snap: Greg Balkin

snap: Greg Balkin

It started with food, which is ironic because I thought my cooking skills plateaued in middle school with boxed mac and cheese and pb&j. It wasn’t until after college that I began cooking. My roommate was vegan and convinced me to split a weekly CSA produce basket with her. This delivery quickly became the most exciting part of my week. The colors, the shapes, the endless amount of googling to find out what the heck romanesco is! Before I knew it, I was whipping up new combos of roasted veggies and unconventional salads to use our beloved produce before it rotted. It was a game, and I was usually victorious. It was only those damn onions that proved to be a tough opponent.

Fast forward to living in rural Uganda where I worked for a social enterprise, learned to camp near Pride Rock lookalikes, and fought bugs as big as my hand. The food colors were bright, but variety was low. It’s here I began playing with spices and recreating pinterest recipes with the  limited ingredients and tools I had to work with. 3 ingredient banana pancakes in an old camp pan and curries over a small gas stove became typical, often enjoyed over candlelight due to absent power. The lack luster variety helped develop a fondness for simple recipes that could be cooked anywhere. During all this I was writing, wondering, and seeking ways to bring others into this simple life.

So now I sit, a Bon Appetit magazine on one side of me and thai take out on the other. I’m 26, a wannabe marketing maven, with a childlike wonder for mountains. In the same year I bought my first pair of hiking boots, I learned to set up a tent, backpacked 55km of Iceland's  Highlands, and had multiple recipes published. Everything fell in place for me to fall in love with the outdoors, including a vibrant community of audacious twenty-somethings that creates together, plays together, gets lost together. These people inspire me to see the world vibrantly, and also provide lots of mouths to try those experimental recipes.