Here we are! Alex, Nero, me, and Rogue

Yum = used to express pleasurable satisfaction especially in the taste of food (first use “yum-yum” 1878) (Webster online dictionary)

About the Blog
Many a foray into the kitchen begins because of a simple, three-letter word: yum. Think about it. You’re at a party and the host is serving something delicious; “YUM, can I have your recipe?” Or you’re flipping through the television stations and catch someone on a cooking show putting the finishing touches on a luscious dessert; “YUM, I’ll have to try that some day.” Or you’re sitting in a restaurant with the steam from your entrée tickling your nose, mouth nearly watering as your lift your fork for the first bite; “YUM, this is the best thing I’ve ever eaten.” Or you pop a berry into your mouth while shopping and think, “YUM, I could eat these all day.”

Whatever it may be that elicits this exclamation from your own mouth/stomach, it is my hope that you will find something useful, interesting, entertaining, or inspiring in the midst of this journey—something that makes you say “yum.” And while I cannot promise that avid readership will enable the smells of my kitchen to waft into your own, I hope that it will inspire you to try, to learn, and to join me on this culinary adventure. Bon appétit!

About the Blogger
“You have to love either what you are going to eat, or the person you are cooking for. […]Cuisine is an act of love.” ~Alain Chapel, Chef (1937-1990)

My name is Jessalyn. I am not a chef. I have not been to culinary school. Admittedly, I have no formal training. I just. love. food.

I was blessed to grow up in a house where my mom cooked dinner almost every night, and the family ate together at the table (working around athletic practices, music lessons, and homework). Though she never really gave me any direct cooking instruction, I learned by watching, smelling, and tasting.

My third year in college I took a Culinary Arts personal enrichment class. I paid about $70 for a 5-session course in which I learned some basic knife skills and the conceptual side of cooking: what’s a soup, how to grill, and where chocolate and I finally began our relationship. Basically, I fell in love with the concept of cooking. Admittedly, I started watching a lot of Food Network. I failed at executing a few recipes. But I also learned a lot. I started collecting money from my friends to buy groceries to prepare a meal for them. I also started reading cookbooks and recipes–whatever I could find in my mom’s pantry, at discount library sales, in bookstores, at friends’ houses, and online.

After an evening cooking class in Lyon, France, and after a visit to Portland, Oregon, I started paying attention to not just the taste of my food, but its background–its terroir, if you will. I like to call this “food justice.” I became fascinated with food cultures, farming, organics, and the health and environmental impacts that accompany those things. I’m fortunate to live in central Virginia where we not only have a richly diverse range of agricultural products, but also an extremely active local foods community.

Somehow, with a lot of practice, and a lot of reading, I picked up some technique. I started paying attention to flavor combinations. I experimented with plating and the aesthetic side to eating a meal. I memorized culinary terms. I cooked…a lot (I’m fortunate to have someone special to cook for: my loving husband, Alex). And as I cooked and baked and sautéed and roasted and grilled and chopped, I started photographing. These photographs became an album on my Facebook page. And then the comments started rolling in. Friends, family, and acquaintances asked for recipes, wished they could smell via social media, and good-naturedly asked when my cooking show would go on the air. They said yum.

Send an email to Jessalyn at itstartedwithyum[at]gmail{dot}com or complete the contact form below.

Save the Drama for yo’ Mama
1. Clear Intentions: The thoughts and opinions I share on It Started with Yum are my own and are not meant to reflect those of my employer or anyone else.

2. Say Cheese, Please: Unless otherwise cited, the photos included here of my kitchen, food, or anything else are my own. Please email me if you are interested in using them for any purpose.

3. Recipe-Sharing, Part 1: According to current U.S. Copyright law, a mere listing of ingredients does not constitute material that can be copyrighted, nor are the directions for combining selected ingredients intellectual property. While cookbooks are treated as copyrighted literary works, the individual recipes are not protected by copyright (read more at FL-122). Therefore when I share a recipe for purposes of instruction, it is within fair-use guidelines. I will always give credit where credit is due by listing the source of and recipe I use preceded by the words “adapted from.” I also aim to insert my own language in the text of the recipe instructions or directions.

4. Recipe-Sharing, Part 2: According to U.S. Copyright law, you therefore may publish any of the recipes found on It Started with Yum (original or not) in whatever capacity you see fit. Food was meant to be shared. Out of that old-fashioned thing called etiquette, however, I ask that you link back to me or give me credit for the text you might use (e.g., “adapted from Jessalyn at www.itstartedwithyum.com”).

5. Commentary: I love when readers leave comments. Feel free to share your thoughts with me. But please keep it family-friendly and spam-free. I reserve the right to modify any comments deemed inappropriate for this blog and its perceived audiences. When you leave a comment, it is held for approval which is why it may take a little while for it to show up on a post.

6. Shout outs: To date, the books, cooking tools, or brands of ingredients I use are not intended to be promotions. No one is paying me to write reviews. Any books, cooking tools, or ingredient brands that show up in photos or in a post are purely of my own accord; it’s just me blabbing because I like it. No bribes involved.

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