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About

Hi there! Welcome to The Gourmand Mom! I’m a former teacher and current stay at home mom with an insane passion for food. I have two beautiful little boys, a loving husband, and the biggest yellow lab you’ve ever seen. Seriously, he’s huge! I’m also eagerly expecting my third little boy sometime in early May. I love cooking (and eating) good, satisfying food, prepared simply with fresh ingredients. I enjoy all types of food, though mayonnaise gives me the willies and I’m not sure Miracle Whip even qualifies as a food. I’ve been known to talk to my food as I cook it and I despise those little stickers they put on produce.

That’s the short of it.

Photograph by Stephanie Antshel ~ http://www.stephanieantshel.com

Here’s the long…

As a baby gourmand, I grew up surrounded by people who cooked. So, I never questioned my ability to cook. I just did it. With a 1973 set of Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks as my guide, I played with food, eager to create dishes which would surprise and impress my family. Sometimes it worked out; other times, not so much. (The Great Baked Alaska Incident of 1989) But, I plugged along, learning from my family and experimenting with recipes in those cookbooks.

Photograph by Stephanie Antshel http://www.stephanieantshel.com

After college, I moved to the New York City area and started teaching at a preschool in Queens. I fed, literally and figuratively, off of the abundance of dining options in the city.  My husband and I experienced some of the best the city had to offer. We even dined at Windows on the World, on top of the World Trade Center; my first experience with a sommelier and a memorable dinner, to say the least. My culinary world was being rapidly expanded.

Right around the same time, I discovered the Food Network channel. Discovery quickly became obsession. Soon, I was speaking with a bit of Emeril’s New Orleans accent (BAM!) and throwing around words like roux and mirepoix. My passion for cooking was rising to a level of distraction. I had a hard time thinking of anything other than cooking.

I casually began looking into some of the city’s culinary programs. I didn’t want to be a chef and I had no aspirations of a career in the culinary field. I was fairly certain of that. But, I desperately wanted to know what chefs know. The thought of enrolling in a culinary program was exciting, but it was also expensive and it felt unjustified. Not to mention, that as a newly certified teacher in New York State, the clock was ticking to complete a Master’s degree. So, I researched a few education graduate programs, but was mostly ambivalent and completely indecisive. All I could think about was cooking.

Then, I discovered the perfect culinary program. The French Culinary Institute, in NYC, offered a program geared towards ‘serious amateurs’.  Called, La Technique, the 110 hour program offered the same basic curriculum as the first part of FCI’s professional program. In fact, upon completion, graduates of La Technique had the option of jumping into the second part of the professional program. This was more than just a series of cooking classes, more than learning to master a few recipes. This was a culinary program, designed specifically for people like me. This was exactly what I was looking for! But, it came at a cost that I just couldn’t rationalize for a hobby.

Photograph by Stephanie Antshel http://www.stephanieantshel.com

I fretted about it for a while. Then, my husband and I took a trip to California, where we drove down the coast, enjoying wonderful food along our way. In Temecula, we visited with some family friends, an honorary aunt and uncle. We spent a day touring the area’s wineries and enjoyed a fantastic dinner on the patio of one of the wineries. Over the course of the dinner, I talked passionately about my love of cooking, ultimately rising to a wine-induced crescendo of tears. I apologized and expressed the conflict I was feeling about the culinary program. My honorary uncle simply said, “So then, do it.” And suddenly, everything was so crystal clear. So then, do it. Why hadn’t I thought of that?? Why had I been making such a big deal out of this decision? When we returned from our trip, I contacted the French Culinary Institute and enrolled in the next session of La Technique.

And, what an experience it was! I spent 10 hours a week in my chef’s uniform, chopping, mixing, sautéing, and braising. We were issued professional knife kits, a toolbox full of culinary equipment, and a huge manual; all of which I carted back and forth, on busses and subways, between my home, the preschool, and FCI every Tuesday and Thursday. At my preschool, I tried to hide my culinary gear, assuming that my principal would question my decision to delay a Master’s degree; an assumption I later learned was unfounded.

The decision to complete that culinary program settled me in a major way. It calmed me. I never changed my mind about following a career path in the culinary world (and I later did complete that Masters degree in School Administration and Supervision), but the experience at French Culinary Institute satisfied my soul.  And, it armed me with a repertoire of skills which impact the way I approach everything in the kitchen.

Photograph by Stephanie Antshel ~ http://www.stephanieantshel.com

So, now here I am, two kids, a husband and the big dog, living my dream, in Central New York, as a stay at home mom! What a lucky girl I am! I started this blog as an outlet for expressing my love for cooking food, eating food, and taking pictures of food. I’m not any kind of expert; just a girl who likes to eat and cook. I hope I might be able to share a recipe or two and maybe inspire you to try something new!

The Big Dog

Culinary programs aside, at the end of the day, I believe that the number one factor that makes a good cook is simply a willingness to take chances. Everyone can cook. You just have to be willing to try and open to a few failures. What’s the worst that’s going to happen?

Unless otherwise noted, all recipes, photos, and writing on this blog are the sole property of Amy Deline, The Gourmand Mom.

For any questions, comments, or feedback regarding this blog, you can contact me at thegourmandmom [at] yahoo [dot] com

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50 responses »

  1. You RAWK! Way to go, Amy. Great stuff. I’m now hungry and must go eat something. ;)

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  2. Looking forward to reading all about your culinary adventures- and learning a lot :):)

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  3. Congratulations on your first blog! I believe I shall enjoy it. :)

    *~*~*

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  4. Amy Conner Zatlukal

    Amy, Amy, Amy! You are wonderful! What a great blog! Thank you! I plan to read it often and can’t waito to try many of your recipes!

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  5. Thanks everyone! You’re all awesome! I’m so happy you’re enjoying what I’ve posted so far!

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  6. Great job Amy. Your writing really shows off who you are – sweet & smart!

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  7. Amy – I’m so glad you decided to share more about Gourmand Mom. Makes me think I should go rewrite my own ‘About’ pages. Cook on, girl!

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  8. Hi Amy, I love your blog…will definitly be in back to have a look around.

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  9. Wow, reading that intro brings back memories of NYC! Even though you didn’t mention me (ha-ha)I was there while you were mulling over this decisions and encourging you to go for it while sitting for hours in our happy hour place on 9th and 45t(what was it called?). You even had an idea for a preshool cooking program that I loved. It is great to see how far you have come and how much you love it! Good luck with the blog.

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    • Awwww! Such great memories! The place was called Mercury Bar and Grill, I think! I loved that place. Yummy nachos and fantastic conversations, always!

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  10. Okay Amy, WOW. I had no idea! And then to see us mentioned… Hal is so touched, you have NO idea! We love you girl and miss you so! Maybe some day I’ll make the time to try some of your recipes! We are going to love following your culinary adventures. Way to go gir!!!

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  11. Amy I love this blog, I also enjoy cooking and most importantly I enjoy feeding my family, a crowd or company. Making a meal makes me happy and having someone enjoy my meal even happier. The times I have experienced great joy has been when the entire house is full of people all enjoying my cooking, or bringing food into the office and having everyone talk about how much they enjoyed my dish. I could never put together such a beautiful blog but I will read it from time to time and of course try out your recipes. I too have thought of going to cooking school not to make a living out of it but just because I enjoy being in the kitchen and cooking so much. Thank you so much for this. It reminds me of Julie and Julia. So much fun !! Congratulations. Your pictures are also beautiful.

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  12. Cooking school is absolutely the right decision. As a college student I spent a semester in Dublin living with an Irish family. They had lived in Paris and the mother had gone to Cordon Bleu school–much to my delight. The serious ameteur can always enrich the world!

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  13. Hi Amy

    You have a magnificent blog (we share a the same theme). Congratulations, and well done on being freshly pressed!

    I am new to blogging and thoroughly enjoy posting my daily recipe. Your recipes sound and look absolutely delicious – every one a taste-explosion for the taste-buds.

    I have added your Blog to my bookmarks and have subscribed for your email updates.

    I invite you to have a look at my blog – I would be honoured if you would join my subscription.

    Looking forward to sharing with you.

    Sunny regards,
    Mandy

    Reply
  14. It is wonderful to meet you. I am more than pleased to know that you exist and your way of life inspires many others, including myself, to open up to cooking. In fact, much of your love of cooking reminds me of Julia Child. The most important part about your life is the enjoyment you have of it, and the love you share with others, such as your family first, and then your friends and then beyond that. Life is simple! Enjoy it simply!

    Reply
  15. Wow, Amy, what an awesome blog! I’m adding you to my RSS feed NOW!

    It’s been a long time since we’ve talked (I think the last time was when we were trying to get together in Europe after college), it looks like you guys have been doing great! I hope we can get a chance to meet up the next time we’re in New York or you guys are in Colorado. Talk to you soon!

    -Luis

    Reply
  16. Hi Amy!
    I’m glad to know there are lots og gourmand mom around. I’m a stay-at-home mom right now (my baby boy’s just 4 months old :D) waiting to get back (probably??) to work, and I’ve just started my own blog, too. I love cooking so much (I’m supported by my husband who’s a real gourmand…): I think it’s so relaxing…
    Hope we stay in touch!

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  17. GREAT website cutie! Love ya…
    Uncle Slug

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  18. Hi Amy,

    Your blogs look great. I’m trying your Buffalo Chicken Sandwich first, and then the a Choco. Org. Cake with Cannoli filling. My mom taught me to make curries and I just want to branch out now that I am a stay at home mom too. Thanks for your lovely recipes.

    Fahima

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  19. Just wanted to let you know I love Bone Fish’s Fontina Chops – in fact – every time I go there that’s what I order (even though it’s a fantastic fish restaurant). I would often think WOW I wish I could make this and I wonder how I could get the recipe. Then I found yours…… Almost Perfect Fontina Chops – well the first time I made the sauce I didn’t let reduce enough (sometime I’m impatient – even though I’m a mom with 3 grown children (I’ve just recently really gotten into cooking – now that my kids can appreciate my cooking and I no longer have to make 3 different meals a night to satisfy picky eaters).

    I find I have to try recipes a couple of times before I master them – so I was determined to try again. I had left over mushrooms so I though I’d try the sauce one night while I was heating up leftovers for dinner. and this time I used Sherry instead of Marsala. I have to admit that your “almost perfect” fontina chops are now “perfect” – the sauce tastes exactly like Bone Fish’s. I can’t wait until I make it the third time with the chops and serve it to the kids (only problem is they always order the fish at Bone Fish and haven’t tried the chops – so they will have to take my word for it.

    I will definitely check out some of your other recipes – and if I ever come across another recipe I want to copy – I’ll hit you up – you’re pretty good!!!!

    Debbie Bliss from Bel Air, Maryland

    Reply
  20. followed you here from baby center. love the blog! looks yummy!!

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  21. Your kids and husband are very lucky! My family is a bit older (22 year old twins) but we are having a great time cooking and living together post college. Hopefully the right jobs will come along but in the meantime we are enjoying what we’ve got — will be back to check on your recipes and beautiful photos!

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  22. I don’t like to cook, but you have made me want to try again. Thank you!

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  23. Dayna Valenti

    Kudos Amy….great site! And congratulations to you and Brett on your third baby!

    Reply
  24. I read your blog via the Christian Science Monitor today, featuring tomato and goat cheese tart. That led me to check out your great web site and sign up to receive future blogs. As the mother of four sons (now grown), with a life-long interest in cooking, and a writer personal essays about my mother’s recipes and family memories, I admire greatly what you’re doing.

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  25. Your blog continues to amaze me! Glad to see that all is well!!!!!!!!!!

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  26. Hi Amy,
    Christmas Eve tomorrow here. We are not cooking the traditional. We never do. On Christmas Day, we will cook roast rib of beef, Yorkshire puddings, potatoes and roast winter vegetables. We will have smoked salmon and home made brown bread to start. A meringue cake with raspberries to finish. There will be no photos or posts. It is a family time. Wishing you a happy Christmas and all the best in 2011.
    Conor

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  27. I think this lovely blog deserves the Versatile Blogger Award! http://whilehewasout.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/1019/

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  28. I love your blog, it inspires me :) I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! http://tonetiki.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/versatile-blogger-award-nomination/

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  29. I think your blog is great and I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. :) http://trialsinfood.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/101st-post-and-a-big-thank-you/

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  30. So glad I found your blog, you sound a lot like me!! I am ALWAYS thinking of food, watching food network, browsing cooking magazines and of course COOKING. I love to make food for friends and family, it just makes me happy! I’ve wanted to take a course…but just haven’t. Glad you made the decision to go for it!! You have really inspired me to start thinking seriously about looking for a program near me. Thank you!

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    • Thanks for your comments! Definitely look into the culinary program! It was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. Try to find a program which focuses on technique, rather than just specific recipes. Good luck!

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  31. Hi Amy.

    I too have a life long passion for food (both eating and cooking), but admit having two under two and a super picky toddler has really lowered the culinary benchmark at our house these past few years. You’ll laugh I’m sure, but I really thought having non-picky kids was a slam dunk since my husband and I are both serious foodies.

    I look forward to reading your blog.

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    • Haha! I know exactly what you mean! Kids have little minds of their own, no matter what you do! I just keep plugging along and exposing them to all sorts of foods. I figure that if we treat all foods as equally delicious and keep providing repeated opportunities to try things, even when they’ve disliked it in the past, they’ll come along and develop that appreciation for all foods that we hope for them to have! Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  32. I am not quite sure what these awards are supposed to be about, but I have recently received the ‘sunshine award’ which I’d now like to pass on to you. I guess it’s a way of showing your appreciation. Nice blog!!

    Reply
  33. I am also a girl who loves to eat and cook and I am a serious lover of the Food Network. I look forward to reading more and trying some of your recipes.

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  34. I am an 80-year-old male who, on occasion, likes to cook, mostly for wife and sometimes family.
    I found you blog when I googled “fontina chop”. I cooked the recipe last night and it was outstanding! I am also a lover of excellent writing – and your writing is outstanding. Thank you.

    Reply
  35. Amy hey, I’m in the food business all my life, I have 3 boys who love to eat. I was raised in an Italian family with Sunday dinner memories. Recently my wife and I started the Sunday dinner tradition in our home. I needed a good penne vodka recipe, I came upon your site, prepared it today and it was amazing better then any resturant I have ever ordered it in.”wow great job! And Amy I reviewed all of the other great recipes you have developed. “which I will use many for our family dinners. I too am a very good cook and have always had a passion for food and cooking, thank you for lighting my flame, no pun intended” We may have to call Sunday family dinners to Amy,s Day….. :-) Tom.

    Reply
  36. Amy,when will you publish a cook book! Your recipes need to be shared with the world! “just saying”….. I will share your wed site with many of our friends, your new # 1 biggest fan! Tom

    Reply

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