About The Flying Kitchen

Estimated read time 10 min read

Hi, I’m Shannon and this is my little dog Nutmeg. Nutmeg is a former street dog from Bursa, Turkey – now living “the life” as my little companion. She’s smiling in this photo because she now has a little coat, sleeps in my bed and eats all kinds of fabulous food. She also has a great “people pack” of my five children (still living at home) – two adult children who live overseas and visit occasionally, and my husband who treats her with tenderness and care. For more about Nutmeg, linked is a video about her DNA results and how she adjusted in to living with “THE PEOPLES” in 2022: https://youtu.be/X73fVHLfTVY?si=sm6cc_f8rfE4ZpRM If Nutmeg had a “catch phrase” it would be: “People food is my favorite”.

Thanks so much for coming to my website. Because of my husband’s military career I’ve lived around the world and studied culinary arts in Morocco, England, Scotland, France, Switzerland, Greece, Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan, New Orleans, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Boston and more. I have worked in the food industry since 1999 as a cake designer, food researcher, cooking teacher, caterer and pastry chef.

In 2019 my family moved to a small Medieval-era village in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. We are now in our fifth year of living here.

How this Blog Started:

I started “The Flying Kitchen” in 2010 as an attempt to find some kind of control in my life as a military spouse, and make all the moving and upheaval “count”. I had just closed my in-home cake business of eleven years after the arrival of our fifth child. I wanted to shift my work to a more family-friendly (and mama-friendly) format that would be sustainable in the wake of my husband’s growing and increasingly demanding career. I started this blog with the intent of reporting on all the food adventures and recipes that a family encounters living in many places, told through the lens of a food professional. What I discovered along the way, however, is that I was not content to just skim the surface of what we were eating and experiencing. I wanted to understand it on a deeper level, cook it, teach it, and make it a part of my own family’s food culture. This need for deeper understanding has turned into a great opportunity for cultural awareness, sensitivity, and research – lots of research. I am currently in my fifth year of researching German cakes and am just now feeling confident in publishing my recipes – written for Americans and other non-Germans.

What this “Flying Kitchen” project has turned into, for me, is a great school of patience, respect for other cultures, and self-acceptance in knowing that I’ll never know it all. I’ve learned that knowing you will never reach the end of the rainbow of food research is just what makes food research so exciting and fulfilling.

While I’m a tenacious food researcher, I’m also cooking for my family every day. What this means is that I truly understand the real purpose of cooking – to simply feed people, to carry on tradition, to nurture, and to enjoy the good times. Because of this “Flying Kitchen” project, I have material to write, explore and teach that will last a lifetime – an unfathomable blessing to me while I move through the challenges of life.

About the Recipes on this Website:

American Food:

For the simple fact that I have missed the food of my own heritage, I have cooked a lot of American food whist living overseas. Ha. The irony – to name my website “The Flying Kitchen” then filling it with American food. I don’t just cook American food for my own sake – I cook it for my children too. Quite simply, food traditions matter. We regularly enjoy our traditional American dishes.

Top American Recipes: Buttermilk Cornbread, Proper Southern Buttermilk Biscuits, Oven Fried Chicken Thighs, My Best Mac n Cheese, Classic Red Velvet Cake, and Chocolate Cream Pie.

For the full (and growing) collection of my American recipes, click : HERE.

Fusion (or Fusion-ish) Cooking:

While we love our nostalgic American dishes, over the decades the influence of the cultures we’ve lived in and visited have imparted themselves onto our family dishes. This website also reflects some of the fusion cooking I’ve developed whilst living around the world for the past few decades. These dishes are my own creation, sometimes influenced only by what looks good to me in the produce section of the market. For the sake of appropriateness, I am stating outright that my recipes categorized as “fusion” would include what I consider “fusion-ish”; dishes that might be considered as simple common sense dishes like “roasted Mediterranean vegetables” – dishes made by creativity, and access to certain ingredients :

Fusion Dishes: Miso Glazed Pot Roast, Miso Glazed Carrots, Fast-Marinated Broiled Flank Steak, Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables,

Authentic Recipes from Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, etc:

This is the smallest category of recipes on this website. While I have lived in many places and visited even more, the main lesson I have learned as a recipe writer is to tread lightly, research, research, research and NEVER rush into writing or publishing a true authentic dish from another culture UNTIL you are absolutely sure you will not offend anyone and that you are giving due respect to the integrity of the dish, culture, nuances surrounding both, and more. This has been the most valuable lesson I’ve learned in my “Flying Kitchen” project. As an American, I must tread even more lightly than others. Great care must be taken not to unwittingly “Americanize” a recipe.

That said, I have published a few authentic dishes that I am proud of, all researched and written on location with local ingredients, and the approval of my mentors:

German Plum Cake

Victoria Sponge Cake (UK)

Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup

There are a few more recipes from Tuscany, and I have many more I still need to research and BE SURE about. Similarly, I have other German and British recipes I’m still working on and waiting for the right time to publish. My Japanese recipes are waiting, as well, for the right time – and the right ingredients now that I am living in Germany. You will find them on this website as I publish them.

Other recipes you will find on this website:

Family Efficiency Recipes:

Because I have been running a household of seven children, two adults, and a menagerie of cats and dogs for the last 25 years, I have amassed an arsenal of easy dinners that one can throw together in a matter of minutes. These are the dinners I share on my podcast “The Flying Kitchen Express” (Apple Podcasts) .

These easy recipes include: Chicken Pesto Pasta and Lemon and Honey Chicken Thighs.

Other fast and easy family recipes include my FREEZER COOKING recipes, wherein you can quickly prepare a large amount of dishes to freeze. These have absolutely been my “secret weapon” in all of my years of being a working mom.

Freezer Cooking recipes/tutorials include:

Prep 12 BIG Family Dinners in 30 Minutes for Under $200!

One for the Oven – One for the Freezer: Old School Chicken Casserole

Baked Ziti for the Freezer

Family Tradition Recipes:

Because we are a family that has always made “home” wherever we are, there are certain dishes that have been integral to our wellbeing. First is the pizza recipe I’ve been using for decades for our weekly “Pizza Movie Night”. As American Italian food is in a category all it’s own, I don’t classify my American Italian food *as* Italian food.

The second are my Thanksgiving Recipes, which you can find here. Because we are usually in a foreign land over Thanksgiving, it’s even more important that we have our own traditional recipes unique to our family.

Third is my family’s “Pie Day” recipes. Because I have a lot of children, I’ve always made an effort to spend one-on-one time with each of them. The day before Thanksgiving, I make a special pie with each of my children, respectively.

Pizza Movie Night

My Family’s Thanksgiving Recipes

My Family’s “Pie Day” Recipes

Family Birthday Cakes:

Of greatest importance in all my food work are the family birthday cakes I make. After I shut down my cake business in 2010, making birthday cakes for my family became my creative outlet and a great source of joy for me. Making birthday cakes for my children has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Because I have seven children, it’s of the utmost importance to me that I make all my children feel special, known, seen and heard. I take “orders” for each of their birthdays and do my best to make them the cake of their dreams.

Here on this website / my youtube channel you will find:

The “Candy till Ya Puke Cake”

My Son’s Red Velvet Cake

My Son’s “Slimer” Cake (From Ghostbusters) – cake sculpture

My Daughter’s Crysanthemum Cake

My Daughter’s Woodland Cake with Baby Hedgehogs and Big Toadstools

My Daughter’s Cheesecake with Raspberry Coulis

My body of work is always growing, and now that my youngest child is ten-years-old I have the time to share my work more and more. Thank you so much for reading this “about” page and for being here on this website.

If you’d like, you can follow my daily life on my social media channels. I post a lot of nature photos from my hikes, some thoughts, snapshots of life in Germany some family stories and, of course, recipes. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel too! It’s relatively new and I’d really appreciate your subs and views! I’m also a trained classical vocalist and sometimes post updates and videos of my work in Stuttgart, Germany.

You can also keep in touch by:

Sincerely,

Shannon Vavich

Below are some photos through the decades of my professional work as a designer, recipe developer, cooking teacher and researcher. I have posted photos of my family with their permission, as they have always been in and around my work – quite joyfully.

The historical cakes I developed in 2008 after researching Colonial American baking and confectionery on the East Coast stretching from Maryland to Alabama. This collection has not been published yet, as I was expecting my fifth child at the time, moved several times after this to support my husband’s career and had two more children.

A collection of photos through the years: Several collections of gourmet cakes I developed. My oldest daughter Kathleen visiting the spice souk in Fez, Morocco. My cake sculpture of a pirate ship. Photographing fresh fish in Japan with my newborn baby. Attending Culinary School in Okinawa, Japan with my youngest child, Rose. Recording my cooking show at my home at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina (2017). My little Cooking School space where I taught lessons in 2017-2018.

More of my professional work including a Marine Corps Ball Cake to serve 800 – Newport Rhode Island – 2006. A building replica cake of the II MEF building – Camp Lejeune, North Carolina – 2001. More cake sculpture, gourmet cakes (including a historically accurate wedding cake for a period wedding) scenes from my cooking school, shopping for food, and various photos of my seven children in and amongst my cooking work.

Oh, and The Angry Bird Cake!

It was a huge cake that was completely edible with fondant “Angry Birds” and Pigs. Towers of kitkats. You could fling Fondant Angry Birds with the built in slingshot. And it worked!