In the Kitchen With: Merry-Jennifer of The Merry Gourmet

| May 13, 2010 Food & Party

  • Meet Merry-Jennifer of The Merry Gourmet

    merry-jennifer from the merry gourmet

    Merry-Jennifer from The Merry Gourmet.

    Meet Merry-Jennifer. She's a mom of two and the cook and blogger behind The Merry Gourmet. Today's In the Kitchen With feature takes us inside her gorgeous kitchen.

  • Merry-Jennifer's family

    merry-jennifer's family

    Merry-Jennifer's husband with her two kids, Madeline and Oliver.

    Tell us about your family.

    My husband and I both work full-time in health care: He's a dentist, and I'm a physician. We had our daughter, Madeline, when I was in residency. My son, Oliver, was born almost three years later when I was in my sub-specialty fellowship training. My family keeps me grounded, and they've taught me to have balance in my life.

  • Cooking style

    merry-jennifer's kids at disney

    Madeline and Oliver at Disney.

    Tell us about your blog. How would you describe your cooking style?

    I began blogging in 2006 while on maternity leave with Oliver. After a few years, I became bored and less motivated to write. I realized that the posts I was most enthusiastic about were food-related. My food blog was a natural evolution. Now I write about my cooking experiences and whatever food or wine topics interest me. My cooking style is fairly eclectic, but I end up sticking with family-friendly dishes so that someone in my home -- besides me -- will actually eat it.

  • The kitchen

    breakfast nook

    The stainless steel topped table is a new find, and it's great for the wear and tear from kids and food prep.

    What is your favorite thing about your kitchen?

    We spend most of our time in the breakfast nook. It's a great gathering place, with plenty of light and brightness.

  • Inspiration


    This is just some of my collection of cookbooks. I'm addicted to buying them.


    Where do you find inspiration?

    Many of the things I cook or bake were inspired by a photograph and a recipe in a food magazine or one of my cookbooks. I also find a lot of inspiration by walking through our local Monday evening farmers' market or the outer aisles of our gourmet grocery store.

  • Cooking for the family

    dining photos

    I took these photos during our trip to Napa/Sonoma in summer 2009, and every time I look at them I am reminded of our food and wine experience there.

    How has your cooking changed since you had children?

    Before I had children, my husband did all of the cooking. We ate a lot of grilled chicken breasts. When I became pregnant with my daughter, I felt the urge to find my place in the kitchen and prepare meals that she would be proud of. Now, I try to buy organic and locally produced foods as often as possible, and preparing fresh homemade meals is important to me.

  • Indulgences


    The kitchen sink area overlooks the living room, so I can still feel like I'm part of the action while I'm doing dishes or prepping meals.

    What is your one indulgence?

    I have a sweet tooth, so desserts are important to me. I try to stick with the "everything in moderation" philosophy.

  • Favorite ingredients

    kitchen bar

    The kitchen bar is inviting, and it invites guests to hang out in the kitchen, something I've always loved.

    What are some ingredients/food items that you could never, ever live without?

    I could never live without pasta, tomatoes, bread, and cheese. I also would hate to have to give up my fresh herb garden, and especially my basil, thyme, and rosemary plants. And chocolate and wine -- can't forget those!

  • Family traditions

    cornbread dressing

    Cornbread Dressing from The Merry Gourmet.

    What traditions do you and your family have with respect to food?

    We have very traditional holiday dinners and both my husband's family and my family try to all get together in one place. Because we blend the families for the holidays, we tend to have a variety of family recipes at those meals. Some of our favorite recipes are my father's mashed potatoes, my husband's grandmother's cornbread dressing, my father-in-law's smoked ribs, and my mother's green Jello salad.

  • The food


    What do you make better than anyone else?

    I'm not sure that I make anything better than anyone else, but I'm definitely always willing to give it a go. Though, for holiday dinners, I'm known for my pumpkin pies and Waldorf salad, and I'm always asked to show up with those. Lately, I've been trying new desserts -- like cheesecakes and lemon bars.

  • Favorite sites

    roast chicken

    Roast Chicken from The Merry Gourmet.

    What are your favorite food blogs or websites?  

    When I'm looking for a recipe, some of the first places I turn to are Epicurious, Saveur, Food & Wine magazine, and Food52. Smitten Kitchen has never let me down, and Cooks Illustrated is often my go-to site for equipment reviews and the basics of food preparation.


family meals food food blogs traditions slideshow

More Slideshows