The Merry Gourmet, a clever riff on the author (and food52 member), Merry-Jennifer's, name, is as much a blog about life as it is a blog about cooking. When she became pregnant with her daughter in 2003, Merry-Jennifer set out to teach herself to cook, feeling compelled to prepare real food for her child instead of the TV dinners she herself grew up with. As she explains, time in the kitchen is time off from work, and her chance to immerse herself in her passion; appropriately, her posts are peppered with anecdotes and personal reflections. In a recent post about banana pudding, Merry-Jennifer recalls childhood memories of special occasions made even more so by her grandmother's excellent Southern cooking. She then relates how, when her grandmother became too frail to cook anymore, she used her newfound cooking skills to take over the banana pudding legacy.
Merry-Jennifer's talents are twofold: she writes with an open, warm voice about her daily kitchen discoveries and adaptations (Summer Fruit Salad with Mint Sugar from a 2004 issue of Gourmet, Lobster Macaroni and Cheese from Saveur), and she photographs her creations with an expert eye, embracing color and form as her inspiration. The result? The Merry Gourmet is as lovely to look at as it is to read.
Perhaps the most gratifying part about reading Merry-Jennifer's blog is getting to know a woman who continually demonstrates admirable priorities -- both for herself and for those she cares about. "I’m having a blast teaching myself to cook," she says, "and I know that my children are watching. I’m hoping to provide them with some good memories of their own."