Park City native Lauren Allen has been sharing her love of food and cooking for over 10 delicious years through her popular website and blog, BestTastesofScratching.com.
On September 27, Allen will add a side dish to his website with the “Better taste from a scratch cookbook.”
“A cookbook has always been a dream of mine,” said Allen, known as Lauren Bailey in Park City High School’s class of 2003. “It’s something I’ve thought about for years since I started the business. It’s just been hard to figure out how to do it.
Allen, now a mother of four, had grown up with the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, known for its red and white checkered tablecloth cover, and used it as a catalyst for what she wanted her own book to be. .
“I always knew I wanted my first book to be like the ‘Taste Better from Scratch’ cooking bible that people would want to use for every meal, every day,” she said. “I wanted this to be the resource you go to.”
Another source of inspiration was the 10 million readers of his monthly blog.
“I was a little worried about how my fans would feel because a lot of people in my position would typically post a cookbook with 150 new and unique recipes,” Allen said. “But I wanted mine to be more of a mix. I wanted the book to have all the basics, fan favorites, and some fun new recipes. I wanted the book that represented my favorites, and often my favorites lined up with my fan favorites.
The recipe categories are breakfast, muffins and breads, entrees, salads and sides, soups and desserts.
“I wanted to have lots of main course recipes because I think that’s where people struggle the most — needing to cook their family’s dinner after they get home from work,” Allen said. “I also wanted to include fun and unique recipes that were accessible and doable for all levels of cooks.”
Allen began putting the book together two years ago.
“That’s when I started testing recipes and making a list of which ones I wanted to include,” she said.
The final product, which is available on Amazon, Walmart.com, barnesandnoble.com and target.com, includes 116 recipes and photos, and it also includes freezing tips and QR codes that link to instructional videos.
Allen said it was a dream come true to hold the finished book in his hands.
“When it arrived in the mail, I cried,” she said. “It’s pretty surreal to see something you’ve spent so much time on in a beautiful, hardcover form.”
Publishing the cookbook wouldn’t have been possible if Allen hadn’t created her website, which began as a blog while she was attending Brigham Young University.
“Food was a fun part of growing up, and my family grew up in a warm place,” she said. “Many of my mother’s friends came from France, Germany and Portugal. We had neighbors who loved to share recipes and my mom was a wonderful cook, so our kitchen was a gathering place for my family.
From the time Allen was 5 and 6, she was in the kitchen learning new recipes from her mother.
“It’s always been something I loved to do, so I was really surprised when I went to college that people were buying pre-made pie crusts and eating store-bought jams,” a- she declared. “Also, the cafeteria had the most mediocre food I’ve ever seen. So I was constantly calling my mom, talking with my sister, and getting recipes to take home.
While making these recipes, Allen felt the need to start documenting them in a blog so she could share them with her housemates, friends, and the rest of her family.
“I called the blog ‘Taste Better from Scratch’ because I felt no one really understood how much better cooking from scratch was. Plus, pre-made things at the store taste horrible and they’re expensive, while cooking from scratch is more affordable and healthier.
Allen continued to add new recipes to her blog after she and her husband, Jeff Allen, also a Park City High School graduate, graduated.
“My husband and I moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he started law school, and I either had to get a real job or take a big leap of faith,” Allen laughed. “With the encouragement of my husband and family, I turned (the blog) into my real job and did everything I could to build my website.”
Allen had studied new media design and journalism in college, and those courses included photography, writing, and editing.
“It’s funny to think how they all play in my hobby,” she laughs. “Nice to see.”
The blog started racking up page views, which amazed Allen.
“A lot of people had blogs back then, 10 years ago, so it was surprising to read comments from strangers and random people who found my recipes online,” she said.
Since the website and blog attract millions of readers each month, Allen ensures that the content she posts has integrity.
“It started with the food I love, and while it still does, I think as the business has grown there has to be a balance between what people seek and want mixed with what inspires me,” she said. . “While I cook Monday through Thursday, we eat out on weekends because I love trying new foods. So I have a list of things I want to try and test to see if I want to put it on. the website. The recipes have to be something that I’m really proud to promote or I just won’t share them.”
The main reason for Allen’s selectivity is his audience.
“I have a loyal following because people trust me,” she said. “They found me because we’re similar foodies, and I have to keep that in mind.”
Maintaining the quality of the business is also why Allen hires women who, like her, care about the recipes and the website.
“My sister (Liz Haslem) was my first hire,” Allen said. “Since then, I’ve had the chance to provide jobs for amazing women who can also work from home on something they’re passionate about, which is exciting for me.”