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Life and Work with Jennifer Mackenchery

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Mackenchery.

Jennifer, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My favorite place has always been the kitchen. When I was little, I would watch my mom cook our family of 5 delicious dinners almost every night of the week, as I sat and did my homework at the kitchen table beside her. I was in awe that she didn’t even have to follow a recipe to make us the most amazing meals. Even when I was too short to reach the counter, I was often standing alongside her, asking if I could help to stir, mix, pour, or plate whatever she was working on. Food has always been a big part of me, my family, and where I come from, and enjoying food with others continues to be one of my favorite things in life today.

Fast forward a few years to one of my final Master’s classes in education, which focused on writing instruction. As we wrapped up the semester, part of our final project was to complete a “genre study,” on any genre of text that we chose. Most of my peers chose genres that they knew they would be teaching come Fall when we all finally had our very own classroom full of students to teach. My classmates presented on fairy tales, folk tales, and nonfiction texts. My genre study focused on online blogs. An unusual choice, that had pretty much nothing to do with teaching, but I did a deep-dive into the genre nonetheless. As a final assessment, we had to take our research and create a product of that genre to present. Enter: www.allthesweetsandothereats.com.

I never expected that what started out as a project for a college class, would become my passion. Once I had created my blog, I knew that I wanted to continue writing about the food that I made and the recipes that I created. Over time, I’ve gone through lulls and hiatuses, where I’ve almost forgotten my blog even exists. However, over the past couple of years, I’ve started to take my blog a little more seriously. Not only do people deserve to know the secrets of how to craft the perfect chocolate chip cookie, or how to bake a cheesecake with no cracks, but my blog is also an outlet for a girl who loves to make food, is obsessed with talking about it, and craves the creativity that comes with writing about it.

Has it been a smooth road?
As I mentioned, I started my blog for a college class and didn’t totally take it seriously at the time. Throughout the years, I’ve pictured my future as a food blogger, but when I have reflected on the amount of work I have been actually putting into it, I came to realize that posting something once every few months isn’t really going to get me anywhere in the online world of sharing recipes. I started making small goals for myself when it came to blogging, so I told myself a couple of years back that I was going to blog once a month, no excuses. I was successful for a bit, and then life got in the way, as it always seems to do, and blogging was once again, the last thing on my mind.

I have done so much reading and research about what makes a food blog successful, and I know that consistency is key. I’ve now gotten into the habit of writing a blog post every time I make something new, especially as my blog and Instagram account (where I post pictures of everything I bake) have grown, and my readers message me directly, asking for new recipes. I’m nowhere near where I want to be yet, but my best advice for others who are on their own journey would be to set reasonable goals for yourself by picturing where you want to be a year from now. Dreams don’t work unless you do.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with All the Sweets and Other Eats – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
During the day, you’ll find me in a small classroom in an elementary school, teaching reading, writing and math to kids with disabilities. I’m probably covered in marker, and there’s a big chance I’ve already been sneezed on twice that day. It’s really no wonder that when I get home in the afternoon, I need to find a satisfying way to relax and unwind. Most teachers identify wine for these purposes, but I pretty much always choose one-on-one time with my KitchenAid mixer. I’m known by my friends and family for my incessant urge to bring cupcakes or brownies with me everywhere I go, for the bins of sprinkles that take up an entire cabinet in my kitchen, and my tendencies to triple the number of chocolate chips in the recipes I’m making. If you’re looking for ways to up your butter consumption, you should check out my blog. I can’t promise you nutrition facts on there (some things in life are too horrifying, and are just best left unsaid), but I can promise you dessert recipes that will solve pretty much all of your problems.

There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that a lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
It’s important to connect with others who are doing the same thing you are. I’ve actually met a lot of bloggers and foodies both online and in-person over the past couple of years, just by making good food, eating good food, and talking about good food. They’ve inspired me to try new things and make new recipes, and it’s been really fun to make new friends through it all!

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Image Credit:
Jennifer Mackenchery, Karoon Mackenchery

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