Women's Lib: The Roaming Kitchen Talks Real Food
All food is not real, real good food.
Cristina Sciarra is a writer and cook, and she founded one of the most addicting food blogs yet: The Roaming Kitchen. The site is home to food photography, culinary yarns, and original recipes that celebrate seasonal, high-quality ingredients, and basically massive amounts of food porn.
Her blog embraces a nomad's life. Sciarra has had stints in rural Massachusetts, the Poconos, D.C., Madrid, Paris, Brooklyn, and now Jersey City. She earned an MFA in Fiction Writing from The New School, and learned to turn artichokes at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
The Roaming Kitchen was prized by Saveur Magazine's Best Food Blog Awards, named a 10 Best Food Blog by PBS, and a Best Travel Food Blog by 10 Best + USA Today. Sciarra's work has appeared in People Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Shape Magazine, Food52, Buzzfeed, and Life & Thyme.
She lives with her husband, a Frenchman she met in Spain, and their black cat, Bird, in Jersey City. And if you need a daily dose of insanely delicious-looking foods, follow her on Instagram @theroamingkitchen.
The Kind: Why did you start The Roaming Kitchen?
Cristina Sciarra: I started the food blog in June 2011, when I was one year out of culinary school and one year into grad school. I'd started developing my own recipes, and wanted a place to record and share them. It was a means to unite a love for cooking with a love for writing.
Now, I think of the blog as a living portfolio. I hope it proves helpful and/or entertaining to others interested in cooking their own food.
The Kind: Your food seems to reflect your life, or something special is happening there. Why is food and cooking so inspiring to you?
Cristina Sciarra: I'm not sure why. I didn't grow up in a food-loving family. I started cooking in college, and—you know that line from This Side of Paradise: "They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered." That's what it feels like with cooking. Julia Child said, “Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” That's what I did. When you love something, it's easy to throw yourself into it.
At this point, food is woven into the fabric of who I am, how I spend my time. It reflects my travels, my time spent in Spain and France, my French husband and his lovely family, and my current, Jersey City-based home, where I have access to a specific set of produce.
The Kind: Tell me about quality ingredients and the importance of "real" food.
Cristina Sciarra: It's everything! It's sort of my religion. The idea of putting un-real food into one's body doesn't compute for me. I take a lot of pleasure in sourcing and cooking real food, and meanwhile developing relationships with the makers of said food. Feeding others whole foods prepared with love tops my list—it's fun, and deeply satisfying.
The Kind: What are your favorite things to cook? And what are your favorite things to eat?
Cristina Sciarra: Ice cream. Bright winter salads. All the things on toast. Also, so many kinds of pasta. I like to cook what's new and seasonal at the market, or to incorporate specialty products that cross my path. Since I bought my first bottle of chili-spiced honey, it's found its way into most vinaigrettes, onto roast vegetables, mixed into butter, lacquered onto chicken or shrimp.
I like to eat all of that, but also: cheeseburgers. In my everyday life, lots of vegetables.
The Kind: If you weren’t cooking and writing about cooking, what would you be doing?
Cristina Sciarra: Well, I do still have to have a day job, and I work in real estate development. Currently, I'm working on marketing campaigns for two of our buildings. My first love is food, but my day job also involves a lot of organization and problem solving, which I really enjoy.
In a fairytale world, I'd spend my days traveling, shopping at the market, interior decorating/filling with plants a Brooklyn brownstone with space for a garden, a grill, and a little pool, eating in restaurants, reading and listening to books on tape, writing cookery books, and developing recipes.
Each week "Women's Lib" checks in with amazing ladies and we make them fill out a feminist Mad Lib.