Lori Lange developed an interest in cooking at a young age, which is probably why her passion for the kitchen seems almost palpable on RecipeGirl.com. Her website features over 2,600 culinary creations, running the gamut from rustic suppers and stews to refreshing cocktails and delectable desserts.
Nowadays, she's gearing up for the release of "The Recipe Girl Cookbook," a collection of almost 200 mouthwatering dishes, containing her brand-new recipes along with a few of her all-time favorites for good measure. Best of all, she's divided her book easy-to-reference chapters such as Hungry Mornings (with several hearty breakfast ideas), Happy Hour (full of fun apps and cocktails) and Dinner at 6 (simple meals the whole family will love), to name just a few. She even throws in her valuable time-saving tips and advice for stocking the pantry.
So where does she come up with stuff? Well, we recently had the chance to ask Lori all about it, and she dished on her inspiration, her favorite foods, and her method for satisfying picky eaters.
Tell us a bit about your latest cookbook.
LL: In "The Recipe Girl Cookbook," I hope to show home cooks and food lovers that cooking and entertaining doesn't have to be time-consuming or intimidating. Getting your family into the kitchen with you and involving them in the process of creating a meal can be a valuable, fun experience for all. I share recipes for all meals of the day as well as 20 easy themed-menus for entertaining.
So where did you find your inspiration for these recipes?
About 150 of the 195 recipes in the book are brand-new, created especially for the cookbook (the rest are all-time favorites from the RecipeGirl.com website). Inspiration for recipes comes from everywhere … new products, websites, magazines, cookbooks, and crazy ideas that pop into my head on my morning runs.
What made you first decide to devote your life to food?
It wasn't really a decision I intended to make. I quit my job as an elementary school teacher to stay home and raise my young son. I started my recipe website as a hobby during that stay-at-home time, and found that I really loved the creative process of working with food. It grew from there into the business that I have today!
Is your son passionate about food, too?
My son has always been in the kitchen with me, watching, stirring and sampling food. He loves seeing what he's able to create. And I think he enjoys that we have a special something that we can do together.
What’s your approach to cooking for kids or picky eaters?
I think it's valuable for kids to be part of the process of choosing ingredients that are selected for a meal — both at the farmer's market and the grocery store. If they have a part in both the decision-making and the preparation of the food, they're more likely to try new things.
What’s your best advice to wannabe cooks, who maybe might be intimidated by the kitchen?
Cooking and entertaining doesn't have to be intimidating or difficult. Cooking doesn't have to be fancy or time-consuming. Start with easy recipes that have a short list of ingredients and go from there.
If there was one dish you couldn’t live without, what would it be?
I can't live without Italian food, specifically spaghetti and meatballs.
Do you ever take a break from cooking, and order take-out? And if so, what’s your guilty pleasure?
Definitely fish tacos!