Just two years ago, when petroleum engineering senior Allison Boyle thought of what would be on the menu for dinner that night, processed foods such as macaroni and cheese or ramen noodles came to mind.
But as the 2011 new year approached, Boyle decided to make a change. She made a resolution to start cooking a new meal every week and blog about it. Thus, her food blog, The Best of Thymes, was born.
“I always ate good food growing up, and I realized I could be eating that way now,” Boyle said. “I’m by no means an Iron Chef now, but cooking has become natural to me.”
Starting a blog that was open to public meant that Boyle had to keep up with her resolution, or else her friends and readers would notice she was slacking off. Now, Boyle cooks more than once a week and is constantly on the search for new recipes to try. She accredits food blogs and Pinterest as her main recipe sources.
Boyle has found that not only is cooking at home a lot cheaper than eating out, it is also a lot of fun. Though she did not cook much before the blog, she has found that most recipes are not too difficult to conquer.
Though there have been a few recipe disasters along the way (a recent attempt at baking brownies went all wrong when the pan shifted), Boyle chooses only to feature her successful dishes. Some of her favorites include banana nut waffles, chocolate chip zucchini bread, herb garden green beans and roasted cauliflower and aged white cheddar soup.
And of course, Boyle shares her creations with friends and family. Boyle’s friend and fellow petroleum engineering senior Cara Blais is more than happy to taste test for Boyle.
“Allison cooks only delicious things. It is dangerous to be friends with her because of all the treats she feeds me,” Blais said. “I once ate about 10 of her lemon ricotta cookies in one minute. Just thinking about those things makes me drool.”
Food blogging is not as easy as it sounds. Aside from actually cooking, Boyle has had to learn how to photograph the food. The point-and-shoot camera she used when the blog was initially created was not going to cut it, so Boyle upgraded to a more professional camera. According to Boyle, the camera does most of the work, but finding good light has proven difficult.
After graduation, Boyle is moving to California for work. She hopes that there she will solve her lighting problem.
“I am going to try to create a space for white boards in order to bounce off light and create colors and textures around the food,” Boyle said. “I also think that the move to California will influence my recipes because I plan on getting involved in farmer’s markets and trying to cook seasonally.”
In California, Boyle will have her husband Sam Boyle by her side to eat anything she whips up in the kitchen. He has seen her grow and evolve since the creation of The Best of Thymes.
“Allison’s blogging has helped motivate her to continue cooking, even when her life gets busy and schoolwork piles up,” Boyle said. “Being able to share her cooking through the blog has allowed her to reach new people and inspire them to start cooking themselves, even those who get intimidated by cooking or feel like they don’t have the time to cook.”
Boyle hopes that more people will be inspired to cook from the blog. She plans to upgrade certain elements of the The Best of Thymes in order to gain a bigger readership. Boyle even hopes to one day start creating recipes of her own.
“I started this blog for me,” Boyle said. “I’m a very visual person, and I like being able to see all my recipes. Now I have all these great recipes that I can go back to.”
And as long as Boyle keeps returning to the kitchen, she will keep up with The Best of Thymes. The blog quickly seeped into her life, and she believes it will be there for awhile.
Printed on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 as: Food blog inspires student to undertake culinary adventure