Months of coronavirus quarantine have forced many of us to cook more. Whether you are a novice cook or a professional chef, staying at home makes cooking and menu planning a necessary survival skill. I enjoy cooking, and one of my favorite things is a recipe that is healthy and relatively easy to make that my whole family will devour.
Enter Alex Snodgrass, author of the New York Times bestseller The Defined Dish.
Alex’s blog and book have sparked a passion in cooking in many. Not only are her recipes easy to follow, Whole 30-approved, and delicious, but each recipe includes a picture of what you’re making. Although her publisher felt that only about 60% of the recipes needed a photo of the final product, Alex disagreed. ““I was like, ‘No, no, no! I don’t put recipes in a cookbook if they don’t have a picture with them.’” Alex said. “I was a blogger before I was an author, and on the blog all of my recipes have a picture… people came to buy my book because they liked my blog. If it’s not an extension of that, why would they want a book version?”
About 6 years ago, Alex and her sister Madison, a personal trainer, teamed up to start a food and fitness blog. After a couple of years, Madison married and stopped the fitness side of the blog. Alex decided to turn the food side of the blog into a business, and it quickly became a huge success.
Growing up in the small town of Celina, Texas, Alex would often help her mother cook “as her little sous chef.” Once she left home to attend Texas Christian University, she says that was when she “truly appreciated a home-cooked meal.” Tired of cafeteria food, she became the friend that loved to cook meals for her friends. She met her husband (and fellow foodie) Clayton at TCU; today they have two girls, seven-year-old Sutton and four-year-old Winnie.
In the introduction of The Defined Dish, Alex shares her struggle with postpartum anxiety the birth of Winnie. She had never experienced anxiety before, and she was open to finding ways to manage it. Her sister Madison had just completed her first Whole 30 program and encouraged Alex to do the same.
When Alex had finished the program, she remembers, “I felt the best I had in years and knew I wanted to make this new way of approaching food a part of my everyday life.” She began altering her blog recipes to fit her new way of eating, and people were loving them.
Does she still have moments where she indulges? Absolutely! Alex’s mindset is, “Nourish. Not Punish.”
In preparing for the interview, I reached out to some friends who are also big fans of Alex’s blog to find out what they wanted to ask Alex. One friend wanted to know if Alex considered herself an introvert or extrovert. If an introvert, how has becoming an “influencer” affected her? Alex laughed and said, “Mostly an introvert! When I started the blog with my sister years ago, social media wasn’t what it is today… I could hide behind the food… [When] Insta-stories came out, that was when my blog really shifted. I had to turn the camera around and share in a different way. It was so weird at first, but I’ve gotten very comfortable with it.”
Another friend asked, “What is your dream foodie vacation?” Alex said, “After the success of the book, my husband and I wanted to visit the coasts of France and Spain… specifically, San Sebastian, Spain, known for having the densest amount of Michelin-awarded restaurants in the world. Every big foodie says that’s their favorite spot to eat because it’s a blend of Mediterranean meets French … everything is super fresh, really clean ingredients and done right.”
Any new projects on the horizon? “I’d love to start working on another book now that my book tour is over, but right now I am just trying to focus on getting my family into our new home. Then I can start getting into all of that!”
In the movie Ratatouille, Chef Gusteau says, “What I say is true – anyone can cook. But only the fearless can be great.” Alex Snodgrass is fearless. She has overcome her fears to bring the joy of cooking back to kitchens around the world. So go forth and cook fearlessly! I promise you will not be disappointed.
Jennifer Kieta is a native Texan, born and raised in Houston. She graduated from Texas Tech University and has lived in Fort Worth since 1996. After marrying her husband, Brian in 1998, Jennifer worked as a Child Life Specialist at Cook Children’s Medical Center for 9 years before becoming a full-time mom to her two daughters. Her passion for helping people in healthcare transitioned into the fitness world in 2014. She now teaches spin and HIIT classes at local gyms. In December of 2017, Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her journey through a double-mastectomy and being able to call herself a Survivor and Overcomer has allowed her to have an even greater passion for helping people embrace every day and take care of themselves one day at a time.