Hello! My name is Alison and I hail from the lovely Queen City aka Charlotte, North Carolina.
I originally moved here in 1998, but unfortunately a job transfer took me away for almost 6 years. I’ve recently settled back here and am thoroughly enjoying playing “catch up” on all the things that I’ve missed while I was away. I spent many years working in Corporate America and eventually grew tired of spending my days at the cubicle farm, so one day I marched into my boss’ office and turned in my resignation. Amidst the shock of my friends and family, I worked on building my own personal chef business, cooking in people’s homes on a set schedule. The business eventually grew into a full-fledge catering business complete with a commercial kitchen and retail operation of selling pre-packaged gourmet/specialty foods as well as creations from my own kitchen. I recently sold the business, allowing it to grow under someone else’s guidance beyond my hopes and dreams, and I focus on baking and cooking strictly for pleasure now. I also do freelance food-related writing for several websites.
How long have you been a Daring Baker/Daring Cook and what’s your favorite thing about being in the group(s) so far?
I joined the Daring Bakers in March 2009 and I love the fact that each challenge brings out my creativity (something that I struggle with) and willingness to try new things ~ things I never even knew that I WANTED to try. I’m guilty of forming an opinion on the level of difficulty as soon as I see the challenge posted each month but every single time I’ve been proven wrong because I don’t know as much as I thought I did or else I re-learn something that I had forgotten.
Do you have a favorite movie? Book? Genre of music?
It usually comes as a surprise that I love 80’s hair bands and good ole’ hard rock/heavy metal. My iPod is loaded with this particular genre of music as well as some groovy disco hits from the 70’s. If there were ever a single concert featuring Ozzy, AC/DC, Motley Crue, Kiss, and the love of my life Eric Clapton, I would SOOOOO be right in the front row!
You’ve just won $5000.00!!! But it comes with some stipulations.. you can’t spend it on your kids or your significant other! This is all YOURS. What would you spend it on? (we’re also going to fantasize that you have no bills whatsoever! Woo!! Hehee)
My new-found fortune would be split equally between Sur la Table and my favorite lingerie store, Victoria’s Secret. I’ll spare you the details of hearing about how I prance around in my kitchen in my silky pajamas! LOL
What is the ultimate comfort food to you?
When my world starts tilting on its axis, nothing sets it right again like a batch of No-Bake Cookies. It’s been a long-time favorite for several generations in my family and I am no exception to the rule. I make them and stand over the stove eating the warm concoction straight out of the pot ~ they never even make it to the cookie sheet! When I finish, the world is right once again.
Other than cooking and/or baking.. what hobbies do you enjoy?
When I’m not slaving over a hot stove, you can usually find me cavorting around town in my shiny new convertible, or digging in the dirt in my back yard, or possibly putting down 10 miles at the track on my rollerblades. If you’ve looked and can’t find me in any of those places, chances are I’ve hopped a plane and decided to fly the friendly skies to some unknown destination.
What’s your favorite flower and/or plant?
I am hugely sentimental about all of my house plants ~ they’re like children to me but my all-time favorite flower is the Star Gazer lily. I love the intoxicating smell and the huge fuchsia colored blooms. I recently bought 3 of them to plant in my yard this year.
How long have you been blogging? Do you like it? What’s your favorite post you’ve written?
I’ve been blogging for about 3 years now. I started blogging as a way to give myself something to be accountable for during a time in my life where I was facing some serious decisions and didn’t know which way to turn. My photos were horrible and my writing was equally as bad. I’m not saying I’m all that great now, but I have taken a beginner photography class to try and improve my photos (now if I could just cough up the money for a new camera!) and I get much more enjoyment out of my writing now that the turmoil has been settled and I think it shows. Pinpointing a favorite post is hard for me because I put a lot of thought into each one and try to relate the subject to what is going on in my life at that particular time. It’s a very personal thing for me.
Who taught you how to cook and/or bake?
Growing up, I had very positive influences in the kitchen in the form of my mother, my maternal grandmother and both of my great-grandmothers. Cooking and baking is something that I enjoyed early on and have continuously tried to cultivate throughout my life.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
It’s a toss-up between Easter and Christmas. Easter always brings forth memories of my maternal great-grandmother. We would spend Good Friday decorating eggs and then the whole family would gather on Easter Sunday and devour her made-from-scratch potato salad. I love the holiday parties at Christmas and I love the days and days spent baking sweets, candies, and party foods for my friends and family.