Welcome to The ImaginIMG_4174ariYUM, a place devoted to the culinary imagination. Another food blog? Yes. I hope to take you on a journey, through the written word, where we discover strange new worlds together. Or, maybe just new ways of dreaming up good food. I hope you’ll taste it even before you make it. I hope the aromas wafting from my kitchen reach you wherever you are in the world.

The idea for this blog started a year before its existence, a mere zygote of a notion, when I was attempting to overthrow my entire baking arsenal in favor of a gluten-free lifestyle after my fella feared he had inherited, along with his mother’s good genes, her Celiac disease. If you want to create what you’ve always created but with a completely different set of rules, you’ve got to have a little imagination. I bought a scale. I had an entire shelf of different flours and starches. And I learned the properties of each, the chemistry of them. I almost mastered a perfect gluten-free cinnamon roll before the Celiac screening came back negative and we could go back to the way we were.

But not before understanding, more than ever before, what makes good food, well, good. Rich, buttery cookies laced with dark chocolate. Quills of pasta enrobed in piquant vodka sauce, peeking out from beneath a snowfall of Parmigiano Reggiano. The perfectly crackled crust exalting sliced Jersey tomatoes, oozing mozzarella, garlic, and basil from the back steps. Banana bread rising in the oven like the autumn sun.

Who am I? I’m Sarah — ahem, Sarah Hoffman. Just your typical writing, running, baking, and cooking fool. In a separate but equal life, I’m also a human rights professional and advocate. But for right now, I’m exercising my creative muscle in my small NYC kitchen — in Astoria, to be exact, nestled between two East River bridges like the perfect ice cream sandwich. Which would probably be made from peanut butter cookies and chocolate brownie ice cream. Probably.

Really, this is just the food I love to eat, and my kitchen is my lab. My imaginarium. We’re going to fall down sometimes. We’re going to slip in some melted chocolate, get rained on, have to take shelter from the lightning on the river. We’ll probably twist an ankle or two and suffer from exhaustion from the heat of the oven on a summer afternoon (or a winter’s day, which, in a New York City apartment, is almost always also unbearably hot).

But like running, this is an experiment to see how close we can get to ecstasy, in the form of the perfect culinary delight. And yes, sometimes it will be gluten-free.

So strap on a pair of running shoes, turn on your oven, and let’s go.


The ImaginariYUM logo was designed by the inimitable Katrina Soo Hoo. Check out her website to view more of her amazing work.

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