Interview: Kathryne Taylor of Cookie + Kate
As some of you might know, I started @okcveggie on Instagram as a way to share recipes with friends and family without bombarding people on my personal account. Turning OKC Veggie into a blog, or into any sort of brand, never crossed my mind; back in 2014, I thought blogs were super “been there done that.”
But as I became more active on Instagram in the past year, I was asked more and more often if I had recipes available—if I posted them online, if I had a blog, if I sent out emails. All of this feedback, of course, was incredibly encouraging and made me reconsider my original stance.
Six months in, I’m as enamored with blogging as I am with Instagram. When I first started out, I studied the feeds of well-known foodies like Ree Drummond and drew inspiration from locals in the OKC food scene, like Malory Craft (aka okcovereasy). I don’t remember how I first came across Cookie + Kate (probably via Pinterest), but I was totally hooked! Kathryne Taylor is a vegetarian, a dog lover, and, after doing a bit more research, a graduate of my alma mater, the University of Oklahoma. The stars were aligned, people. I had to talk to Kate!
I hope you enjoy this new series in which I feature short interviews with some of my foodie friends and idols. In my mind, there’s no better person to kick this off than Kathryne Taylor of Cookie + Kate! I spoke with her via email about some of her favorite OKC restaurants, how she got into food blogging and, most importantly, what her self-described “jaunty spotted mutt” Cookie likes to eat.
What are the five ingredients you cook with most often?
Kathryne Taylor: I'd say olive oil, lemon, green onion, garlic and goat cheese or feta.
What’s one of the recipes on your blog that you’re most proud of?
KT: That's a tough question! I can't say that I'm the most proud of any one recipe, but I love coming up with colorful ways to enjoy fresh produce, like this spaghetti squash burrito bowl. I also love researching basic recipes to the ends of the internet and trying them over and over to make my own favorite, like my simple marinara sauce.
Your About section says, “I choose not to cook meat, so all of the recipes on Cookie and Kate are vegetarian.” Do you eat meat at restaurants and just prefer not to cook with it, or are you fully vegetarian?
KT: I'm a vegetarian who might eat fish once or twice a year, if it's local and sustainably caught and I'm in the mood for it—which, being in Kansas City, almost never happens. I don't eat any other meat products.
What was the “aha” moment for you when you realized you could make a career out of being a food blogger?
KT: I definitely had an "aha" moment after I published my first recipe. I had started Cookie and Kate as a creative project and outlet for writing and photography, but I quickly ran out of content. I shared my first recipe and quickly realized that recipes were the answer—I could wrap stories and photos around them, plus recipes felt like very healthy and approachable content to share.
I started following more food blogs at that point, like Smitten Kitchen and 101 Cookbooks. I think they were working full-time on their blogs back then, so it seemed possible but unlikely that I could make a career out of it!
Above, some of my favorite dishes from Kate’s favorite OKC restaurants! Top left: Cauliflower Bread Pudding via Cheever’s. Top right: Build-Your-Own Pizza via Hideaway Pizza. Bottom left: Broccolini Melt via Kitchen No. 324. Bottom right: Huevos Rancheros via Cafe Kacao.
Where do you do your grocery shopping?
KT: Kansas City just got a new Whole Foods that isn't far away, and I love perusing their products for ideas and buying beautiful (often local) produce there. Otherwise, I typically order groceries from Natural Grocers or other grocery stores via Instacart.
You obviously live in Kansas City now, but what were some of your favorite restaurants back in Oklahoma?
KT: I grew up loving Hideaway Pizza, and I still do. I'm obsessed with Pepe Delgados, Juan del Fuego and Thai Basil in Norman. My friends and I could go on about Pepe's all night. In OKC, I've had great meals at Cheever’s, Packard's, Cafe Kacao, Barrios, and Kitchen No. 324. I'm definitely forgetting some great restaurants here—there are so many great new ones in OKC!
Have you ever created a recipe that you thought sounded amazing but just ended up totally failing?
KT: Oh yeah, totally. This still happens to me often! In the past few months, I've tried making broccoli alfredo and pasta alla norma, and I couldn't get either of them to turn out awesome enough.
Finally, two-part question: what’s Cookie’s favorite food, and have you ever made a dog-friendly recipe just for her?
KT: Cookie gets VERY excited about carrots and bananas. I swear that she can hear me pull the vegetable peeler out of the drawer; she comes running! I actually haven't made a dog-friendly recipe for her, since she's so thrilled eating carrots and those are good for her!