Kate Kordsmeier is a freelance food and travel writer, author and creator of the food & wellness site, Root & Revel.
IN THE KITCHEN WITH KATE:
Bringing Flavor To Food & Life
Tell us about yourself:
Hi! I’m Kate Kordsmeier, the founder of Root + Revel. I live in Atlanta with my husband, Matt, and our two cats, Scout and Boo. Since 2010, I’ve been a full-time freelance food and travel writer and recipe developer. Today, you can find my work in over 100 magazines, newspapers and websites, including USA Today, Travel + Leisure, Wine Enthusiast, Real Simple and Cooking Light.
In October 2015, after being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Leaky Gut Syndrome, insulin resistance and hypothyroidism, and subsequently healing my symptoms naturally (no meds required!), I created Root + Revel. Though I’m a food writer—it’s literally my job to eat and report on the world’s most delicious foods—and a food lover, who believes strongly that life is not worth living without fried chicken, cheese and wine, I’ve also seen firsthand the power of nutrition and how much the food we eat affects the way we feel. After my diagnosis, I was blown away by the rapid transformation I saw in my own body from simple, natural and holistic lifestyle changes. Truly, the food I ate and the natural products I used (and the toxic products I tossed!) have helped me live a near symptom-free life, and I wanted to share what I’ve learned with all of you.
How did you get involved in cooking:
Before you click away thinking I’m some dirty hippie who doesn’t wear deodorant or some health nut who only eats kale, let me be clear: first and foremost, I am a food lover. I was lucky enough to have parents who refused to let me be a picky eater, who introduced me to new foods and flavors every day and a mother who cooked dinner for our family almost every night. My mom taught me that cooking is caring, that food brings people together, that a delicious meal can turn any bad day around and that the best memories are made around the table.
By the time I graduated, I was completely obsessed with food. I can remember waking up on Saturday mornings eager to try out the latest Ina Garten recipe (I credit her for teaching me most of what I know about cooking), and I spent all my time studying cookbooks and eating at as many independent, chef-driven restaurants as I could afford.
Eventually, I decided to make a career out of my love for food and became a professional food writer. I spent the next five years eating my way around the world, exploring cultures through their cuisines and trying intoxicating foreign ingredients whose memory always lingered long after the last bite. But then I got sick and everything changed. That’s when I truly discovered the power of food.
Describe your cooking style:
This journey has taught me that balance is the key to health and happiness. I now live my life by the 80-20 rule: be as healthy as you can 80 percent of the time (i.e. Root), and learn to let go and celebrate life the other 20 percent (i.e. Revel) and I follow the anti-inflammatory diet, which absolutely changed my life. When people hear the word diet, they automatically think about counting calories and eating bland, tasteless food. But the truth is, an anti-inflammatory diet isn’t a diet at all–it’s simply a way of eating, a lifestyle. And it isn’t totally restrictive. There’s room for all food in a balanced diet. Try not to be too dogmatic about food, or feel the need to apply strict labels. Mostly, we focus on just eating real food. Remember, I’m a food writer (and food lover!) first, so even though my recipes are all healthy, packed with nutrition and super good for you, they are also DELICIOUS and chock full of FLAVOR. That is my promise to you–I will never suggest you just bake a boneless, skinless chicken breast, steam some broccoli and call it dinner. Blech! Flavor is paramount at Root + Revel, and all of our recipes look and taste as good as they will make you feel.
How did you learn about grass-fed meats:
Years ago, I traveled to California for a story I was writing about animal welfare. It was my first visit to a working cattle ranch and I quickly became obsessed with finding the highest quality animal protein that was raised humanely, and sustainably. It’s better for us, for the animals, and the planet. It’s such a win-win!
What is your favorite recipe featuring grass-fed meat:
I’ve learned that food is best when prepared simply, so I love throwing grass-fed meat on the grill with a simple marinade.
You’re stranded on a desert island; luckily you’re stranded with your top 5 ingredients and must-have kitchen tool:
Garlic and red pepper flakes, for sure. I don’t think I’ve ever made a savory recipe without those two ingredients. Likewise, I love putting gluten-free soy sauce (Tamari) on just about everything. I’m so torn on the proteins, as I love eggs, salmon and flank steak. But I’d definitely need avocado and potatoes. Ok wait, I’m already over, haha. Spoken like a true foodie 😉 Must have tool: got to be my Vitamix.
Best cooking secret/tip/piece of advice you’ve learned:
Never follow a recipe exactly (unless you’re baking). Be present while you cook, taste as you go, watch what your food is doing, add your spin to it, make it yours. And cook with love.
Favorite quote/song for culinary inspiration:
“People who love to eat are always the best people.” –Julia Child
Anything else you want to share:
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that eating healthy means spending lots of money. Here are 30 Ways to Save Money + Eat Healthy on a Budget.