Imagine the tons of manuscripts publishers get all the time from budding authors. How in the world do you catch the eye of a one~~one who’ll really read your creative genius, your work of labor, your baby, so to speak? If you’re this bubbly gal, you find a compelling quote…one that speaks to the soul of the publisher! “When you can do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” ~George Washington Carver. For Melissa of the well-known and popular website ‘ChinDeep’ it’s worked…hello, tea queen!
Alright, Miss Melissa, tell me , what have you done in the last few years that has changed your life? I know that’s a big question!
In the last few years I’ve become a professional photographer, an avenue I never expected to walk down! It started with the desire to include really beautiful photos of food on my blog. My husband is a professional photographer and used to take all of the photos for my posts. As you can imagine, this arrangement got old, and he started to show me the basics. He gave me a camera, and the rest is history. I was hooked! This past summer I was commissioned to do a photo shoot for a national magazine! I LOVE photography and can hardly remember what life was like before I had a camera in my hand. My camera bag is my purse!It feels like a natural extension of me.
What’s something on your bucket list?
I want to go to Europe. Specifically Italy. I haven’t gotten the chance to go yet, but i feel drawn to the place. I’d like to try living there for a year and soak in the culture. My grandma Pavek (Favilla) is a “real” Italian lady, and I’m sure that’s part of the reason for my desire to go. Whenever I see a photo of the Tuscan countryside my heart says “HOME.”
My love of food and cooking started when I had a family of my own to cook for. I started out as most young wives do…with a limited budget and very little cooking experience. There were more than a couple embarassing incidents when I did things like burn simple boxed macaroni and cheese dinner, and left the plastic covering on a ham the whole time it cooked! Even with these mistakes and the smoke alarms blaring, I kept at it determined to be a “good cook.” Twenty years later, Voila!
How do you get inspired to cook new dishes/recipes? Where does the maestro go for inspiration?
Blogs, magazines, beautiful ingredients at the farmers market, cooking with produce that’s in season. One of my favorite things to do for fun is to make lists of a few simple ingredients that I think would make stunning food combinations.
Who are the people that you’ve learned from along this cooking journey?
I’m mostly a self-taught cook. Lots of trial and error and studying Julia Child cookbooks, word for word. I did learn to make some very specific dishes and delicacies at the tearooms where I was employed…quiche, scones, bread pudding, and soups are some of my specialties as a result of this training.
Every cook has their ‘have to’ ingredients…what are 3 that I’d always find in your kitchen?
Freshly ground pepper, lemons and garlic!
I’m thinking, Melissa, your three have-to ingredients are in this fabulous dish you’re sharing with us! ‘Linguine Clams’