The Biggest Giveaway Yet!

**This giveaway has ended, and the three winners have been contacted! Congratulations to all who won and big thanks to all who shared your inspirations!***


I have met some of the most generous people and companies since starting this blog, and that’s never been more true than today, when two of them are donating prizes in this post, including a $100 gift certificate!

Let’s start with, whom you’ll remember from our recent giveaway of an immersion blender and a stock pot. It’s part of a larger chain of sites, which includes, a shop that has everything you could need for updating a bathroom vanity at home. And exceeding their generosity in the last post, this company is offering one lucky reader a $100 gift certificate to use as you please at ANY OF THEIR SITES! I know. Right? Amazing.

And that’s not all.

gourmet today

Vicki is a fellow writer I met in grad school at DePaul, and out of the goodness of her heart, she asked me if she could donate a copy of the Gourmet Today cookbook for one of you readers. Just so someone could enjoy it.

america's best BBQ cookbook

And it just got me thinking. Shoot, if everyone else is being so generous, I don’t see why I can’t be too. So there are a whole bunch of great cookbooks I’ve either been given or bought or had for a while, in mint condition, and I’m adding two to the list of prizes, so a third person can get both of them mailed to his or her door:

To make things super simple, there’s just one way to enter this time: answer the following question posed by Vicki, in 200 words or less, in a comment on this post.

Who inspires you to cook? And/or share a teachable moment in the kitchen.


  • The contest starts NOW and ends midnight CST, this coming Saturday, May 22. has ended!
  • The contest is only open to US residents.
  • The three winners will be selected via a random number generator and contacted via e-mail Sunday, with instructions for coordinating their prize. have been contacted!
  • No purchase is necessary.
  • I will choose the winners from the qualified participants. I am the sole judge of adding entries to the list. Plagiarized content, trackback from splogs, spams, non-goal oriented comments, and comments containing abusive or inappropriate languages will not be considered.
  • To award the prize, I must be able to contact you via the e-mail address you write from and/or provide. Your contact information will not be shared with anyone else (excepting, of course,, for the winner of that gift certificate; or Vicki, for the winner of her cookbook).
  • Winners must reply within 1 week from the time notified to claim prize. Otherwise, he or she forfeits the prize, and it will be awarded to an alternate.

Top Image Credit: stopnlook


  1. says

    My family inspires me. Without them, I would have 3 fewer reasons to be creative in the kitchen. My eldest is starting to be a real helper, which is super fun – growing beyond stirring the dry ingredients together with a whisk. Yay for cooking with kids! What else inspires me is cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities – to see if I can get something to taste great without (whatever). I found this a welcome challenge even before I found out about my own sensitivities.

  2. KT says

    My teachable moment in the kitchen occurred in the most cliche setting – a cooking class that I was taking as a Christmas gift. The instructor shared a statement from a former head chef he worked under, “Slow down, we’re in a hurry here.” It was the perfect antidote to the fact that I’m always rushing around, forgetting to add an ingredient or misreading tablespoons for teaspoons and ruining my snickerdoodles with too much cream of tartar (true story). I need a framed copy of those words for my kitchen!

  3. says

    Not sure if this is very 1950’s of me or not, but my boyfriend inspires me to cook, because he is a very talented cook himself and I like to challenge myself with new recipes or methods of cooking as a result!

  4. says

    well happy monday to you, too! i’d have to say a lot of people inspire me to cook…my parents, for starters, who taught me to embrace my roots and family through food; and bloggers like you, who are constantly inspiring me with new foods and new ways of cooking (teachable moment=roast chicken, hello!); and murdo, who loves food the way i do and whom i love to feed.

  5. says

    Everything inspires me to cook – the weather, memories, my mood, my family, friends who are picky eaters, beautiful raw ingredients, the community it creates… everything.

  6. says

    i grew up in the kitchens of my family — not as much as some people, but enough to develop and interest and knack at an early age. i also grew up watching julia child and martha stewart, who increased my desire to be in the kitchen and create delicious things.



  7. says

    I’d say my mom, my grandmothers, and my family inspire me to cook. I learned from a young age that good food is made at home, can be easy to make, and is made from fresh ingredients. It doesn’t have to be too time consuming or costly to get a good meal on the table, and my mom and grandmothers are wonderful examples of this. They fostered my love for good food, and gave me tools and resources to be a great cook. I’m also inspired by the communities I have been a part of–the group housing I lived in during college, etc. Good food enjoyed in community with others is one of my favorite things ever.

  8. says

    My mother. Growing up, eating healthy, homecooked meals was a normal, everyday thing. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized this was not true for everybody. She has inspired and taught me to feed my family the way she fed us – with love. I am sorry I took homecooked meals for granted while growing up but I appreciate them so much now!

  9. says

    I’m inspired by the farmer’s market–I find it hard to resist buying too much produce and then fantasizing all day about what I’ll make with it. Also inspired by beautiful cookbooks and a desire to eat fresher food…

  10. says

    Thanxx a ton lods for double the giveaways…so cute…

    A question that set me ticking is what inspires u to cook or whats ur inspiration to-is it my love for goan Portuguese cuisine as much as worldwide culture cuisine….
    yeah i love to read up more about im about to simmer in the pot when possible-ok so its my love for food is it?It cant end at that surely,i may not be an excellent or over the top cook ,but the passion runs in my viens-im proud to say that i inherited this lineage than any other inheritence,my great great grandparents on both sides ,as far as i know the family tree,were lovers of good food,be it their excellent cooking or relishing or what have u……..and it was meant to be that i got in pulled& attracted to the kitchen before any other & i love being there…the excitement of being a teen was over shadowed by the excitement when i won a few prizes 4 cooking way before being a teen-its another story that in the category i won the first place there was only a single participant-me & where i won 2nd were jut a few participants but point is that i won(i consoled myself)…and i was all grins……happy and gay….and still am with blogoshere and meeting fantastic foodies ,virtually-a humbling expierience i cherish & love!!!!
    As also i mus add, wonderful blogs like urs!!!

  11. says

    The people who inspire me to cook are the ones that I’m planning on feeding. Most days that would just be my husband and myself. But on other occasions I have the privilege of feeding my extended family, my church family (via the age old tradition of potlucks!), friends, new neighbors, etc. I enjoy thinking about their likes/dislikes & finding something that I can make that is flavorful, budget friendly, & healthy. Sometimes it feels like a riddle, but it’s always worth the effort to solve!
    Thanks for the fun giveaway!

  12. Laura says

    My need to experiment and create is what inspires me to cook. I have this never ending desire to be in the kitchen, feeling the food with my hands, stirring the pot and checking for seasonings. Sharing the food with the ones I love and finding new ways to make them smile. I love every aspect of it.

  13. says

    My family inspire me to cook, especially my grandmother, mom and dad. My dad was a cook in a restaurant, my grandmother and mom are the two best cooks I know (just wish they’d try new stuff!)
    My most memorable moment that is a good lesson for us all. If you are trying to cook cake batter and cheesecake batter on top of each other, they will sit nicely on one another just fine, but don’t bake it in a water bath. Yes your top cheesecake layer may crack (cover it w/ frosting!) but the bottom cake layer WILL NOT cook in a water bath!!!! My carrot cake chesecake was in the oven for 1 1/2 hours w/ the oven on, then sat cooling in the water bath or another 2 hours and after sitting out on the stove top for another 1 hour then in the fridge for another 2 hours, when I went to take the springform ring off… the cake bater oozed out and the perfectly set cheesecake on top smooshed it and I then spent an hour crying and cleaning the stove top.
    Lesson learned, either bake the layer separately or w/out a water bath.
    PS. that bathroom vanities site excites me! I think even if I don’t win, I will be buying the whole site for our tiny itsy-bitsy bathroom we’re remodeling!

  14. says

    Oh, definitely my mom. She’s the best cook I ever hope to know and I measure everything I make by her standard. She continually inspires me at everything – her resilience and strength and good humor as well as her good cooking.

  15. says

    My dad has always inspired me to cook. He has always been the cook in our house, whereas my mom has always done most of the baking. Growing up, all of my friends thought it was so cool that my dad cooked, because they’re dads didn’t. Before I moved out on my own, my dad helped me learn how to cook. I was pretty bad at first…I’m talking I messed up spaghetti and jarred pasta sauce. But he saved the day many times and we still had a delicious dinner! Since then, I’ve kept practicing and think I’m finally getting the hang of it!

  16. says

    Since my husband was diagnosed with celiac, that has been my major inspiration to cook. I wanted him to eat a healthy and tasty diet while I wanted to enjoy experimenting inthe cooking. Limitations work. I became a more creative cook and I had more fun and hubby eats well.

  17. Shannon says

    My mom inspires me to cook! Although her palate is not adventurous in any way, she was a Home Economics teacher for over 30 years and knows how to answer any emergency cooking question that comes up. I am confident to try anything because I know she can always get me out of any jam!

  18. says

    Who inspires you to cook?
    This is tough. I think I’d have to say I’m insipred to cook by my friends. I like to cook for people so, thats how i approach a mean – who am I cooking for, what does everyone like, how can i make food everyone will enjoy, etc. I’m especially inspired by my friend Laura Beth – she loves to cook and we talk food all the time and give each other hints and tips.
    And/or share a teachable moment in the kitchen:
    I tried to get my 7 year old niece to help me bake a cake, as much as she enjoyed the first 10 minutes…after she was about 15 minutes in, she checked out. Gotta come up with games!

  19. Barb Harper says

    Wow, thanks! What a fun giveaway. My original cooking inspiration is my mother, who religiously made wonderful and legendary meals (my brother’s friends always raved) for my family to sit down to. She inspires me with her tireless consistency–breakfast, lunch and dinner COVERED pretty much daily, her ability to make it mostly healthy and mostly real, but always delicious. I never really cooked much as a teen, but once I left the house, her example fueled my interest in cooking.

    The teachable moment that comes to mind was fairly accidental but will stay with me for years. Our storage freezer in the basement was left a crack open before we left on a trip. We came home to a freezer coated with a blanket of frosty junk and half-thawed food. Bummer. Some vanilla ice cream in the door containing high-fructose corn syrup and other unmentionables separated in a strange way. The carton contained frothy junk with little holes throughout, and the corn syrup mess dripped out on the lower shelves–a gooey, sticky mess which eventually became hard as a rock. The experience of cleaning up this mess made me a believer in avoiding corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup as much as possible. There is no way that stuff belongs in my children! It’s shocking how prevalent it is.

  20. Christopher says

    The food itself inspires me. I love to try new things and to open up to the world through the foods they eat. I’m always interested in regional tastes and staples, especially if they are related to my heritage somehow. I did a trip to Tanzania and got to take part in some of their food rituals (like sharing a rack of goat ribs amongst the group as a sign of unity, after we saw the goat slaughtered…). I’ve always loved food and the story behind it; did the preperation come from the need to preserve food like in lutefisk? Is it designed as a festival food like in the Passover meal. The history you can learn is amazing!

  21. says

    It sounds super cliche, but my mom and dad inspire me in the kitchen. Awww :) I grew up with them teaching me that cooking is not a chore, but a hobby. It’s meant to be fun and enjoyable and something that can be done together out of love. My time in the kitchen with them has given me some of my VERY best memories :)

  22. says

    Sunny weather inspires me to cook! I walk to the farmers market and pick up amazing produce and just want to go home and cook it all up. Fresh veggies in my fridge makes dream up meals left and right.

  23. says

    My oldest Sister, Mother and homeschooler of 6 children!!! I don’t know how she finds time to prepare such beatuiful and healthy feasts for her family every night (we’re talking main dish, several sides, bread and salad) but she does. Not only that, but she’s constantly branching out into all kinds of ethnic cusine. She’s mastered Indian, Meditteranian, Persian and other Middle Eastern standards. She’s truly amazing, and I never leave her house without a pile of recipes she’s compiled for me.

  24. Sarah C says

    Thanks for another great giveaway – my inspiration and teachable moment go together =) My inspiration is my creative love of “playing” with my food – but my teachable moment is learning to leave well enough alone, on occasion!

    Have a great day!

  25. Lisa says

    What inspires me is to see people’s enjoyment. When people eat my food and then love it, it make me want to cook more and try to impress them more and please them. I love to make people happy with my creations.
    My teachable moment would be learning to relax. Sometimes recipes go awry and mistakes happen. But it’s not the end of the world, it’s how we learn. Take risks!

  26. Jennifer H. says

    My 2 year old, Norah is my inspiration these days! I’m on a mission to cook and bake from scratch with wholesome ingredients so that her sweet little body doesn’t have to deal with nasty chemical additives, preservatives and artificial colors. I want her to know and love what real veggies taste like, as opposed to the yucky, mushy, canned variety I grew up eating! Hopefully, she’ll grow up with a much healthier relationship with food than I did and maybe she’ll even end up loving to cook as much as I do!

  27. says

    My inspiration now is enjoying new flavors and loving to try new things! Now that I’m married, i really enjoy making things that my husband has never tried (he knows SO much more about food now than he ever did and he gets excited about it). I am inspired to make other people happy through food: friends and family! And I’m inspired by the farmers market! I just want to take whats naturally perfect and beautiful and enjoy the wonder natural food’s God has given us!

    I learned a lesson recently: You canNOT make green tea ice cream with green tea. it taste herby and just like drinking green tea but not good…probably the last person who discovered the need for matcha powder!

  28. kristen says

    What a great giveaway! I would have to say my mom was the first one that inspired me to cook and bake. Growing up dinners were always homemade and eaten at the dinner table together as a family. She’s always the first one I call when I have a question about a recipe. Of course secondly Food bloggers are a great inspiration to me especially as far as baking goes. I would have to say at least the last 20 recipes I have made have all been from food blogs!

  29. Liz says

    The broad impact of food consumption inspires me to cook. Food is social, political, cultural, and economy-related. Cooking my own meals has been better for my health, my social relationships, my wallet, and the environment. I also love sharing homecooked food with my friends because it’s a rarity in our circle to cook so much from scratch.

  30. says

    I am inspired to cook by free time, fresh ingredients (or a trip to the grocery store/farmer’s market), and food bloggers. Blogs like yours inspire me to reach a bit higher in the kitchen, to try new recipes, and to venture just a bit further outside my box of everyday recipes. Now I just have to work on that “free time” part!

  31. Nora says

    My mom certainly inspires me! She has taught me how to cook great meals for a family with different needs and tastes while having a full time job. amazing!

  32. says

    My Gramma, Mom & Dad always inspired me to cook. Gramma taught me how to take out my frustrations on bread dough. Mom taught me how to throw anything and everything in the pantry together to come up with an edible, and delicious, meal. Dad reveled in and shared his enthusiasm about all things food and would often call me up to tell me about a new recipe I should try! My love of cooking today is fueled by the joy in feeding my family, watching faces light up and smiles stretch out while satisfying that special place in their souls :)

  33. says

    I have always been cooking, because my family has always made a point of having meals together and trying new things. I have continued to cook, and have found further inspiration for cooking, because of my interest in how food is acquired and how integral diet is to life. (It also makes my boyfriend smile, and I like that.)

    The inspiration to cook is very much tied in with cooking being a creative outlet for me. I am inspired to continue cooking because I am always inspired by new recipes, new books, fresh vegetables, colors, tastes, and whatever else I encounter.

    But being constantly inspired to cook means that sometimes things don’t always go as planned. One of the best lessons I think the kitchen has taught me, and continues to teach me, is to not sweat it. To look on the bright side and know that tomorrow you will have another shot. To know that just because something doesn’t work the first time doesn’t mean you should give up, it means you just need to tweak a few things and try again. It has taught me to not be afraid of my own potential for creativity and to embrace it, in the kitchen and in all areas of life, because it is who I am and I will be happier and more at ease with my creativity if I allow it to flow and develop.

  34. Irene says

    As cheesy as it sounds, I always get inspired to cook by movies. I love movies that showcase just how much love and community and friendship is found in the sharing of food. Every time I see a movie like that, it makes me want to run out and start cooking up a feast!

  35. says

    Wow who inspires me to cook? It has to be a mix of my mom and grandma. They are SO good in the kitchen and really taught me to be creative and that really, anyone can do it.

  36. Sarah says

    My mom inspired me to cook. Not because she is an awesome cook, but because she is a godawful cook and I learned at a young age if I want to eat delicious meals then I better learn how to make it myself. At age 12 I started learning and cooking off of television shows, and by age 14 I was doing Thanksgiving dinner all by myself with the whole family in attendance. I still love every minute of it.

  37. says

    Definitely my mom. She was always was, and still is, tinkering with new recipes. I love to bounce cooking ideas and techniques around with her. Also my grandma. She taught me to never bring over a store bought dessert to a dinner party, because if anyone exclaimed how good it was, you want to be able to take the credit!

  38. Emily says

    Both my grandmothers sparked the love of cooking in me. I was always amazed at how they could make amazing meals out of what seemed like an empty pantry.
    Now I love the challenge of doing the same thing….making a nourishing, delicious meal for my family out of what seems like nothing.
    Friends also inspire me. So many of my friends are great cooks too. I love learning from them and sharing recipes and new ideas.

  39. Brittany says

    My mom has always been a big inspiration of cooking, because we have so many special memories cooking and creating food together. During the holidays, cooking becomes “our” thing. Sure, it’s stressful at times, but it brings us together and allows us to be united in the joy of bringing people joy in the food they are eating.

  40. Liz Gerstung says

    My desire to make the best food possible for my family inspires me. I am always trying to find ways to make recipes dairy-free because we have a child with a severe allergy to all things milk! I also want to make wholesome, delicious, preservative-free food that I KNOW is good for my family. It brings me great pleasure knowing that I am doing the best I can for the ones I love.

  41. LB says

    Having had a difficult, unbalanced relationship with food for many years, I’m inspired to cook so that my partner and I can both eat healthy, balanced meals. I’ve learned how much better we both feel when we eat this way; that in and of itself is an inspiration!

  42. says

    While I could certainly say my mom or my grandma, my sister really inspires me to cook. She’s an intuitive, natural cook (which I am not) always whipping up three-course dinners for herself and her boyfriend. It amazes me. I’m a natural baker, always following recipes and Rachael can look in her fridge and figure out a feast from what lies before her. She’s cool like that.

  43. says

    Like many others, my parents inspire me to cook. Some of my favorite memories from my childhood revolve around food: coming home after school for fresh banana bread or warm chocolate chip cookies, or sitting for hours with my brothers and parents around the dinner table in front of a home cooked meal. I learned that food brings people together, and that cooking for someone else is a gift…a wonderful (and delicious) expression of love.

  44. says

    I love this question, because while it seems simple, the answer is richly complex. My inspiration comes from my creator, from the bounty the earth provides, and from all the cooks before me and aside me.

    I marvel at the beauty and sweetness of a summer tomato or an autumn apple. I recently saw a strawberry, watermelon salad flavored with fresh basil, and I was immediately inspired to go to my garden and pick herbs and find unusual ways to use them.

    The food blogging world is a big part of the “people” inspiration. My last post was inspired by one of your posts, “the easiest cake ever” which you had seen on another blog. I love to follow that inspiration trail and be a part of the creative process.

    My recipes or food viewpoint is inspired by the love of good, whole food, good health and the value of eating together. Cooking and eating with others is a love language for me, and I’m inspired by the desire to be with friends and family. I also see food as the perfect gift to bring to people when they need comfort, and sometimes a “situation” is the inspiration.

    Cooking is my most profound creative outlet that affords me the opportunity to appreciate what I have in love and who I love.

  45. Alyse says

    My loving family is my inspiration. That, and great food blogs & cookbooks!
    Oh, yes, & my own hunger for great food.

  46. says

    wow, i could echo just about everyone here. my mom inspired me to create delicious, healthy, international food – which she learned from HER mom. in turn, our 7yo daughter is often in the kitchen with me. inspiring me with her creative spirit and joy!

  47. says

    What inspires me or who inspires me? Each day I am inspired to cook or bake by so many things: the weather, a craving, a picture I’ve seen, stress, sadness, happiness and joy. Cooking and baking are an expression of love, a way to share as well as the best way to relieve stress and take me away from pain, sadness and the world’s problems. It is sensual, therapeutic and a way to give of myself.

    I have been inspired over the years mostly by two very important men in my life, my older brother and my husband, both passionate cooks and eaters, both men who put their whole minds and bodies into the food they create.

  48. says

    My kids. It wasn’t until they came into my life that I started to become interested in really getting down and dirty and preparing a healthy meal. I am in charge of what goes in to their little bodies and I want it to be the BEST….and tastey too!

  49. Elisabeth says

    Who inspires me? The people that I am cooking for. I find a great deal of satisfaction in preparing a meal for people that expresses how much I want to please them and treat them as though they are special. As usual, it is my amazing parents who inspire me. My mom for her practical approach to making healthy meals and keeping the kitchen neat as she prepares her meals, and my dad for his passion to tweak recipes to make them perfection and for his passion to give people a delightful experience through eating his wonderful and beautiful dishes.

    Thanks you for helping to remind me, Shanna, for how thankful I should be for the inspiring people God has placed in my life!

  50. says

    In so many ways, the internet inspires me to cook. There’s this constant stream of creativity coming from food blogs, it is so inspiring.

  51. Emily Berg says

    It’s always the greatest surprise and joy to walk into the kitchen and see my cousins playing around with food. Or when they walk in to join me making bread or dinner. These kids are fearless and worry-free, and it’s these traits that I seek to emulate in my kitchen endeavors.

  52. Heidi says

    My husband inspires me! He tends to be a “snobby” eater, but it has inspired me to always be on the lookout for new yummy foods to try! It’s a good thing I came into our marriage already loving to bake and cook!

  53. says

    As my life situation changes, so too does my cooking inspiration. First, it was my parents–the mom who made amazing after-school snacks (homemade hot fudge, brownies) and the dad who rebelled from completely following a recipe. Next, it was a roommate who made ultra-personalized birthday cakes for all our friends. Now, it’s a boyfriend who’s learning his way around the kitchen but can still make a mean no-knead bread!

  54. Rebecca says

    My mom inspired me to start cooking. She taught me fractions before they were taught in elementary school, as we made cookies, playdough, and holiday treats together.

  55. Kelli says

    Family. Tradition. Togetherness. There is nothing more fun or intimate than cooking with and for friends and family. Nothing makes me happier than watching family and friends enjoy a meal I have fixed especially for them. Mentally filing away each person’s favorite side dish, favorite desert, or favorite casserole is something I do automatically and fix when I know they are going to be around or when it is a special day for that person. It gives me so much joy to be able to share that little something with those that I love.

  56. says

    What a nice giveaway, Shanna!

    My inspirations to cook: marriage, pregnancy and little mouths to feed. I didn’t have much of an interest in cooking until I was responsible for getting food on the table every day. Then, pregnancy drove me to explore better quality food – constant hunger inspires much creativity 😉 Then, as my first child started eating solid food, I truly thought about everything that came in my kitchen in a new way. What IS that ingredient? Why should there be ____ in the yogurt/ketchup/hot dog….? Can I make that myself?

    And in the mix, I have realized that I love the process itself. As the saying goes, necessity was my “mother of invention”.

  57. says

    Who inspires me to cook? Life, as a whole, inspires. I turn to baking when I’m stressed out or need to think. I very much enjoy preparing food or meals for friends and loved ones, because I was raised in a family where you show your love by feeding people. A good majority of the time, my Mister inspires, because he gets hungry at shorter intervals than I do and I love to prepare food for him. And then, sometimes the pantry inspires; you open the door and go “Hmm, artichoke hearts…”

  58. megan says

    I love good food, so that’s what inspires me to cook. Pretty simple :-)

  59. Sharon says

    What inspires me to cook is the fact that my family expects it! And I do enjoy it, most of the time. When I’m in a rut, I can regain my enthusiasm for cooking by watching cooking shows on television (My favorites are America’s Test Kitchen and Everyday Italian.) and reading food and cooking blogs–like yours!

  60. says

    Truthfully, I wasn’t very inspired to cook until I got married and had to out of necessity. I have learned over the years to enjoy it. I find I don’t enjoy it when I am in a rush or have to quickly after a long day of work. But when I have time and plan ahead of time, I really love it. I have gone through phases of inspiration, but presently “Food Loves Writing” is my inspiration. And I honestly don’t say that to kiss up. (I mean it’s all random anyways 😉 But really, it’s so helpful for me to see you try new things- hear the good the bad, and see all of the pictures of the process. Very inspiring! Thanks 😉

  61. Dayna says

    I’m lucky to have lots of good cooks in my life. My mom and grandma taught me what I know about baking. My friends have taught me that dinner can be delicious, fun, and stress free. I cooked a meal for myself tonight just to prove it.

  62. says

    What fun! This is my first blog-giveaway. I’m loving reading the entries. TASTE, beauty & smell inspire me. My mom was the chef in our family growing up. My sister and I cooked one night a week (heavily supervised) and my dad attempted a meal as well (usually microwaveable or disaster-proof). My teachable moment was creating my first gourmet meal: it took hours! I am, and always will be, in awe of my mom. Today, living on my own, not every meal is home-cooked and I still love going home to my mom’s. But I am getting improving. I enjoy cooking for the simple pleasure of creating something beautiful, healthful and delicious…and then sharing it with friends and anyone else I can corner to try my latest creation.

  63. says

    My mother. When we were kids we had a home-made meal every night and a brown bag lunch everyday. At the time, of course, I thought it was normal. Now that I’m an adult I don’t take her hard work for grated.

  64. says

    For me cooking is the language of the hone. Growing up in an Italian family it was a means of expression and communication with those you love. Whether you were saying, “congrats” with a special meal or “feel better”, even “I’m angry at you” (aka make your own dinner). It was part of communicating. Even now I use cooking for my husband the same way.

  65. says

    My first inspiration in the kitchen was my mother. When I was a kid, I’d just watch her cook everything from creole to chinese. She used to make character cakes for birthdays. She was just this amazing force in the kitchen. She does not cook as much as she used to, but we can still taste the love in her dishes. My biggest inspiration these days is my kids. I know that if I make something they enjoy, request or ask about, I’ve shared a good thing with them.

  66. Connie says

    My great grandmother inspires me to cook. When I was a little girl we used to travel a few hours to the city to visit with her. She made the most incredible food. You just knew whatever she was serving was the BEST that you had ever had. When I got older I learned a little more; she came from France when she was just 19 and she had a little restaurant in San Francisco called the Tri-Color. People used to line up around the street on nights that she served liver and onions – if she could make that taste good, imagine her other cuisine. She was not classically trained- she just believed in good fresh ingredients put together with love and respect. And that’s what I try to do when I cook for my family and friends. I am forever thinking about how she would have done it and always trying to create the BEST something that anyone has ever tasted.

  67. kk says

    My friend Michelle inspires me to cook more. She is an effortless hostess and an adventurous cook every night of the week, even after a long day at work.

  68. says

    My mother inspires me. Putting food on the table never looked/looks like work and it’s never just thrown on a plate — always plated and looking like thought and care has been put into a meal. I always keep that in mind and I’m cooking for just me 99% of the time.

  69. says

    A question that set me ticking is what inspires u to cook or whats ur inspiration to-is it my love for goan Portuguese cuisine as much as worldwide culture cuisine….yeah i love to read up more about im about to simmer in the pot when possible-ok so its my love for food is it?It cant end at that surely,i may not be an excellent or over the top cook ,but the passion runs in my viens-im proud to say that i inherited this lineage than any other inheritence,my great great grandparents on both sides ,as far as i know the family tree,were lovers of good food,be it their excellent cooking or relishing or what have u……..and it was meant to be that i got in pulled& attracted to the kitchen before any other & i love being there…the excitement of being a teen was over shadowed by the excitement when i won a few prizes 4 cooking way before being a teen-its another story that in the category i won the first place there was only a single participant-me & where i won 2nd were jut a few participants but point is that i won(i consoled myself)…and i was all grins……happy and gay….and still am with blogoshere and meeting fantastic foodies ,virtually-a humbling expierience i cherish & love!!!!As also i mus add, wonderful blogs like urs!!!

  70. says

    I’m continually inspired by blogs and food from around the world. How people create recipes from local ingredients, some I’ve yet to try just makes me want to do more and try more, and never eat the same thing twice (except my homemade macaroni and cheese of course).

    My husband also inspires me. When I set out to lose weight he introduced me to cooking for health, for fuel and it’s just taken off ever since. I love cooking for him and continually looking for new ways to keep us both happy AND healthy.

  71. Kristen says

    Trying new things inspires me to cook. I love trying new things, and seeing if they work out. I guess you could also say the opposite of that is true as well – cooking something that I love, that is a family favorite makes me want to cook it for my family! When my kids ask what we are having, and I tell them – and they say “oh yum!” that’s inspiring!

  72. says

    My grandma inspires me to cook. I didn’t know her too well in her cooking prime because she had Alzheimer’s for much of my childhood, but I love hearing stories of her amazing baked goods from my parents, and there are a few that I do remember (especially her Springerles and blueberry buckle! I also remember being very young and getting cooking instructions from her: stir in one direction only or everything will unmix! :)

  73. Michelle L. says

    What inspires me to cook? Sometimes I think everything does.

    My mom used to call me the pickiest eater on the planet. Nothing was a meal without meat. Vegetables were bitter and icky and to be avoided, with the exception of potatoes, corn, and maybe some cauliflower. Fruit was okay but vaguely undesirable. Mushrooms were chewy and slimy and weird. Nuts were right out. Fish was too fishy. All carbs must be ultra-refined and highly-processed. Etc. Etc.

    But somehow through cooking, through experimentation, I came to love every kind of food. (Well, almost.) I can hardly turn around without finding a new recipe I want to try, a new flavor combination to experiment with. I find I want to try everything, savor everything, experience everything.

    Alas, I still set off the smoke detector sometimes while making stir-frys.

  74. says

    Since I started my baking blog, and began attending culinary school, I have been regularly inspired by fellow bakers. Many of my ideas are conceived via beautiful foods I see in other blogs. The late writer Laurie Colwin said, “No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.” I believe this is completely true. It’s certainly true for me. Your blog is one of many that inspires me.

  75. Caroline Bull says

    Food inspires me to cook! One look at ripe tomatoes makes me want to whip up my mom’s tomato-basil tart. Have photographs of delicious looking meals on your blog? I’ll invite 8 friends over and cook up a storm. Sometimes Bon Appetit’s spreads can send me into a full-tilt baking frenzy that I cannot control. I copy, expound upon, make something new and different. Then, I thrust it all upon friends near and far.

  76. Randi says

    My grandpa inspires me to cook. He used to own his own little homestyle-cooking restaurant when I was a little girl. I always wanted to be just like him. He always used to let me help him make the chocolate pies (he served the BEST pie!). However, when he was diagnosed with diabetes and had a stroke, he had to sell the restaurant. Now I want to keep up the family legacy of good cooking, but do so in a healthier way. Hopefully a way that will keep me from developing the health issues that he now has (diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease). And someday, my chef fiancee and I will pass that on to our own children!

  77. Wendi P says

    Avoiding starving my children inspires me to cook. I am a mediocre cook at best but am able to get a meal on the table breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  78. Alicia says

    I inspired myself to start cooking. It really was no external force that made that happen for me. When I went away to college, I had to learn to cook for myself, and while I watched roommate after roommate order pizzas or cook up a pot of macaroni and cheese, I decided to take this opportunity to eat healthy and make salads and sandwiches. After college, I came home to a house where my mom ate at work everyday and I had lots more time to cook meals. In that time, I was also diagnosed with a digestive disease that forces me to take more consideration of what I’m putting in my body. All of this together has inspired me to cook and enjoy food to its fullest when I am able to.

  79. says

    My husband inspires me to cook. He encourages creativity in all things, he eats EVERYTHING, and he knows how much I enjoy time in the kitchen dreaming up meals.
    My mom taught me to cook, and it’s a connection I will always have with her–something she planted in me so long ago which continues to bloom and flourish in new ways all of the time.
    Cooking tip? Cold-brewed coffee is my current obsession: add grounds to a french press, fill with water, put it in the fridge overnight. Press in the morning. Combine one cup of coffee with a half cup of water and ice. SO GOOD. I guess that’s not really cooking…is it?

  80. Clutie~girl says

    My mother inspired me to cook! She was a fantastic cook! She even came home one day and announced she’d bought a little family restaurant from a sweet old couple who were ready to retire and had no family to take over the business. She/we all worked hard to grow that little family restaurant into quite a local success. It was a great 27 year run!! She is now retired!