This is a very special occasion. This is the first in what promises to be a long list of talented home cook, food blogger and industry expert interviews. Claudia Davis has graciously taken time out of her busy day to give us a peek inside of what gives her so much joy – her cooking.
As you’ll discover below, Claudia is a native of Romania who has dedicated a good portion of her life to family, friends, love and cooking for others. After reading the responses to my interview questions, it was difficult for me to feel as though we haven’t known each other for a very long time. Claudia has an infectious personality that truly shines through in her writing.
Not only is Claudia an inspirational home cook, she’s also an amateur photographer. She takes all her own photos and uses them on her website to help describe her creations. By viewing her images and from reading through some comments on her site, I can see that she’s good at what she does.
To learn more about Claudia or to browse her site to find your next recipe, please visit “Claudia’s Home Cooking.”
1. Can you please tell our readers a bit about yourself?
I am a wife and the mother of two beautiful kids while working a full time job as an engineer for a major oil and gas operator. I like to draw satisfaction and fulfillment from small, simple things while I am passionate and I enjoy life in all of its aspects. I love to travel the world and learn about new cultures, people, places and their history and cooking is one of my passions. One of my favorite songs is “That’s Amore” by Dean Martin written by Jack Brooks. Remember the tune? Try to hum it with me: “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore…”
2. Where do you call home?
If I told you I was born and raised in Dracula’s country, what country would that be? Yes, you guessed right, that is Romania, a beautiful eastern European country. Dracula’s castle is 50 just miles away from the village I was born in. I am married with a handsome American whom I have met in my native country while he was an expat living there and we were both working for the same engineering company. We got married and lived there for two years before we relocated to the US in March 2003. I call home the small village of Romania where I was born with its green hills and forests and I call home Houston, the modern and sophisticated city which adopted me and where I live for 13 years.
3. When did you first realize that you had a love for cooking and how long have you been involved with writing about your experiences on your website?
I realized my love for cooking in my early childhood. One of my oldest memories is my mother cooking in the small kitchen of our little farm house using all fresh vegetables from our garden, dairy products from our cow, eggs from our hens and meat from our chicken. I used to watch her cooking and when she would get busy taking care of the household chores I would cook and serve dinner to my family. What a joy when they would praise me for the tasteful food I was cooking! I started this site a few years ago fueled by the desire to have all of my keeper recipes in one place.
4. How did you go about learning to cook? Are you self taught or formally taught? Where have you found the majority of information you use today?
I am just a self taught cook, striving to learn, experience and discover new things every day. I do a lot of online research, discuss with friends and share experiences with them, yet I consider myself an amateur in this great endeavor, there is so much to learn out there!
5. What is your favorite part of being a practicing home cook?
Cooking something new every weekend or whenever I have more time on hand, experimenting new tastes and combinations. The world of cooking is so vast and eating is a great pleasure!
6. What do you think is the most challenging aspect of what you do in the kitchen?
Having the right ingredients in the kitchen when impetuously craving to cook a specific dish.
7. From reading through your website, I see that you have some serious experience as a photographer. How would you compare actual food preparation for family and friends to writing about and photographing food preparation? Which brings you more joy?
Thank you for complimenting my food photography, I am only a self taught amateur photographer. I take my serving into my little photo tent and while I restlessly take photos my family cries for me to come and join them at the dinner table. For me it’s equally rewarding to cook, take photos, write and share my cooking adventure, cannot separate them, they are part of a whole passion that brings me joy, excitement and fulfillment.
8. Have you found that readers appreciate your perspective on the recipes you share on your website? Has sharing them been personally rewarding?
Yes, sharing recipes with the world has been very rewarding so far, even I did not put any effort in advertising or publicizing it. My family members, close American friends and co-workers often refer to my site when wanting to cook something special or just a Romanian dish.
9. What sparked the idea that you could create a following by writing about what you do in the kitchen?
Marrying a man from a different country with a different culinary culture, it took some learning of American cooking. Coming to the US was a totally life changing experience adjusting to a new food culture. I needed to learn not only the Imperial System but to learn how to also cook the American way, adjust my cooking to the local ingredients. Wanting to have my recipes in one place was the biggest driver of my cooking site.
10. To date, which of your recipes has been the most popular?
The site has a “Popular Recipe”, the most popular recipe is by far “Romanian Mici” which are the most popular Romanian outdoor grill. “Mici” are caseless sausages, made of ground beef meat mixed with spices, garlic, and beef broth. They are served with mustard, fries and/or country bread next to a cold beer. Yummy!
11. What’s your favorite area of the culinary world?
I love culinary education and would like to help educating families and children to re-learn the value and benefits of home cooking. Sadly, most of American families lost the habit of home cooking and instead choose to eat unhealthy fast foods or costly restaurant foods. I think we can do a lot in this area!
12. What’s your primary motivation to stay cooking and writing?
Cooking brings the enjoyment and gratification of tasting and the appreciation of my beloved. Combining unexpected ingredients to bring the taste to a new, unparalleled level is one of my most delicious endeavors. While I am an amateur in both cooking and photography, those activities fill my time with pleasure and excitement and I am happy to share their elation on my cooking site.
13. What advice could you offer someone who is inexperienced and would like to take a step towards the kitchen?
Don’t be shy to start cooking your own food to satisfy you and your beloved ones taste buds! It can be one of the most rewarding experiences and it may last you for a life time!
14. Do you regularly visit any websites that focus on the culinary arts? If so, which ones?
I have my favorite chefs and bloggers and I often get inspired by them. I always indicate the source of my recipes and sometimes I modify the original recipe to suit my liking. Gordon Ramsay, Ellie Krieger and James Martin are amongst my favorite chefs while “12 Tomatoes“, “Joy of Baking” and “Retete ca la Mama” are a few my favorite culinary sites.
15. Are there any areas of the culinary universe that you’d still like to get involved with, or perhaps write about?
I have a challenging culinary project where I am planning to cook at least one of the most popular recipes of each country in the world. I recognize there is going to be a challenge with ingredients selection but I will try to select those recipes where ingredients are locally available. I will ask my friends help with famous recipes around the world where their origins may be or they may have travelled. I am excited and looking forward to this project.
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