Carol’s Baking Adventures is a culinary blog for the home baker, a journal that chronicles my baking and cooking adventures as an expatriate Argentine living in the land of ten thousand lakes: Minnesota!
The inspiration for this blog started when one weekday after leaving work, I found myself feeling so homesick for the language, culture, and food I had grown up with that I really wanted to eat a dinner of delicious, golden-baked empanadas. That afternoon, I searched for Latin American restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul that sold empanadas, and after much searching I stumbled upon a Peruvian restaurant in Uptown. Unfortunately, after excitedly driving all the way there, I found to my dismay that the restaurant had closed months earlier. I looked at the closed restaurant, biting my bottom lip thoughtfully as I realized: if I wanted the flavors I grew up with, I would have to learn how to cook those recipes myself.
And just like that, my culinary journey began! And it has been such a fun, creative journey!
As an expatriate living in a different culture, re-creating the flavors of home is a fun and relaxing way for me to find that feeling of “home” and a way to keep a connection with culture, family history and tradition alive. If you’ve ever studied abroad and felt homesick, lived overseas in a distant country, or even moved from one region of your country to another, most likely you will be able to relate to that moment when the enticing scents wafting from the kitchen are not only mouth-watering, but also have the magical ability to help you feel relaxed and instantly at home no matter where you are. It is this magical alchemy, brought about by combining the simplest of ingredients into simple, everyday dishes, that is at the heart of my love of cooking, baking, and blogging.
A few of the recipes you will find here are: Argentine recipes I grew up with updated with a twist; re-created family heirloom recipes from the old-world passed down verbally by the women in my family hailing from Denmark, Germany and Spain; Asian-American recipes that reflect my husband’s Chinese heritage; and recipes inspired by the flavors and traditions of my new home here in Minnesota, most notably Scandinavian and American Midwestern flavors. For me, cooking is truly an act of magic, where I find extraordinary beauty in the simplest, most ordinary task of the day, and I forget about everything else. From cakes to cookies, to breads, to empanadas and other dishes, the recipes in this blog come from a passionate love for food, local ingredients, baking, and sharing with others.
Through this culinary journey, I discovered that food is central to celebrations, gatherings, festivities, and how you mark life’s bright occasions, from a wedding to a birthday to a religious holiday. Whenever there is a special occasion, there is always a special dish or dessert to celebrate it! And whenever people want to share part of their family traditions, food invariably shows up, connecting them to their roots. That is why with each recipe on the blog, I also share a story about my journey of adapting from the Argentine Pampas to the Midwestern American Prairie. Sometimes the stories are about the history of a recipe or ingredient. Sometimes the stories are personal. Sometimes they are just anecdotes about my life at present highlighting my adventures in the Twin Cities and the land of 10,000 lakes. In each of these, I hope that my passion and love for food comes across in the recipes, and that it inspires you to see cooking as a journey that will take you from one place in the world to another, just as it took me on this wild adventure from the Argentine Pampas to the Minnesotan Prairie.