My name is Lauren Holsinger, and I’m a passionate and sarcastic cook. My life is hectic. I balance school, cooking, exercising and my sorority. I credit my sanity with my diligence, and daily quiet time spent early in the morning. At UF, I’m currently studying journalism and Japanese, which I love. I also dig the outdoors, California, running, reading, and my adorable dog, Harley. I have lots of amazing friends at The University of Florida, but my all-time best friends are four girls from middle school: Sarah, Courtney, Jessica, and Shayna.
While last year I was squished in a four-person dorm setting, this year I’m living in a yellow, two-bedroom house with my great high school friend, Kate (she samples all my food). Built in the 1950s, the house has character. Paint is chipping outside and the doors screech and whine, but Kate and I have turned it into a cozy hangout spot with our parents’ help. ” The Yellow House” as we call it, is amazing compared to last year’s dorms. I get my own room, plus a TV and a dining room, and a bigger kitchen! Granted the kitchen wouldn’t be featured in a magazine, but it does have an oven, a stove, and a spacious cabinet, which is loads better than last year. I consider “The Yellow House” to be my second home, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in Gainesville.
Growing up with 3 brothers, I had the ultimate childhood experience. Michael, Jeffrey, and Joel were always there to play, eat, and cause trouble with. My older brother, Michael, and I got along famously growing up. I remember getting lost for hours in our forested backyard in Sarasota, because we wanted to see how far the woods would go. And wrestling in a mud pool we had created by spraying water on dirt. Yes, our parents scolded us for those instances, but the fun was worth the time spent reflecting in my room. I’ve always loved having my bros around, because there’s always excitement happening. It’s weird being in college without them, because it feels so quite. I look forward to college breaks, because that’s when I get to see them all, and when things go right back to how they were before.
My mom has always been the iron chef in our household. When I was younger, my favorite meal of hers was mashed potatoes and chicken, smothered with lots of gravy goodness. Today, some of my favorites include her mushroom cream sauce, her pork roast, and her red pepper quesadillas. While she usually follows recipes ‘to a T’, my mom is also the master of improvising. With one scan of the fridge, she can pick out a few lonely ingredients and turn them into a scrumptious one-pot-wonder. It always seems that when I look in the fridge, I see nothing, but when she looks, she sees every possibility. I idolize her cooking.
Now my dad, he’s more of a specialty cook. His menu consists of spaghetti sauce, chili, and smoked brisket. All three dishes are delicious. If he bottled up his sauce, he would be a millionaire. In terms of his chili, I love it, and I don’t even like heat. Finally, his brisket is the most tender and juicy piece of meat I’ve ever eaten. He puts it in the smoker as early as 9am, and doesn’t take it out until dinner time. The smoker cooks that baby until it’s falling apart. From my experience, the brisket is best eaten with some coleslaw and Show-Me sauce between a soft white bun.
My all time favorite food (which I have yet to make myself) is sushi. The combo of fish and veggies is so satisfying, and it doesn’t leave me feeling too full. I’d be happy as a clam eating nigiri and sea-weed salad for the rest of my life. However, the reality is that I can’t afford to buy sushi every day, I’ll have to wait until I visit Japan. Fortunately, my taste buds also crave some other things.
Some other things: steak, shrimp, garlic, spinach, coffee, pasta, mashed potatoes, gravy, chocolate, zucchini bread, flautas, herbs, salmon, carrots, chick peas, greek yogurt, peanut butter, and basically everything else.
I began to fulfill my own interest in food during my second semester in college. Previously, I had made the mistake of paying for a meal plan. The food my first summer was not up to par with what I was used to, and I was paying too much money. So, I began shopping for my own meals in the fall. I used the internet and a cookbook my grandma gave me to cook my way through a variety of dishes. My accomplishments included vegetable lasagna, beef stew, banana bread, chicken salad, pork and apples, marinated salmon, and other creations, which I cannot recall, because they probably weren’t worth remembering, anyways.
While I admit I was not the best chef in the very beginning, I’ve definitely improved this year as a sophomore. I now have the confidence to take on new recipes, and to tweak them if need be. I hope my readers will be both entertained an enlightened by “the incessant cook”, and I will try my best to provide both classic and unique recipes with easy instructions so all can be successful.
P.S. A special shout-out to my roommate, Kate, for allowing me to use her digital camera which takes awesome pictures! And also to her rat, Biggie, for always loving my food. Love ya guys :))