Hi, I’m Andrea! Growing up in an Italian family, I never had to worry about going hungry. Everywhere I turned there was a nonna, a nonno, a zia, a zio, a mom or a dad somewhere somehow trying to feed me (even though I swore I wasn’t hungry). So, other than on the special occasions, where I would get the amazing pleasure of helping keep on with the family traditions – making fresh tomato sauce, making pasta from scratch or, my all time favorite, the mouth-watering sausages, sopressatas and salamis, I never really needed to learn how to cook as a youngin’. My mom would always tease me about not even knowing how to boil a pot of water and I’d just laugh and say, I didn’t need to know so long as we continued to ‘eat like kings’ (a saying we would say at our dinner table a lot and something I’ve since kept with me – eating like a king, that is).
I started gaining an interest in fitness and health – this is still going back to when I lived with my parents – and I was slowly beginning to realize that wow, maybe the food we’re putting into our bodies actually does make a difference…maybe the whole ‘apple a day’ thing is actually on to something? I started cooking for myself what I thought was “healthy” back then and I’ll be the first to admit that I really wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed when it came to deciding what made something healthy. I used to think that just because something said ‘whole wheat’ or ‘light’ that it must be healthy. And surely, because most granola bars advertise being made with some sort of nut or fruit, then they all must fit the bill, right?! Subway sandwich has a grilled chicken option? Bingo. Boy, did I have a lot to learn.
Once I said goodbye to the delicious home cooked meals I was spoiled with all my life and ventured out into the glorious world of living alone, cooking kinda just became my thang. It never felt like a chore and was always something I enjoyed doing. I really started paying attention to the ingredients going into the food I ate and quite frankly, as I got older, became less interested in eating blatant crap. The snowball rolled on and I started losing my interest in eating out (sure, every now and then, but if I can make it better at home for half of the cost, then…..?!) Meal planning became one of my favorite hobbies – I was constantly challenging myself (without even realizing it) to start making everything from scratch. I would see that a recipe called for teriyaki sauce, for example, and wondered if I could make it myself since most of the store-bought versions I came across had ingredients I didn’t even know existed. Once I did and realized how easy it actually is and that I get to control exactly what I’m eating right down to what goes in the sauces, it was game over from there – there was nothing I wouldn’t try making at home.
Fast forward to now. There’s only a handful of recipes I can say I’ve made more than once. I’m allllllways looking to cook up something new. And I can do it while jamming out to my favorite tunes on repeat sippin’ my fav glass of wine? And the award is a delicious tasting home cooked healthy meal? Annnnnnd I can possibly, potentially, hopefully, maybe one day make a biz-nass outta it?! Count me in, fo-eva, eva.
And so, just like that, Hip Hip Gourmet was born. Not new to cooking but definitely new to the technical side of it. I’m excited to bring Hip Hip Gourmet to life by sharing, experimenting, tasting, enjoying, creating, learning and devouring the gourmet side of life. I hope you came hungry!