I love cooking and have been doing it for a long time. It’s something really important to me. I do have a complicated relationship with food, but who doesn’t.

People love my home-cooked food and would compliment me on my culinary skills (I have no professional training) but for the longest time, I didn’t quite get what was that secret sauce in my cooking that makes it so good. As an educator, I also wondered how to pass “this thing I have” to others?

And then I read about culinary therapy. It all made sense!

I love cooking for myself…

This tweet by Bettina Makalintal (@bettinamak) hit home. Hard.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot during 2020. Did my immigrant experience prepare me for this pandemic?

My husband and I are immigrants and both our parents are in our respective home countries. Every year during the holidays, when we’re asked what our plans are it’s either traveling or by ourselves at home. Out of almost 20 years, I’ve lived in the States only a handful of the holidays was celebrated with family. …

When food smiles at you, you can’t help it but smile back. Photo by Lily Ciric Hoffmann.

We all have to eat, right. For some, it’s a simple act of moving food from the plate to your mouth, from point A to point B.

Food is more than what we eat. It can heal us, make us laugh or cry, makes us forget or remember, helps us (re)focus, teach us about success and failure, connect us to others and ourselves, and so much more. Food can make us feel.

How can cooking help with all the feelings of stress and anxiety that we are having during the pandemic instead of adding more to our plates?

Cooking is…

It brings me pure joy to cook for myself. When all else is out of my control, the type of food I make and eat is in my power. But not in a calorie counting way. If I am stressed, cooking calms me down. It’s very therapeutic.

It’s part of my creativity, opening the fridge and deciding what I can make with what I have. I don’t like wasting food and it makes my brain happy when I can make so many different meals out of a zucchini: grilled, turned into zoodles, ribbons, hummus, possibilities are endless.

It’s my artistic…

Last semester, eight senior journalism students attended my advanced multimedia class at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. From the start, the students were placed in three teams and each group worked on a community issue of their choice.

This class had an emphasis on interactivity, design thinking, creative problem solving and action planning. My goal was to teach them advanced JavaScript data visualization, using third-party APIs, but most importantly I wanted them to learn the design thinking method and apply it to their media and communication projects.

This class allowed for a lot of creativity and creative problem-solving. This…

My co-founder and I are doing user research on learning new skills and what drives you to stay on top of your game. Our goal is to better understand learning needs, pain points, and motivations when it comes to advancing professionally and personally.

The end results will help us make the Knewaira platform more valuable and helpful for you as a lifelong learner. Your responses and email are strictly confidential and will be kept private.

If you have 2 minutes, we have a 13 questions survey ready for your input below.

We will follow up with those interested in…

As toddlers, we learn so many things by ourselves. We fall, we get up, sometimes we cry, other times we giggle, but we’re persistent at succeeding. We have our parents, grandparents and other supporters cheering us on, but at the end, the journey and the success are ours.

We do it on our own.

“This is how WE do it”

As we get older and go through formal or informal education, someone teaches us how to do things. There are rules and ways of doing things, and if you don’t follow, you will fail.

Have you ever felt that as a kid everyone tells you what…

I love to learn and test new tools. When it comes to my personal growth and learning, I find it increasingly difficult to keep track of everything. How many books I’ve read, how many short tutorial videos and webinars I’ve watched, how many and which coding classes I took and where, how many new contacts I’ve added to LinkedIn, and on and on and on.

According to my password manager, LastPass, I have 90+ online accounts!

While this includes everything from banking, emails, library, entertainment, social media, work, education, and miscellaneous accounts, the majority is learning related.

The email…

Photo by Maria Fernanda Gonzalez on Unsplash

Goal: Lose 10 pounds in a month.

You set up a plan about the wholesome, whole grain, veggie-rich food that you’re going to eat, and when are you going to exercise and for how long.

Week one, all is well, week two things start to slip up. You feel guilty for not sticking up to the plan, but you do your best to get to the finish line.

Result: Lost 1–2 pounds in a month.

Is this a success or a failure? In our binary yes-or-no world, this is a failure.

But let’s look at it more carefully.

Have you…

My citizenship ceremony on July 4, 2012.

I became an American citizen in 2012. Bad government is all I know coming from the Balkans. Seeing all the people crying yesterday left me saddened because it’s all too familiar. All I wanted to do is listen and give everyone hugs.

I know the feeling, I cried, and my home country cried too. I left Serbia when I was 20 and came to this country. I am not leaving again.

All day yesterday I was getting condolences from my friends around the world. There is sadness but also a message “welcome to the club.” So many countries have gone…

Lily Ciric Hoffmann

Creator of @dishmeetup. Creative techie in love w/ multimedia storytelling, design thinking & the healing power of homecooked food. http://www.dishmeetup.com/

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