Hi, I’m Gretchen.
(And if you want to get in touch, please feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org !)
I’m a fifth-generation Berkeley native, an avid lover of food in general and excellent pizza in particular, and a passionate traveler.
My husband Gustavo (who hails from Brazil) and I currently need to travel full-time. (It’s a long story.)
Most of our choices on which countries to visit are driven by food! So for the past two years, we’ve been on the go—and eating everywhere and everything!
We’ve been fortunate enough to eat everywhere from questionably sanitary street food stalls to some of the world’s top restaurants. The flavors throughout have been complex and often breathtaking.
Sometimes they tie into what I’m used to after having grown up in the multicultural melting pot that is California.
Sometimes, they’re completely new.
I want to bring you both of those in this blog. My roots in California cuisine, and the flavors of my experiences across the world.
Why “Three Big Bites”?
My second food memory (more on the first another time) features my toddler self whining about not wanting to eat something or other.
My dad told me — probably not for the first time, and definitely not for the last — that I wasn’t allowed to say I didn’t like a food until I had taken three big bites of it.
The philosophy of taking Three Big Bites worked well in discouraging me from being a picky eater. The short list of things I ended up hating after that included avocados, mushrooms, lima beans, and liver.
Fortunately, with age comes some wisdom, and avocados and mushrooms are now among my favorite foods. (Liver and lima beans are still definitely terrible, though.)
A sunrise walk through the Sahara.
A Word on “Authenticity”
Before we dig in, an important word on “authenticity.” It’s among my top priorities to respect and honor the culinary traditions we’ve experienced, but what you’ll find here will never be “authentic.” I’ll never be a Moroccan grandmother cooking a family recipe in a terra cotta tagine on a rooftop in Marrakesh, or a Bengali woman fearlessly slicing vegetables on the floor with her boti, or a Guatemalan street vendor clapping out perfectly round blue corn tortillas in a precise rhythm, her hands deftly dancing to the beat they’re creating.
When you go behind the question of “authenticity,” too, you find so often that food is a mixture of influences anyway, and authenticity is nowhere near as black and white as the people who throw the term around would like to think. While respecting culinary cultures is one thing, striving for unachievable “authenticity” seems beside the point to me. World flavors are woven throughout my food, but with my own spin on them.