My circuitous route to this blog is peppered with my experiences and my passions. Growing up in Richmond, Virginia I had the pleasure of observing my Czech father and English mother produce amazing food, exploring their European culinary heritage while using the thoroughly Virginian ingredients at hand. Later, in boarding school in the English countryside, I began to relish, first hand, the connection between local ingredients and simple, delicious food.
In college I had the pleasure of sharing a house with a number of extraordinary—not to mention competitive—cooks (you know who you are!) who taught me so much, not just about cooking, but most importantly, to be brave in the kitchen and for goodness sake, just to give things a try. In Charlottesville, where “meal plan” aka our weeknight dinner parties, were the most highly sought invitations in town, I learned the joy of cooking and eating with friends. It didn’t have to be fancy—though it could be—but it did have to be interesting, fun to tackle and above all, delicious.
Always an enthusiastic reader, I’ve read countless cookbooks and have come to feel that many of my favorite authors are old buddies, just sitting in abeyance on my bookshelf waiting to weigh in on any of my frequent questions, tangents or curiosities. My favorites are Elizabeth David, James Villas, M.F.K. Fisher, Mrs. Beeton, Ina Garten, Julia Child, Patricia Wells, Richard Sax, Laurie Colwin….well, you get the idea.
My friends are a constant source of inspiration to me. Their generosity in sharing ideas, experiences, food, wine and festivity with me is boundless, as is my gratitude and love for them, as you’ll come to see in this blog. Our food camaraderie is a precious thread that runs through my life and travels.
Nowadays, I can be found busy in my kitchen overlooking the James River, surrounded by my family and friends, continuing my life’s journey as an enthusiastic, intrepid home cook. I’m pleased to be writing a monthly column in the Richmond Times Dispatch called “Clare’s Kitchen” that explores some of the things I’m up to. Here in Clare Fare I hope to provide more recipes, more kitchen stories of culinary hilarity, happiness and disaster, and above all, something to move you into your own kitchen with a spring in your step and a sense of the possibilities that await you.
Be fearless, and let me know how you fare.