Serena Wolf first realized the majority of men she knew missed the nutritional mark when her fiancé assumed he was doing his body a service by eating a buffalo chicken salad for lunch everyday. As a result, she developed a mission: to demystify healthful eating for dudes in a way that was both educational and fun. Ergo launched “The Dude Diet,” a series of posts on Serena’s blog, Domesticate ME!, which would evolve into a full-on cookbook by the same name. BRIKA spoke to Serena about the less traditional career path she took to get there, and she shared her recipe for Trashed Up Turkey Burgers, below.
You didn’t always follow the most traditional career path – it took you some trial by error to figure out what your true calling was. Why did you decide to become a food blogger-turned-cookbook writer?
I moved to Paris and enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu on a whim after college, and I was only meant to do the basic three-month program. The early cooking school days were mildly traumatic, but after a couple months, I had become a completely different person, and loved every second of it. Realizing that I’d found my (very unexpected) calling, I enthusiastically signed on to complete the full diploma program and never looked back.
Since graduating from LCB, blogging has easily been my most rewarding pursuit, both personally and professionally. I started my site while in Paris with no goal in mind other than to casually share some of my new culinary skills with other domestically challenged souls. I had a clear vision: Help others get their act together in the kitchen. And make it fun, dammit.
Domesticate ME! has come a long way since then, but my mission remains the same. I truly believe that cooking should be accessible, experimental, and most importantly, fun – and I’m committed to spreading that message.
Where did you get the idea for The Dude Diet?
The Dude Diet was inspired by my wonderful, nutritionally confused fiancé, Logan. When I moved in with him five years ago and became privy to his day-to-day eating habits, I was horrified. When he eventually decided he wanted to start eating better, I was determined to capitalize on the opportunity. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but I love a challenge. I committed myself to helping Logan create better habits by feeding him nutritious, hearty meals that he’d be pumped to eat.
I decided to document my efforts on my blog. Each installment of what I called “The Dude Diet” addressed a specific topic of nutritional confusion, accompanied by a recipe for a healthy version of Logan’s favorite “dude foods.” There was such a strong response to The Dude Diet on the blog (from both men and women!) that it spawned a book aimed at arming dudes (and the people that love them) with the knowledge and tools they need to lead healthier, happier lives!
Do you think men have a harder time eating healthful foods than women? Why?
Oftentimes, yes. I think the rampant nutritional confusion in the dude community is largely due to the fact that men just aren’t inundated with as much information on healthy eating as women are (and most have never experienced the torture that is being zipped into a bandage dress.) My goal with The Dude Diet is to demystify nutrition and provide dudes with important knowledge and delicious recipes that make healthy eating exciting.
What would be your best piece of advice for aspiring young food bloggers?
Stay true to yourself. My writing and life motto is: You do you. Don’t just try to mimic other writers or businesses that you like or create content and products that you’re not passionate about simply because you think people will buy into it. There are millions of blogs, books, and products out there, and in order to stand out you can’t be afraid to get a little weird. Authenticity and honesty really resonate with people, and no matter who you are or what you’re selling, you’ve got an audience out there…you just have to find them.
What would be your best piece of advice to yourself ten years ago?
Be flexible. You never know where a simple idea or seemingly random opportunity will take you.
Trashed Up Turkey Burgers Recipe
Courtesy of The Dude Diet
3 slices turkey bacon
1 pound lean ground turkey
½ ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and mashed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Four 1-ounce slices pepper Jack cheese
4 whole grain burger buns or English muffins
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
8 large leaves red leaf lettuce (Bibb lettuce or romaine will also work.)
- Cook the turkey bacon in a pan over medium heat until crispy, about 4 minutes per side. Let cool on a paper towel-lined plate to cool, then finely chop.
- Place the ground turkey in a medium bowl and add the chopped turkey bacon, avocado, garlic, smoked paprika, pepper, cumin, and salt and mix until well combined. I like to use my hands for this, but a spatula will do if you’re squeamish.
- With damp hands, mold the turkey mixture into 4 patties, about 1 inch thick, and place them on a piece of parchment or wax paper.
- Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, carefully add the burgers to the pan. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes, undisturbed, until lightly browned on the undersides and beginning to firm, then flip with a spatula, and cook for another 6 minutes on the opposite sides. (The uncooked burgers are very soft, so I need you to wait a to flip them until they’re ready or they will fall apart. That’s on you.) During the last two minutes of the cooking time, top each patty with a slice of the cheese and let it melt.
- Serve the turkey burgers on buns, piled high with lettuce tomato and onion. Maybe get some Srirachup involved.