|Jessica Petersen |
The Other Tiger
After showing absolutely no talent for cooking in her youth, Jessica decided to learn her way around the kitchen following a mind-blowing, taste bud-spoiling trip to Turkey with her mother during the summer after her freshman year in college. A year later, she’d gone from not being allowed to slice the sushi by her roommates in the Japanese House to making four course meals and cookies for them when she was supposed to be writing papers.
At that point, she met Chris, who loved to cook as much as she now did. He made things for and with her like Indian curry and naan from scratch, French toast from homemade bread, and chocolate crepes with vanilla ice cream, raspberries and homemade caramel sauce. This may or may not have had something to do with why she agreed to marry him. You be the judge.
During her senior year in college, in the midst of writing a grueling honors thesis about authenticity and the Indian novel in English, Jessica and her mother took the series of Wilton cake decorating classes as a way to spend more time together (and put off writing more papers). Oddly enough, it turned out that decorating cakes was more fun than writing papers, and especially more fun than writing her thesis. She slowly switched from looking at grad schools to looking at culinary schools. Ultimately, she graduated from the Art Institute of Seattle’s Baking and Pastry program and worked as a pastry cook and bed and breakfast chef.
Between a shoulder injury and a tendency to value perfection over speed, it eventually became apparent that cooking was not the career for her, despite all of the things she loved about working in the food industry (and how much she really, really loved working at that B&B). To make things worse, the house that she and Chris bought had a very, well, “vintage” kitchen, including a tiny side-by-side range and oven that took up most of what should have been counter space. Nothing that went into the oven ever came out right, and frustration ruled any day in the kitchen. Other interests and ambitions took charge, and thrust cooking and baking into the background.
However, now that they’ve remodeled their kitchen, she is excited to rediscover the techniques and recipes she once knew well and set out to learn more. Her main areas of interest are baking, vegetarian cooking, and chocolate and sugar work. She started her first food blog, Tiger Chow, as a source of extra motivation to get back into the kitchen as much as possible. It worked, and so along came Pie of the Tiger.
When she’s not cooking, Jessica is working on two novels, one of which was a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s literary contest (her second time receiving the honor). She also enjoys photography, mostly of food, nature, and cemeteries both here and in Europe, thanks to research for one of those novels.