My name is Karen and my life is carnivorous and fabulous. I’m a former pastry chef and I love butter, steak, salt, traveling, and things that are funny or ridiculous, among many other things. I started this site because people often ask me for recipes and travel tips and I wanted to have a place to put them. I mostly write about my favorite recipes, and share photos, travel tales, secret chef tips, and more.

I like to know what people look like because then I can picture them while I read what they write, so here is a picture of me teaching my son to be carnivorous (and hopefully fabulous.)  I may or may not have used Photoshop to make myself appear tanner than in real life. But I’m actually not very good at Photoshop so this is pretty much what I look like.

I am kind of all over the place with my interests, which may explain why you can find me writing about traveling with kids and other general mom/parenting topics at Rookie Moms, and about neuroscience and brain healthy foods at the BrainHQ blog.

Are you wondering if we would get along?

My basic cooking philosophy broken down into bullet points:

  • If you cook something and it looks or tastes different than you expected, rename it. If it’s ugly, preface it with words like “rustic” or “country-style.” Like, if you make a horribly misshapen tart, call it a rustic tart and there you go, problem solved. (This is a Julia Child trick.)
  • Don’t be intimidated by people who are “professionally trained” in cooking. Sometimes those people are bad cooks, while non-trained people are amazing cooks.
  • If it doesn’t taste good, it probably needs more salt or more fat or more of both.
  • If you make something great, bask in it- you don’t have to be shy about how talented you are.
  • If you make something not-so-great, admit it readily but not in a way that makes it seem like you’re fishing for compliments.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things. If you make something and it doesn’t turn out very well… who cares? That’s the great thing about food- it’s completely ephemeral. It’s not like a painting or a sculpture that will endure throughout history. Whether it’s a beautiful and delicious work of art, or a complete trainwreck on a plate- it will either in your belly or in the trash within a few minutes.

As to travel, I like going places and knowing about places. Friends and family constantly call me looking for what restaurant or hotel or place to go to because I like to know things like that. If you have a question about that I would be happy to try and answer it for you! I still have friends in New York, where I haven’t lived in many years, who call me to ask me which subway to take somewhere, or where there’s a public restroom near where they are.

My basic travel philosophy broken down into bullet points:

  • On a trip, plan to do one thing every day, not more than that, and do it. If you do extra things they’re just gravy. (I learned this from my husband.)
  • Don’t be afraid, but don’t be naive.
  • Try everything once. (OK, almost everything.)
  • Take a lot of pictures but only share the best ones.
  • Off the beaten path is usually more fun than on… but then again, the beaten path got beaten down for a reason, so don’t write it off.
  • Everyone knows you’re a tourist. It’s OK. Don’t be shy about pulling out the map and the guide book and asking strangers for directions. You’re not fooling them anyway.
  • If you’re going somewhere they don’t speak English, try to learn how to say the numbers 1-10, hello, goodbye, and thank you, plus about 5 additional important words or phrases. These will vary depending on where you go. For example if you’re going somewhere that they like to bargain you will need to learn how to say things like “are you kidding?” and “no way!” and “get outta here!”.
  • Anywhere you go in the world can be fun and interesting if you have the right attitude.

Why Off the (Meat) Hook? 

Meat + awesomeness. Back me up, Urban Dictionary.