We are thrilled to showcase our April Member of the Month, JoyfulCook. Joy has been a Food.com chef since 2005, and hosts the Topic of the Month and African Cooking forums. Her favorite ingredients are seasonal and her love for authentic regional cuisine shows through in all of her recipes.
What was it like living abroad at an early age?
I went to boarding school in Shillong, Assam, India. I loved taking overnight trains to the Indian border with all the hustle, bustle and vendors selling their goods.
You’ve traveled extensively. What’s your favorite country?
The place that I enjoyed living the most was India. It was like stepping into an adventure story with everything new, exciting and vibrant.
You met your husband in East Africa. What were you doing there at the time?
I was in Kenya in East Africa, working for East African Airways. Being an avid lover of wildlife, I was certainly in my element. The game parks were so close and it was quite different learning to drive in the parks – no traffic, just potholes. This is where I met my Cornish husband, Simon. I remember thinking what a great sense of humor he had! We married a year later in Perth, Australia. We went back to Kenya for our anniversary — what memories!
How have your travels influenced your cooking?
I was actually introduced to Indian food at boarding school, and it has been one of my favorite foods to cook ever since. I’d watch the cook turn out the most-wonderful meals by cooking over a tula. A tula is a huge, baked mud contraption with a hole. A fire is lit under the hole and the pot goes on top.
What other cuisines do you gravitate toward?
Indian, Chinese or really any Asian food is my favorite. To be fair, I love all kinds of food, and whenever we go on holidays, my husband and I search out the small, locally owned restaurants where we can try the native food.
You’re anti-packaged food. What are some tricks to help substitute fresh ingredients?
I try to avoid using packaged food by choosing to make recipes that only require fresh ingredients (except for tinned tomatoes and kidney beans, which I use often). Many canned and frozen ingredients are not available where I currently live in Lincolnshire, England.
What are your favorite Food.com recipes?
My favorite Food.com recipes are Zurie’s Cape Malay Chicken Curry, JustJanS’ Fish Pie (I use half the amount of fish and substitute large prawns for the rest) and Amanda l b’s Best Chicken Tagine.
What do you enjoy the most about being a forum host?
I find hosting so enjoyable! I have met many friends, and I like helping people with their queries and comments.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not in the kitchen?
I adore cooking — don’t we all? I also enjoy photography, traveling and, if I have the time, reading. I love history and I enjoy visiting wonderful ancient churches and castles.
What’s one fun fact we should know about you?
I have a bit of a crazy attitude toward life and that’s what gets me through. I got my unrestricted motorbike license in Western Australia many years ago and only gave it up recently. The traffic these days is not friendly to bike riders — not at my age anyway.
Learn more about our community, by visiting these recently featured members:
Know a good cook that should be our next Member of the Month? Or do you yourself want to be featured? Contact us!