The Wooden Spoon is a vegetarian Hungarian cooking and baking blog written by me, Sarah Elek.  I am an artist living in the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland with my fantastic boyfriend and partner in crime, Misha Deming.  I came to Maryland from Tampa, Florida in 2005 to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art.  After graduating in 2009 with a BFA in Art History, Printmaking, and Curatorial Studies, I moved from downtown to Mt. Washington and began working for Whole Foods Market.   I am currently a member of the Bakery team in the Mt. Washington store, and aspire to be a cake decorator.

When I’m not at work, you can usually find me at home, in my studio, painting or sewing or printing something.  If I’m not in my studio, I might be out playing tennis, hiking, doing yoga, swimming, or drinking wine on the front porch.

Misha works for Whole Foods as well (that’s where we met!).  He is the Coffee Buyer for the Specialty team.  His greatest passion, though, is for all things beer.  Along with his friend and brew partner, Erik, he grows hops on a farm and brews delicious beer.  He also happens to be an amazing cook, and helps me in more ways than I can count- from running to the store for confectioner’s sugar at the last minute to pouring me a glass of wine when a recipe is stressing me out to teaching me the proper way to cut vegetables.

This blog was inspired by my Grandmother, Margaret Elek.  She passed down my Hungarian heritage to me through food, and I grew up eating and loving Hungarian food.  It is named “The Wooden Spoon” partially because you really need a wooden spoon to cook Hungarian, and partially because of the running joke in my family over the Hungarian word for wooden spoon- “Fakanal” (pronounced exactly the way your dirty mind is imagining).  Grandma would always threaten you with the “Fakanal” if you were bad.  Hungarian food preparation tends to be difficult and labor-intensive, so this blog will share all of my trials and tribulations with making old and new recipes as I work towards being as incredible a Hungarian chef as my Grandmother was.  I welcome outside tips, tricks, and general knowledge, as making and eating Hungarian food is largely a community experience.  Most of the recipes you find here will be my Grandma Elek’s, though I will be sourcing from other Hungarian cookbooks as well as trying to create some new recipes of my own.

Most of my content will be about vegetarian Hungarian food, BUT, I will probably blog about other things as well- cakes, vegetarian products, great restaurants, our lives, and so on and so forth.  I talk a lot in real life, so expect me to talk a lot here, too.  You can also visit me on my personal blog,  There are lots of fun photos on there, including various cakes I’ve made, artwork, nature shots, and more!

All the photos you will see on the blog are either taken shot by me using my Sony Cybershot (hopefully one day I will be able to afford a real camera), my iPhone, or scanned from old family photos.  As polaroids don’t really exist any longer, and I don’t have an iphone, I will sometimes use the Poladroid 0.9.6r0 to simulate polaroid photos.  I love photography (I majored in it at my arts high school) and try to take the best pictures I can with the equipment I have.  I will also be including drawings and paintings of food, all of which will also be done by me.  The theme of the blog is the WordPress theme Wu Wei, and I had lots of awesome help with design details from web designer Ryan Fidler.

So, welcome to The Wooden Spoon- thank you for reading!  Please let me know if you have any positive thoughts about The Wooden Spoon or anything you would like to contribute.