Welcome to The Cook to Love Project!
My name is Laura Marzola. I am a 30-year-old vegan, lesbian, feminist, activist living in Houston, TX, where I blog about cooking, eating, and creative, inspired living. I started this blog, originally titled “Cook to Love,” in November 2011, one year after I was diagnosed with celiac disease. Cook to Love was part of my attempt to find tasty, creative ways for integrating gluten-free foods into a healthful, plant-based diet.
At around the same time, I found myself nurturing a growing interest in the relationships between food, health, and power in our society. My desire to live a healthy lifestyle, one constructed around a balanced vegan diet and regular exercise, fueled those intellectual pursuits. As I began to understand and grapple with more and more of the issues surrounding food-health-power relationships, the concept behind my blog began to change.
In August 2012, I started a second blog, The Breakfast Blog, dedicated to healthy living advice. The name, “The Breakfast Blog,” not only served to pay homage to my favorite meal of the day, but it also illustrated my belief that every day marks an opportunity for growth and self-improvement.
In November 2012, I decided to merge those two sites and invited others to join me on my blogging adventure: friends, acquaintances, former classmates, fellow bloggers, and readers from across the globe. The Cook to Love Project was born. It was founded on the simple notion that, in order to create a healthier, more accepting, inclusive society, we–each of us–must first improve our relationships with ourselves.
I am as passionate about animal rights as I am about human rights, and I recognize the connections between the exploitation of animals, the destruction of nature, and the oppression of human beings through racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, and the like. My love and respect for both human and non-human life are deeply and inextricably tied to my passion for food, as is my desire to live in a world that does not tolerate violence in any of its forms. I would love nothing more than to live in a society that values compassion over greed and exploitation, that recognizes fear, hate, and displays of force for the dangerous weaknesses they are, and that understands the tremendous strength behind every act of kindness. This blog represents a collaborative effort to end violence by encouraging others to heal and empower themselves. To eat and live healthfully, creatively, and compassionately.
All of the recipes on this site meet three criteria:
1.) They are vegan.
2.) They are gluten-free.
3.) They are healthy. Recipes center around the use of whole food ingredients–whole grains and whole grain flours, beans, nuts, seeds, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Daily Granola
In addition to the recipes featured here, The Cook to Love Project features a column called, “The Daily Granola,” dedicated to healthy, creative living, with posts on a variety of topics, ranging from fitness tips and healthy cooking tutorials to advice on emotional well-being, healing, and self-empowerment. This column is a space for the creation of practical, real-life solutions for each and every individual. A place where each of us can become inspired to live healthier, happier, more productive, empowered lives.
I chose the name, “The Daily Granola,” for two reasons:
1.) The Daily Granola represents an array of opinions and practical solutions to real-life problems from a variety of individuals, each with a unique and tremendously valuable point of view. What brings us together is our desire to live positive, enriching, fulfilling, and healthy lives, while sharing what we have learned, and continue to learn, with others.
2.) The title, “The Daily Granola,” for me, conjures images of a healthy breakfast. I believe every day presents us with a unique and valuable set of challenges and opportunities for improving ourselves and our world. When we learn to view each passing moment as being full of possibility, and each day as a fresh start, the opportunity always exists for good things to happen in our lives. “The Daily Granola” is as much about having a positive attitude toward living as it is about eating delicious and nutritious food.
This column is, and always will be, open to new contributors. We invite you to join us in sharing our stories, our struggles, our successes, and our solutions. If you are interested in contributing, please visit the Contact/Contribute page for more information.
Why Cook to Love?
I spend a great deal of time reading, researching, and struggling to understand the mechanisms by which different forms of violence manifest themselves, the ways in which they permeate our lives, and the effects they have on the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being of every individual on this planet. I’ve read and engaged in any number of scholarly, intellectual, and highly analytical discussions of these issues and many of their proposed solutions.
That research and those conversations inform the content of this blog; however, the most valuable lessons I’ve learned about living happily, lovingly, and contentedly, did not come from books or intellectual conversation. They came from the people I love. From spending time with my family and friends.
Many of my most beloved memories involve my family and friends gathered around my grandmother’s table, eating her scratch-made Italian food, drinking, laughing, and enjoying one another’s company. That, for me, is the definition of love and the meaning of true abundance.
It is also from those experiences and those memories that I learned to understand the power of food. My grandmother taught me that food is love, which is why, on this blog, I choose to speak with you primarily through food. I believe I engage a far greater source of personal power when I speak from my heart, rather than communicating only the thoughts in my head.
My grandparents also taught me that food can bring people together and that there are few greater pleasures in life than cooking for, and giving selflessly to, the ones you love. For those reasons, I dedicate this blog to their memories.
To Nancy and Anthony Marzola, the memories of whom continue to bless my life with an unparalleled richness, and who, by their examples, became the teachers of one of my life’s most valuable lessons: love can, and always should, be delicious.