When you emigrate from another country sometimes the tendency is to eat food from the culture you are used to. I know my great-grandparents were a bit like this when they first moved to the U.S. My grandfather was raised in a Portuguese home that ate Portuguese food. But then there are others, like Vanessa of Smart Little Cookie who embrace food. Period. From everywhere. Rather than being boxed in by sharing recipes from her own culture, Vanessa’s blog is an exploration of really tasty food she discovers from all over the world. Particularly if you have a sweet tooth!
Let’s meet Vanessa!
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 Have you always been a foodie, or is that something’s you grew into?
I wasn’t always a great cook. That was something I grew into because I really like food. Eating is honestly one of my favorite things to do and if that is what makes one a foodie, then I can say I have always been a foodie. Cooking the things I love to eat and being creative in the kitchen is really something new for me and I’m enjoying every bit of it.
 How and why did you begin your blog?
I actually started this blog in 2011 as a school project. At the time, I was obsessed with cupcakes and learning to bake and a professor recommended I started a blog to improve my writing skill since I was a communications major. Unfortunately, it was very hard for me to manage school, both my kids, the house, the husband, the blog and multiple internships. The blog was always an afterthought and at times completely ignored. It wasn’t until a month ago that I decided to follow my passion of sharing my love for food through blogging and decided to retake the journey only now I’m more focused and with a lot more cooking knowledge.
 What’s your favorite thing to make/cook?
At the end of the day, I cook to eat and I have a serious sweet tooth. That is why the food I like to cook most is sweets. Anything from cookies to cupcakes or just about anything sweet like this Chocolate Coquito (Chocolate Flavored Coconut Eggnog).
 What is your favorite thing to eat?
I’m very much in touch with my Hispanic roots and culture. I come from a small Island in the Caribbean called the Dominican Republic and my favorite foods to eat are really any of the foods I grew up eating: rice, beans, meat stew, and any fried food. Such unhealthy eating habits, but fried food is really my favorite like this cornmeal fritters. However, I also really enjoy trying different foods and flavors from around the world.
 What is your comfort food?
My comfort food is Sancocho. This is a Latin dish that is simply a meats and vegetables stew. It just brings me great childhood memories of my grandma cooking up a big batch back in the island to share with family, friends and neighbors while enjoying a fun evening out in the patio. But when I’m tired or stressed, cupcakes and wine sooth me. I am just in love with these almond cupcakes. I can’t stop making them.
 Describe your perfect food day?
My perfect food day consist of a day out trying as many different foods as possible. I love to go out on a nice warm day and restaurant hop. Last summer a couple of friends and I took a chocolate tour around New York City. The guide took us around the meat district into a number of bakeries and chocolate stores, where we were able to taste anything we wanted. Then, we visited the World Trade Center Memorial and had lunch at a great Mexican restaurant nearby. After leaving the restaurant, we stopped for ice cream. That was a good day.
 What are three other blogs that inspire you?
Lindsay from Pinch of Yum has really been an inspiration to me. I love her casseroles and her pasta dishes are to die for. Her food photography is amazing.
Aunt Clara from Aunt Clara’s Kitchen has just thought me saw much about Dominican cooking and the dishes I grew up eating. I love going into her site looking for specific dishes I remember eating as a child. I know I can always find the recipes there.
Melissa at Hungry Food Love shares simple unique Latin recipes that will make you want to go home and just cook everything on her site.
 Do you have advice for bloggers just starting out?
My only advice would be to just do it. With the number of blogs out there, it can be really intimidating at times. Don’t give up, follow your passion, keep posting and the rest will come with time.
How about you? What would you like to ask Vanessa? What’s your favorite sweet?