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Welcome – It (Re)Starts With Bobby Flay

tony's cakeI’ve been cooking all my life. In my grandparents house if you were a girl that’s what you did. I’d always try to sneak and go watch football, or basketball, or anything else my uncles and brother were doing, but nope; snapping green beans, peeling potatoes, and busting suds at the end was my duty. I hated it. I never liked the idea that I had to do something simply because of my gender. Yes, my uncles had to take out the trash, but there were three of them! Taking out the trash amongst three dudes takes five minutes per week. To be honest, my mother never liked cooking much either. Yes, we had to be fed, but it wasn’t a thing that she enjoyed.

Once I left home for college I ate out all of the time. My first job out of college was so chaotic that I didn’t think about cooking then either. I grabbed food in between running tapes down the hallway to hit the air. It wasn’t until I finally had cable that I found people who looked at food as art rather than just utility.

I don’t remember when I first saw Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America, but I wanted to learn to cook like THAT! That kind of cooking seemed fun. That kind of cooking was about gaining expertise and entertaining friends. That kind of cooking I could get with. Okay, but I still didn’t cook much. It looked too complicated and difficult. I started to watch more Food Network. Before the network was taken over by competitions, it used to, you know, show people cooking food. I would see Nigella Lawson cooking in her silky bathrobe on TV, and her food looked delicious. Alton Brown’s is my favorite nerd gone wild. Newer editions like Sunny Anderson cooked like my grandmother. And these cooks made food that looked like things I could do. I needed to practice, but the ingredients were stuff I could buy at the Harris Teeter and didn’t have to have flown in from France.

I started to get obsessed with the art of food. The more I learned about Flay’s story. How he dropped out of high school and began working on a line as the salad guy – for years. Made me admire his determination and grit. He jumped on the Food Network before it was a thing to jump on. Sure he sometimes comes off like an arrogant New Yorker, and maybe he is, I’ve never met him. (If one of y’all knows him then please make this happen.) Nonetheless, with some elbow grease he created an empire of food. And boy is his food good! Like not tv good, but really good. In dining at his restaurant in NYC, Bar Americain, I spent a good chunk of change, but it was worth the treat and splurge. His recipes online are also really darn easy to follow and thus impress your friends.

Who knew that this brash, celebrity chef from New York could inspire me to go back to my own roots and connect? I’m thankful now that although I hated cooking as a kid, that I still had my old recipe file box my grandmother gave me, her cookbook, and some of her recipes. I’ve since learned a few things about fancy pots and pans, but my roots are still Southern, since my grandmother was from Texas, Western, since I grew up in California, and now even East Coast health┬áconscious, as I’ve adapted my cooking to accommodate my vegetarian and vegan friends.

The name of the blog comes from the home where I grew up. I still have family that lives there. At 3154 Kelly Street multiple generations of family sometimes lives. We played with cousins who lived up the street. My grandmother sometimes made food for over 30 people in one oven, on one range in a regular ol’ non-chefs kitchen. We never all fit. We still all ate. Everyone. Including neighbors and church folks, which is really only the grace of God because we didn’t have much. It’s where my grandparents spent the bulk of their 50 year marriage. Where my mother and her siblings grew up. It was a home. And even though Bobby Flay restarted my interest in domesticity, 3154 Kelly is the real root of who I am and what I know.

The blog itself is a space for me to continue explore my kitchen art, but also other domestic fun as well. I’m currently learning to sew again – another skill my mother tried in vain to teach me. Sometimes I bake and will include those stories as well. On occasion there may just be a reference to someone else’s blog or book that seems domestically interesting. My aim is just to have fun exploring my interests and hopefully help someone else find their own Bobby Flay.

All the best,