From simple recipes to table settings, floral and lifestyle ideas, food travels and life musings, Dana shares a style for everyday eating, easy entertaining and living life thoughtfully. Whether it’s a holiday feast, a garden party, a cocktail event or Tuesday dinner, her mantra is always the same; keep it simple, make it delicious, stir it with love.
About Me: Dana L. Perri
I'm Dana and welcome to 2Stir with Love, a place to share fun loving ways to cook, entertain and stir all of life with a little love.
I live in the cozy suburb of Westchester county in Hartsdale, NY, with my talented and super supportive husband, Juan Carlos. He is has a unique photographic eye. Every once and awhile he photographs me cooking and I’ll include those on the blog (Check out asithappens.me). All the rest of the photos featured in my posts are taken by me. For over 25 years I have been working in various fields of TV production, always dancing in the creative field being inspired to create something from nothing. After decades of intense work, great satisfaction and awards, I kept feeling my old desire to write which led to my first leap; writing a children's book series, Think...then Jump™ . This literally jump started my life into a period of fully expressing ALL the things I love. Writing, Cooking, Entertaining, Decorating. I got gigs within the culinary world both behind the scenes (working and baking for caterer, Mallon Enterprises) and in front and back of house at Despaña. These opportunities have helped me to round out my knowledge and experience. And so my journey continues making something from nothing, putting words and pictures together using all MY ingredients, always stirred with a thoughtful dose of Love.
I hope you find some tidbits on these pages. Maybe you use these ideas exactly as written or maybe they inspire you to stir in your own dose of love.
The Longer Journey
When I think of the long journey of opportunities to get here, I smile at a saying that friends and family have heard me say time and again. Everything happens for a reason, and when it is supposed to happen. I truly believe that. Opportunities, and just plain life come to us exactly at the right time. So although I have been creating dishes and baking for most of my life, it wasn’t until this moment that I have felt I had something to offer. (Well, I mean to others beyond the taste testers who have graced my dinner table.)
Like many of you, I was influenced by someone special. For me, it was three strong, talented women. My Italian grandmothers and mother put the love of sharing food and the art of cooking into my life. They were incredible, always making home cooked meals for everyday dinners or massive family gatherings.
This love started fairly early for me. I can’t say that there was an exact moment when I realized how much I love making and sharing food. Being in the kitchen with each of them seemed ever constant. All I know is that I loved watching them, helping them, and being a part of entertaining. It was where I wanted to be. All three women were powerhouses in the kitchen in both cooking and baking, which didn’t seem odd or unusual back then. However, I have come to realize that this combo is more rare now, since people tend to gravitate to one or the other. But through their love and guidance I have come to love both cooking and baking equally, but different. (Cooking I can experiment. Baking I need recipes, but I’m trying to experiment more.)
They each had recipes they made. I’m not sure if some were made up, passed down or from Good Housekeeping Recipe Book but they pretty much stuck to the dishes they knew (Chicken Cacciattore, Pasta Fagioli, Meatloaf with tomato sauce & veggies). For whatever reason, I didn’t have a desire to imitate those dishes but instead wanted to put different ingredients together and see what came of it. My Grandma Perri, born in Salerno, Italy, would watch me with doubtful eyes as I created dishes with ingredients that she didn’t think would work together. After staring me down and shaking her head she would finally let out her declaration, “mescolanza,” which is pretty much like saying, “What a mixed up mess!” But my ultimate payback against her disbelief came when we sat at the table and she would turn to me and say “not bad, not bad at all.”
And so began my cooking journey of making something from nothing instead of following recipes. This approach to cooking (which has permeated my approach to many things in life ) has led to some interesting inventions, like Zucchini Orzo Pie. Created simply due to the fact that my sister came into a boatload of zucchini and didn’t know what to do with it. After years of visiting her and other friends who would say “this is what I have in the pantry/fridge, what can you make?, my something from nothing technique was born, knowing deep down in my heart there is one essential ingredient that is always needed… Love.
So, here I am ready to share what I have created and continue to create along the way, always ready 2Stir with Love. Whatever we do or say it always turns out better when you whip it up with love. A salad, a cheese platter, a buffet table, a garage sale find or how we approach life. Join me in finding new ways to stir things up with my favorite ingredient.
Thanks for reading
Honor my heritage
Give, Share, Encourage and Be Thoughtful in my words and actions
Nourish my body, my soul and spirit
Brighten the world around me with things that make me smile
Give back whenever, wherever and as often as I can