing about food, and I think that cooking is a lifestyle choice for me. Since I am currently a stay at home mother, it's my sincere hope that I find my niche and make a living doing what I already love to do: cooking, baking, and taking care of my family.
Thanks Rebecca for the interview. Please visit her blog @ Cake Walk
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