Interview with Anne from Yes, Please Bakes
Food is so communal. I wrote my anthropology final paper all about how sharing food strengthens bonds between groups of people and that is what this is all about.
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Anne Aretz. I am born and raised in Boston and back living in the South End of Boston after nearly 10 years in New York City. In another life, I was a marketing and brand manager at a strategy and design consultancy, but these days I do freelance work and work on getting Yes, Please Bakes up and running!
Share your approach to food with us: what do you like to cook? Why?
Food has always been such a big part of my life. A day when I don’t cook or bake is just weird. I love to cook soups. When I was younger, my dad was the soup master (still is). After thanksgiving, he would take the turkey carcass and make a stock with onions, leeks, carrots and celery. My favorite treat, aside from eating the soup, was to eat the carrots and celery that had been simmered with the bones, which my dad always saved for me. So soup always seems so comforting to me and I love to make it.
Describe your food personality in 5-7 words
Simple, nostalgic, comforting, no frills, delicious
What are your 3-5 favorite recipes? Why? Tell us about them!
Malted Triple Chocolate Cookies: Christina Tosi opened my eyes to putting nonfat dry milk powder in cookies. It really changed the texture of a cookie. So I wanted to take it one step further and put malted milk powder in a cookie. All I will say is, bake them, eat them; you’ll be converted. Recipe here.
Maple Pumpkin Spice Cake: I do not love pumpkin. I am not a person who lines up for Pumpkin Spice lattes. So I wanted to make a pumpkin cake that wouldn’t necessarily hit you in the face with that pumpkin flavor. Also, one of my best friends has an adorable little daughter who is allergic to eggs, so I was extra determined to make a vegan cake. Pumpkin is a great way to add moisture to a vegan and gluten-free cake. The result is pretty fantastic. Recipe here.
Paleo Chocolate Cake: I am a chocoholic. Right now in my fridge, I have 7 different chocolate bars that are just for snacking. Brownies are also my all time favorite dessert (that recipe is a closely guarded secret), but they are far from healthy. This recipe started out as a way to make paleo brownies, but the texture is just not brownie-like so I don’t call them brownies. It’s a very moist, chocolatey cake texture, but free of dairy, grains and refined sugar. Recipe here.
What’s your favorite thing about Want the Recipe?
I think that I have about 200 recipes bookmarked in my browser, another 200 in PDF form on my computer and I still can never find the one I want. I love the idea of having an app to do all of this for me, but also show me new recipes at the same time. Also food is so communal. I wrote my anthropology final paper all about how sharing food strengthens bonds between groups of people and that is what this is all about.
What food can you not live without?
Nut butter of any kind. I love any and all nut butter. Ok not all, I could live without walnuts (sorry walnuts).
What kitchen appliance do you swear by?
Can I chose two? (Yes!) An immersion blender. While I would love to have a VitaMix, they are massive and my city kitchen does not have the space. An immersion blender is cheaper, smaller and, if you get a good one, works just as well as traditional blender.
The other one is a kitchen scale. When it comes to baking especially, it is super useful. Weighing out ingredients versus using volume measurements (cups, etc) makes it easier to get consistent results and makes it infinitely easier to double or half a recipe if you need to.
What are your favorite blogs/ Instagram accounts that you follow? What do you like about them?
I adore Smitten Kitchen. Her whole approach to baking and cooking completely meshes with mine. Nothing is too much of a faff, she’s always hilarious and so relatable. Also her photos are taken with context. One of the things that I think is really important in food photography is context.
The Beaming Baker is another favorite. She is so SO talented at making dietary restriction friendly baked goods and her recipes are so easy to follow.
The last one has nothing to do with food. @Recipeforselflove on instagram is my favorite. It delivers little affirmations and reminders that are so important. It’s a beautiful illustration with a one liner that just centers you or gives you something to think about each day. Since I am someone who tends to be anxious and overthink things, I need these little reminders.
Do you have any advice for our food community?
What I would say is my best advice is something I still say to myself everyday: you never know what you can do unless you try it. I doubted myself as a baker for a long time, still do, but every day I keep baking and learning and that helps my confidence in the kitchen.
Also be authentic. A lot of what you see in social media is so manipulated to be insta-perfect. Personally, I am not drawn in by those pictures since I don’t really feel the realness in them. The more authenticity there is, the more you there is in something, the more authentic. Food is an extremely emotional entity (literally tied to our emotion and memory centers in our brains. I am a nerd I know) so use your real emotion and life in it!
What’s your Instagram handle, blog link, any other social media or accounts you’d like us to share!
You can find me on:
My blog: yespleaseyum.com