What is Family Bites?
After blogging for nearly six years, I finally found the exact words I wanted to use to describe the mission of this website: celebrate your family.
My biggest hope with Family Bites is to inspire and encourage you to take the time to celebrate your own family, in whatever way works best for you. We happen to be big on daily, weekly, and monthly rituals, like family dinner, date night, and Sunday supper, and have mastered the art of easy entertaining with kids underfoot. We love holidays, often taking the time to celebrate those which we aren't obliged to observe, and try to do all of the above with something tasty on the table.
While we're a family that's pretty passionate about food, we're also busy working parents with two teenagers and a toddler, and know and understand that taking the time to connect regularly can be harder than it sounds. So my hope is to provide recipes, strategies, and inspiration for taking that which can be hard (feeding a family regularly) and shaping it into something that brings happiness to everyone around the table, home cook included.
Who am I?
I'm Jan, the creator of Family Bites, cookbook author (Gatherings, Whitecap), SavvyMom food editor, and freelance food writer. If you knew the culinary history of my childhood you would surely find that first sentence amusing. My parents, like many others raising kids in the late 1970s, were two non-granola hippies who happily embraced the concepts of convenience and packaged food, 'just add water' cooking, and The Happy Meal. My Dad fondly remembers some of our most flavourful dinners as the ones made from canned vegetables and powdered sauce in a packet, and to this day my Mom thinks it’s a shame that my sons have never had a bologna sandwich on white bread served with a side of Jello. It's safe to say they don't quite understand where my passion for home cooking comes from.
I know, though. It was when I went to University that I discovered fascinating food facts that changed the course of my life forever. I was nearly 19 years old when I finally figured out that iceberg lettuce wasn’t the only variety of greens sold in the grocery store, and for the first time I was in charge of deciding what I wanted to eat, and where the food was going to come from. In residence, I lived with friends who hailed from across the globe, and while I thought I was in school to study history, it turns out I was actually getting a real food education for the first time in my life. My story continues like this: post-University, I embarked on one of the biggest adventures of my life and took a job in the South of France. I lived in Monaco, and was hired by a French family to work with their children and teach them conversational English. The lady I worked for was cold and career driven, but she knew more about food and entertaining than anyone I'd ever met. She infected me with the food bug, and I spent my time there learning everything I could from her.
When I moved back to Toronto, I had come home with the idea that I would spend six months visiting my family before returning to Europe where I planned to live forever. I took a job in a coffee shop to earn some cash for my next overseas adventure, and while there I met a cute guy with a soft spot for Irish cream coffee. Needless to say, I never moved back to France. Life progressed, and we built a family. My love of food continued to develop, and I took coking classes at George Brown College to stimulate my stay-at-home-mom mind. When my second son was five I began my first job in the food industry and started work as an event planter for a catering company. The job encompassed everything I loved- food! entertaining! feeding others! and was an excellent learning experience. I worked there for a combined total of almost seven years, and as my boys continued to grow I knew I wanted to transition into something that would allow me to spend more time at home. This is how I fell into food writing.
I'm so very grateful that I get to spend my days cooking and writing from home. I'm convinced it might be the very best job in the world, and while I used to do it solo when the older boys were at school, I now have an 18-month old assistant that makes sure the days are definitely more fun than they used to be. Thank you to YOU for visiting and reading and commenting and making this little corner of the Internet so much fun for me!
This summer I started a monthly newsletter as a companion to the regular blog posts I write. You can subscribe here to receive this exclusive note that contains content which can't be found anywhere else!
Want to read more? Here's a list of popular posts to get you started:
- Our BIG summer surprise
- 29 secrets to simple summer entertaining
- Life-changing one-pot pasta
- DIY mac n' cheese bar
- Family supper Sundays
Want to get in touch? Please do! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.