Hi, I’m Rachel. I create recipes with fresh ingredients and flavors from around the world, and I enjoy cooking for family and friends. I started Birdseed Kitchen because I believe in the importance of home cooking – for health, as a creative activity, and because it’s fun!
I’m the kid who took forever to arrange a meal on my plate. At least, that’s what my mom tells me.
It makes sense. I love food, and I love design.
Growing up in a small Midwestern town, with a family that gardened, canned, and cooked, it was easy to design a great plate. Our giant garden yielded bushels of fresh produce. (And sometimes, GIANT produce!) We stocked our freezer with beef from the farmer down the road. We bought eggs from the lady in the little white house at the edge of town. (Just leave your money in the basket and take them from the fridge.) My aunt and uncle raised chickens and turkeys, grew apples, and pressed cider. My grandpa cracked black walnuts on the back porch, and planted potatoes every Good Friday. Asparagus grew wild along fence rows, and nobody would think anything of it if you stopped to pick some.
And for a few magical weekends in late spring, if the conditions were just right, you could walk along a hillside timberline and find treasure: wild morel mushrooms.
Today, I live in Champaign, Illinois, one of the great Midwest food towns. When I’m not designing websites for the University of Illinois, I’m creating something in the kitchen – with fresh Midwestern produce and farm-raised meats, and products from the amazing array of specialty grocery stores we have in this college town. It’s a living palette, ripe for creation, and I’m inspired – by the art and science of cooking, and the ability to transform beautiful products into delicious creations.
Food sustains us in the present, and links us to the past.
My grandmother passed away in 2017. I came home from her funeral with her recipe boxes and well-worn wooden spoons. These were the most priceless things I could have received from her, and the only inheritance I wanted. Some of my fondest memories of her are of spending time in her kitchen when I was growing up, learning to cook and bake.
My life as a working mom is far from what she experienced as a homemaker in the 50s, but I carry a lot of her family values with me through my love and enthusiasm for cooking. I’m fortunate that my husband also loves cooking, and it’s one of our favorite ways to spend time together.
Food is love.
I’m not the first person to make that equation, but I do believe it. On a simplistic level, preparing meals is one of the ways we love and take care of both our own bodies and our families. Cooking a meal for someone, like loving them, takes time, effort, and attention to all five senses. Both are nourishing, essential, and best when shared.
Welcome! Let’s create something delicious together.