Cooking Superstar

Life As A Strawberry

Cook along with Jessie from Life As A Strawberry

Jessie Johnson
Portland, OR and Galesburg, IL
Special Events Coordinator for my Alma Mater (Although I'm starting my Master's in August!)

When did you first get in to cooking and do you remember the first recipe you tried?

My grandma made wedding cakes and my mom is a caterer, so I guess it's in my blood. I very clearly remember making pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies and homemade pizza with my mom when I was little, but I think my very first food memory is when my grandma let me help her decorate my 3rd birthday cake - it was shaped like Big Bird!

What's your kitchen like and how do you keep organized when cooking?

I'm a recent college grad with no money about to be a grad student with no money, so my kitchen is pretty basic. My mom and boyfriend have gifted me a lot of great things, and I bargain shop for appliances like my ice cream maker whenever I can. I don't have a lot of space, so I keep things stacked in plastic or glass containers to make it look more organized. The best thing you can do to have an organized kitchen, though, is to clean as you go.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to become a better cook?

Read as many cookbooks as you can, ask friends with great dishes to teach you their recipes, and fearlessly try new foods. My boyfriend and I tried a pork bone marrow marinara sauce in Chicago recently; a few years ago, the idea of eating bone marrow would have totally freaked me out, but it was actually one of the best dishes I've ever eaten. If you develop an adventurous palate, you'll be more likely to try cooking new and unusual ingredients in your own kitchen.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you cook for them?

Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle, Julia Child, and some friends from the blogging world. I'd make a giant pot of spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. Nothing fancy - the best food is the stuff you share with great company, and I'd want to spend my time talking food with everyone rather than prepping in the kitchen!

Do you do any other crafts and what are your hobbies?

I'm a part-time graphic designer and I also love scrapbooking.

Which cooking blogs do you love to read?

Jessie Johnson
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What's your favorite...

TV Show
N'Sync will always be tearin' up my heart.
Portland, Oregon
Say Anything
Cook Book
I'm currently obsessed with Absolutely Avocados by Gaby Dalkin.
Tomatoes, Basil, Mozzarella. Preferably all together in a big bowl.
Kitchen Gadget
I love my Kitchenaid stand mixer.