My name is Sarah and I’m a
24 25 26-year-old Fargo, ND native. I grew up in the city (yes, Fargo is a city, though not a metropolis), but being from North Dakota, I’ve got strong ties to the country. I love the prairie and being outside (as long as I’m dressed for the weather) and I also really love food.
I didn’t grow up in the country, but my mother’s parents both grew up on little farms in central ND and I’ve visited the old family farmsteads and heard all the family tales of how good household management saved my grandparents’ huge families (11 and 12 kids, respectively) from starvation, and decades-old gossip on how poor management broke and nearly broke farms in the area. I’ve also grown up going to country weddings and funerals filled with “church lady” food, going to big family holidays filled with Scandinavian and American traditional foods.
I also didn’t grow up with a ton of money, but thanks to my mom, we were always well-fed. Until a few years ago, I was an indifferent eater. As a teen I hated most vegetables and had a serious sweet tooth. College buffet-style eating was boring, unhealthy, and the constant desserts were extremely dangerous. Thankfully, I’ve never been afraid to experiment and get creative in the kitchen and try new things. And then, I started working for an upscale pastry shop/coffee house in hip downtown. My taste for sweets completely changed and my taste in food refined and simplified. My sensitive Midwestern palate still can’t handle much spice, but milder forms of Mexican and Asian foods, once my least favorite, are now among my most favorite. Just don’t ask me to eat shellfish or goat cheese, because I’m (thankfully) allergic.
I love unpretentious food best and as a historian (with a strong interest in culinary history) old-school country food fascinates me. Also as a serious fan of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, I completely agree with his worldview that rural people all over the planet have the best food because they have to make inexpensive, widely available food (mostly local and seasonal) taste good. This is my goal. I’m an amateur cook, but I hope a fearless and creative one. I like shortcuts, but not at the expense of quality and taste and sometimes, all I really want to do is bake a cake or bread from scratch. Food is work, and I’m fully aware of this. Good food is either hard work or good management. The best is a combination of both.
I consider myself a sustainable food advocate (and maybe even… gasp!… activist), but I’m not an organic-nazi and I’m a strong proponent of local, seasonal food, particularly that grown in your own back yard or local community garden.
As a historian, I’m also a fan of other old-school things like: ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s fashion, historic style furniture, old houses of all eras (pre-1950), and vintage music. I
currently used to play violin and sing harmony in an all-girl folk/bluegrass/old-time band called Amanda Standalone and the Pastry Shop Girls (guess where we all met?). I miss them like crazy. In June I’m moving to upstate New York for (hopefully) graduate school in Public History at SUNY Albany, and also to be closer to my boyfriend/soul mate, whom I unapologetically met by happenstance on Facebook. I’ve been in New York state for about over a year now and I’ve fallen in love with it. And yes, I’m still in love with the boy. I’m not quite as gushy now as I was once, but it’s still a deep and abiding love. We do everything together and even after a year of living together and spending as much time as we can manage together, I never get sick of him. Can’t wait to get well and truly settled. I’m still getting my Master’s, but I’m learning much more by working in the museum field than I am in school.
I have a few addictions: collecting cute fabric (which I may or may not someday do things with), classy cheap shoes, what hot rollers to do my hair, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, blue transferware, classic stemware & barware, vintage cookbooks, vintage kitchen linens, throwing cocktail-and-hors-d’oeuvre parties, house hunting even when I don’t need to move, and trying weird new fruits & veggies. Thrift stores, used book stores, and antique stores are very dangerous for me, especially when they abound with bargains.
Some longterm goals include: Living in the country, doing culinary history and getting paid for it, keeping a kitchen garden, learning to can, learning to sew cute clothes, and keeping a really beautiful, unpretentious, comfortable house.
This blog is somewhat about food. But it’s also about my love of history, the respect I have for the domestic arts, the land, and the idea that all people should have access to fresh, simple, beautiful food. If you agree, I hope you’ll enjoy it.