The First Course Of Me

This is a new experiment for me. I’m a creative nonfiction writer who loves to cook and take amateur Instagram photos of the food I make, and by no means am I a professional, but writing about food has always been something I’ve gravitated towards. There are definitely a number of essays in my memoir-in-progress that revolve around food, and one of my New Year’s resolutions was to just write, as much and as often as I could. And what better way to start a new year than with an updated journal app (because, as a writer, it’s not like I get tired of writing about myself) and a more confident mindset to just pull up my big girl pants and do what I’ve always envied other bloggers doing. So, here we go!

The Real Cooking Maggie: Chicago

Some things you should know about me that I may drop into the recipes/restaurants I’ll be eating my way through this year.

1) I am originally from Mariemont, Ohio, but moved to Hong Kong when I was ten (my dad works in the toy industry, and China does happen to be toy factory central). I lived there for eight years full-time, and then four more years part-time while I was in college back in Ohio. I will likely mention Hong Kong every other entry, and its not to drill in the fact that I lived in one of the most cultural melting pot cities of the world as a global nomad, but because Hong Kong, specifically a small district called SoHo, or food nation central, was where food became more than just food. It diversified my palate in ways I never could have done in Ohio–you want Jamaican, no problem, and right next door you can try Himalayan, and next door to that Mexican, and next to that Mediterranean, and next to that American fusion, and so on, and so on–and the food I ate and experienced became the vessel of all my fondest memories.
2) I am currently living in Chicago, where my main man is a native, and fell in love with its sounds, its street beats, its food, its culture, its lake (mostly the lake and my man, but there are other things here I certainly appreciate and enjoy, otherwise I wouldn’t still be here five years later).


3) I have the most adorable Cardigan Welsh Corgi in the whole wide world. His name is Lord Tuggerton of all Chicagoland, but we call him Tuggs for short. He’s my cooking companion when I’m in the kitchen, so you’ll likely see a lot of him as well. He’s also a very non-picky eater and likes to try a lot of what I prepare that might happen to spill onto the floor (of course, keeping in mind what’s good and bad for him in terms of spices and ingredients! Worry not dog lovers, I’m incredibly OCD and cautious about my fur-child. Helicopter mom much? Um, yes.)

4) You may hear about my man, Frankie, a lot, but won’t really see him. See, he’s not very culinary inclined, and as a rule of thumb, doesn’t make many appearances in my domain, which is probably for the better since any time I ask him to cut something for me, it’s always preceded by an “HI-YA!” Uniform knife cuts mean nothing to this man, so instead, he comes, smells, waters at the mouth for a moment, adores me, and leaves, which is honestly how I like it.

And finally, 5) I have an unhealthy obsession with Food Network, Food52, and Pintrest…but it makes for good eating, so we don’t complain about the grocery bills too much.

These are the most important things to know right now, and of course more will be revealed as we go, but I’ve never done this before, so go easy on me. I’m sure after a few times, I’ll figure it out. The point is not only to just share some of my favorite recipes throughout the year, but to also look back and recommend some of my favorite eateries for anyone coming to our fair city (I say our because I’m officially an Illinois resident!) and will list some of my favorite dishes for your own hopeful enjoyment!

Until next time food lovers!

Cooking Maggie out!

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