The Hedonist Cook, Melanie TravinsThe Hedonist Cook is written by me, Melanie, a new Mom, wife, student, baker, cook, and lover of all things yummy and fun. I live in Knoxville, Tennessee, where I enjoy figuring out how to cook while breastfeeding, cuddling with my pug, giggling, Star Wars, and generally enjoying the hell out of my life.

I grew up eating all-American food, prepared with love by my amazing Mom. We didn’t eat blood oranges, seafood, bell peppers, lamb, asparagus, curry etc… Therefore, I grew up being such a picky eater. When I moved to Sacramento in 2001, all I wanted to eat was pasta, apples, and bread. Luckily, I found foodies who showed me how lovely sushi can be, why Parmesan in a can is evil, and why it’s better to have nothing than eat margarine. I began cooking some and baking my face off without any tools or idea what I was doing. I loved it!

Then, in 2007 I decided 28 was a good age for a nervous breakdown, so I quit my safe corporate job and became a dishwasher for $9 an hour. It was a great idea, because it led me to learning how to cook professionally. For the new few years my life pretty much revolved around food. After I moved to Tennessee I had the opportunity to work at some of the best restaurants and bakeries in Knoxville, under super talented people.

When I started this website I couldn’t imagine why someone would cut corners while cooking. I mean, cooking was my profession and biggest hobby. I was single, in a tiny apartment and had nothing else going on, so a 3 hour dinner was fun!  Fast forward 5 years and my life is now filled with a new baby, husband, needy pug, running a household and going to school full time. Needless to say, I’ve eyed the pre-cut onions once or twice, but I’m proud to say I haven’t given in. Now a recipe not only has to be delicious, real and interesting, it also has to be simple, fast, vegetarian* and hopefully somewhat healthy (as I’d love to fit into my pre preggo jeans someday.) That way, when I indulge, I can do so with hedonistic passion.

(*Yes, after years of trying to ignore the nagging voice in my head, I became a vegetarian. I know, lamest thing ever for a cook to do. “What about bacon?” I hear you cry. “Pulled pork, carnitas, chicken wings… How could you?” Damn my internal morality, I have had to face the truth that nothing tastes as good as being ethical feels.)

I created this website because I love food. And I love meeting other people who love food. It’s also a way for me to embrace my hedonistic tendencies. To quote from one of my favorite books, The Hedonism Handbook:

“Pleasure is good. Eden was fun. Excess may be bad, but self deprivation is just stupid. To live a life consisting only of hard work, virtue and self-discipline is to be a martyr, and martyrs make lousy lovers, friends and party guests.”

I hope you find something on here that inspires you and makes you happy. And I hope you’ll let me know what you like and want to see more of. Send an email, carrier pigeon, smoke signal, whatever. Let’s be friends!