Hello, food rapt internet user! My name is Cristina Sciarra. I started this blog in 2011 as an outlet for my enthusiasm (some might say fixation) with food and cooking. I write and photograph The Roaming Kitchen. My goals for the site are simple: thoughtful essays, original recipes (as far as that’s possible), and attractive photographs.
I started cooking, really, in 2007. During my last year of university, I lived alone for the first time, and it transpires I don’t like living alone. To combat the quiet, I invited friends over for dinner. My ambitions far exceeded my skills however, and I burned a lot of pizza crusts, over-cooked risottos, and went on fudge-making benders. Still, I was hooked.
After graduation, I moved to Madrid to teach English to elementary school students. I ate plenty of delectable tapas, and drank my share of vino tinto, but the most instrumental bits of that year were the trips we managed on a shoestring. Whole fish with lemon in Peniche, chicken tagine in Marrakech, cheeses from Galicia: it was the beginning of an education in quality ingredients. I realized the difference whole foods, served at the peak of their ripeness, could make.
The following year, I packed my bags and followed love to Paris. I know, it seems foolish, but consider this: our attic apartment peered onto Rue Lepic, a narrow market street at the base of Montmartre. Everyday but Monday, there were fresh herbs and stinky cheeses and chickens not fully denuded of their feathers. As my French improved, so did my relationships with the vendors on my street. As a supplement, the boy took me often to visit his family (a shining example of how to eat well if ever I saw one) on the western coast of France. My keen (fine, nerdy) interest in ingredients increased.
While in Paris, I attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. I got yelled at a lot in French, and learned the building blocks of cooking: knife skills and how to make stock, but also the importance of repetition and organization in the kitchen.
The next year, I left for New York to begin an MFA in Fiction Writing, which I completed in 2012. Stateside, I’ve retained the French habit of shopping for meat at the butcher, bread at the baker, and candles from the candlestick maker. I frequent farmers markets, because I like interacting with the makers of my food. I cook with vigor. I enjoy the act of it: the therapy of peeling a mountain of potatoes, the satisfaction of building a dish into more than the sum of its parts.
Four years later, my boyfriend Paul is still the happy second piece to my puzzle. I refer to him on the site as “the Frenchman,” (or sometimes “Mr. French Toast” or “Monsieur French Fry” or any variation therein). We live together in Brooklyn, where he is my taste-tester numéro un.
Paul runs all the behind the scenes, technological bits of The Roaming Kitchen. For this, and many other reasons, I would be quite lost without him.