Hi! I’m Mila and I am the Girl and the Kitchen…Mostly just the girl…not really the kitchen.
I am, after all, not a stove.
All I can remember from my childhood is that I hated food and refused to eat… I was born in Russia – well technically I was born in Moldova a republic of the previous USSR (it’s a real country, I swear, right in between Romania and Ukraine) – where good food and vodka were the staples of any great party. Both my mother and grandmother were wonderful cooks. I can still remember standing next to my mother as a little girl, watching her cook all the Russian classics.
Once we emigrated to America, my family quickly and willingly broke away from their former “Communist” cuisine and suddenly new foods had found their way into our kitchen. On high holidays, my aunt made brisket with roasted potatoes and matzo ball soup…and just like that I discovered the wonderful warmth of Jewish soul food. What could be better than a plate full of tender brisket and roasted aromatic veggies and potatoes? I remember those butterflies in my stomach as I anticipated each holiday dinner…some feel them when they fall in love…I felt them when I heard the word “brisket”…
I was the only 10-year old I knew that hurried home after school to watch “World Chef’s”. While other kids were sitting on their couches in front of the tv in a chocolate chip cookie induced trance, I would cuddle up next to my mom on our couch and watch the amazing delights that the World Chef’s would prepare. Although my mom never made most of the things she saw them prepare, it was nice for both of us to escape into their kitchens for just a little bit of time. My mother was the reason that my soul craves simple, homemade food when I’m down or sick. Food always tasted better from her hands and made me feel whole. My friends and I still recall her simple turkey breast sandwich; one piece of fresh bread, smothered in cream cheese layered with smoked Butterball turkey and 2 slices of tomato to finish it off. The simple pleasure and tastes in life sometimes truly are what you need.
My mom’s wish for me was to go to culinary school so that we can one day fulfill our dream: to open up a deli or cafe somewhere and call it our own. Knowing that my heart would not be fulfilled without cooking, I went ahead and attended one of the top 3 culinary schools in the nation. Sadly, my mother lost her battle to cancer before she was able to see me go to culinary school. But I know she sees me from above and my cooking and love for food I owe to her…and in a way this blog is dedicated to her…I only hope that I can inspire other women with this blog the way my mother inspired me…
This my dear friends, is actually my blog take 3. My original blog was here and my very first post was on November 13th 2008, almost 5 years ago. It served me well for a few years. I had followers, comments, all the good stuff!
But then I decided to get all fancy and open up my own biz and this beauty was born. Event planning was fun! I was allowed to have my imagination run wild and create whimsical, fairy tale weddings with exuberant budgets all over Chicagoland and abroad. I designed lavish corporate events with intricate centerpieces and detailed menus for some of the top ranking companies in the world. Suddenly, I was busy every weekend, never having a minute to spare. I went to new and exciting places, living out what I thought was my ultimate dream, but my heart was else where. Very quickly I burned out and suddenly it stopped being fun and very quickly it became evident that the “heart” from my life was missing.
And so, I slowed down and did some soul searching to figure out what I really wanted…I went to the nitty gritty of things and started thinking back to my roots… And realized that food is my passion. Other than my hubby, it’s what makes me all warm and gooey inside. It’s what drives me.
Today, I have finally found my happy home in life. I keep myself busy teaching cooking classes and private catering functions every weekend. I have a passion for food and I think everyone can learn to cook, even the clumsiest of housewives. One of my clients even called me the “Chefamedics, the first aid to every housewife”. I write for a few publications (can be found on my press page) and even had a cover story done all about yours truly that you can read here. I am blessed that I actually have loyal readers who are interested in reading about my shenanigans and adventures in life and the kitchen. I am married to an awesome man who is basically the male version of me. He challenges me, infuriates me (he also hates it when I use the word infuriate-ha!), encourages me, supports me, critiques me and most importantly always makes me laugh. Not to mention he gladly takes anything from a spoon, even when I follow it up with “Here, taste this, tell me if it’s bad.” We had a gorgeous little girl named Charlie in December of 2012. She lights up my life with her laughter and cherry eyes. And fortunately for me, already quite the eater.
So welcome to my blog. Here you will find recipes taken from all walks of life, anecdotes from my past and stories from my present.
I am always open and available to answer all of your questions! Feel free to email me : mila at girl and the kitchen dot com.