Hi there! My name is Anita – welcome to Wild Thistle Kitchen – where I share rustic, comforting recipes, beautiful photos, lots of nostalgic food memories, and bits and pieces of my life.
In 2013, when I started this blog (under the OG name cook on a whim) I really had no idea what I was getting myself into; I just wanted to cook, write, and take pictures and since so many of my friends and family members were requesting recipes, it seemed like the perfect place to combine all three of my passions.
The name “cook on a whim” was inspired by the very real fact that I am a creative home cook who is known for whipping things up “on a whim.” I am not a meal planner. I am a wizard with leftovers and many meals are created last minute based on what I have in my pantry or fridge – and based on what I feel like eating. My appetite for food, cooking, and all things culinary was inspired early on by my father and has never stopped growing. After losing my dad suddenly in August of 2018, I made the switch to doing this food blogging and food photographing thing full time. The last two years have been full of so much – sadness, healing, growth, reaching goals, setting new goals, working my butt off and loving it. Here are a couple of posts that will take you along on the journey if you’re interested.
Recently, I changed my name to Wild Thistle Kitchen. I had been feeling for a long time that I didn’t really identify with cook on a whim anymore – I mean, I will always cook and do lots of other things on a whim – it’s my nature, but I felt like I grew out of that name – like it didn’t really represent me and my story especially after the huge changes I’ve experienced over the past couple years.
And wild thistles are near and dear to my heart. They remind me of my dad, my grandparents, of our land. They are just so representative of me and my slightly wild, non-conforming nature. I find beauty in rusticity. Wildflowers and what some might call weeds will always be my favorite flowers. My favorite photography backdrops were torn off of old barns and salvaged from falling down sheds. This name just feels better. It feels right.
This name change has been a long time coming, and while I’ll always love cook on a whim, I feel like I’ve grown out of that name and really grown into who I am as a blogger and photographer over the past few years.
A bit more about me
I am Virginia girl at heart and have traveled coast to coast, as well as visited far off lands with my dad including Dubai and the surrounding Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, and Turkey. I find inspiration everywhere I go and love bringing new ideas home to my kitchen. With a strong French influence, my meals are simple, classic, and unique. I love baking sweet treats, too. Especially on snow days.
In December, 2014 I graduated with honors from George Mason University, where I majored in English, minored in History, and loved every minute. The magnitude and significance of this is that I never graduated high school-something I was ashamed of for the longest time and something only a very small handful of people know. My family basically exploded my senior year, and I was emotionally abandoned. Thank goodness for my grandparents is all I have to say about that. So, when I finally decided I was ready to erase that terrible year, I went for it. Nothing like throwing a little Summa Cum Laude at your past to make yourself feel validated. I am so proud of my accomplishment-I did it. All by myself with lots of cheerleaders, including my friends, family, and kids. Being the best mother I can be to my kids and receiving my Bachelor’s degree are two things I did not learn from my childhood, two things nobody taught me how to do, and two things that nobody can ever take away from me.
My grandmother has filled the role of mother in my life, and I can’t have an about page without including her. She is indescribably wonderful – but I attempted to describe her here: My Grandma
After surviving several years in suburbia (never again) and a failed marriage, I am now living in the country in an 1889 farmhouse with lots of beautiful acres, married to the love of my life, raising our 5 kids together (blended family-my 2 plus his 3), chasing after our 5 maniac dogs: 3 french bulldogs, one English bulldog, and a miniature schnauzer, gardening, cooking, and loving. I never knew I could be so happy. We are planning on getting chickens and maybe goats; I’ll keep you posted.
I have been featured on The Feed Feed, as well as written several articles for a D.C. based online food magazine, DCfud, freelanced for The Fauquier Times-Democrat newspaper and guest-blogged for BeFunky.com in Portland, Oregon. I am currently a regular contributor to The Georgetowner and The Brookside Neighbors magazine. For more of my brand work: Brand Work and Features
I look forward to sharing my food adventures, childhood memories, travels, and kitchen experiences with you all. And of course my recipes and photos. Thank you for following along and for allowing me into your kitchens. – Anita
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on the following social channels: