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Haley is a pharmacist by day and an avid chef by night. She loves to experiment with new recipes and try new techniques in her kitchen. We caught up with Haley to learn more about her passion for cooking.
Which library branch do you use most?
I mainly use the Southeast Regional Library near the St. Johns Town Center.
Tell us about your love for cooking.
I first learned to cook from my mother. I would always watch her in the kitchen growing up. She was a stay-at-home mom and had a home cooked meal on the dinner table at 5 p.m. sharp every night. When I moved away for college, I started the same tradition of cooking my dinner every night. From there, I just started experimenting with different recipes and techniques, branching out more and more over the years.
How and when did you discover your love of cooking?
My love of cooking really started as a love for baking. Some of my favorite childhood memories include baking some sort of cookie or cake with my mom. As I got better at baking, I started creating custom cakes. Throughout pharmacy school, I would decorate cakes to bring in some extra cash, but I found it was also a way to relief some stress. I loved making these cakes, and it was something that I was truly good at. As life got busier, I stopped baking as much. However, I was still cooking dinner for myself as often as I could, and started using that as an outlet for my creativity. And then I discovered the world of healthy cooking.
Why and how did you get into cooking paleo and a clean lifestyle?
I started CrossFit four and a half years ago. Right after joining my gym, I heard everyone talk about the “Paleo diet.” So I did my research and decided it was worth trying out. Soon enough, I started losing the weight that I never could, and felt better than I ever had. I knew this was the right lifestyle for me. However, maintaining that lifestyle can be hard when many of the convenient foods out there are highly processed and full of chemicals and artificial ingredients. I started meal prepping on the weekends so I would have healthy, homemade food options during the week. It can be tedious but it is worth it. This is where great cookbooks save the day. I find a majority of my recipes out of my rotation of cookbooks, and am always excited to try out a new one!
What advice do you have for people who might want to start cooking?
Practice makes perfect! The more you cook, the better you will get. You’re going to make mistakes along the way (and ruin a few dinners), but you’ll learn from it and move on—hopefully towards a healthier and happier lifestyle.
What are some of your favorite cookbooks?
Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle by Diane Sanfilippo — This cookbook explains why avoiding both processed foods and foods commonly marketed as "healthy," like grains, legumes and pasteurized dairy, will improve how people look and feel and lead to lasting weight loss.
Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion by Danielle Walker — From the author of Against All Grain comes 125 recipes for grain-free, dairy-free and gluten-free comfort food dishes for the holidays and special occasions.
You can find more cookbooks in our nonfiction collection! Thanks to Haley for sharing her passion for cooking with us.
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