Who doesn't appreciate a home cooked meal? Chelsea Castor, Southington Patch's own 'Cooking with Chelsea' food columnist encourages readers to take a chance and try it for yourself.
"Don't be afraid of food," Castor said. "While a finished meal may look complex, if you break it down into a step-by-step process, it's really quite simple."
Castor's column emanates from her personal blog 'Sprinkles of Parsley' which won Hartford Advocate's 'Best of Hartford Reader's Poll 2011' over notable competitors Colin McEnroe's To Wit blog and ctscenic.
"Winning 'best of' couldn't have surprised me more," Castor said.
Readers are required to go through a lengthy process when voting. Approximately twenty questions are asked and if they're not all answered the vote doesn't count.
"When I started blogging last July it was purely from a self interest perspective. I wanted to learn how to cook traditional dishes my family made. It seemed a good idea to write about the process to record what I learned. Blogging became a great tool to share the process and recipe with others," Castor said.
What makes Castor's blog special is that she doesn't just share a food punch list. The recipe is analogous to a roadmap and cooking is the journey. Castor invites readers along for the ride through reminiscence, and colorful mouth-watering photographs until the meal is finished. The only thing readers will want to do following a recipe is to pull up a chair and dig in.
Much like her cooking, Castor's formula for blogging is straightforward. The ideas for writing follow her food selections.
"What I like best about cooking is the variety of foods to choose from," she said. "I like having a well-balanced diet, but I also enjoy eating pizza. As a cook it's fun to mix the two and create a tasty and healthy pizza."
After graduating from typical college cuisine while studying English, Castor referred to the food pyramid as a gentle reminder of good food sources.
Castor says she listens to her body's cravings, or simply what she's in the mood for to dictate what to cook next and in turn, what to write about.
"I used to be a 'picky' eater, reluctant to try new foods. When Chelsea began to cook I saw what goes into a meal. I'm open to suggestions and enjoy the next newest recipe," said Parrish Castor, Chelsea's husband and perhaps her biggest fan.
Blog fans take notice too, often leaving feedback, "So yummy! Dad said it tasted like cinnamon buns," said Betty DaCruz for recipe.
In addition to her blog and column, Castor is working on creating a dish that incorporates watermelon for an upcoming August/September edition of Fine Cooking magazine.
While notoriety has been a treat, Castor said she's not done yet.
"Practice makes perfect. I'm happy to share what I've learned," she said. "For me it's all about encouraging others to try cooking. It's only by doing that you get over your fears and have lots to show for it. Enjoy!"
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