IMG_0759Hi, my name is MaryAnne Hoekstra-Shekar.  Gastronotherapy is my attempt to work my way through the countless number of recipes I have torn out of magazines and dog-eared in cookbooks over the last 10+ years.

Growing up in Minnesota, I had no interest in learning how to cook but I had a fondness for baking at an early age.  My lack of interest in cooking probably had to do with being fed a lot of frozen pizzas and bad pot roasts (sorry, mom!).  When I reached my early 20’s, I started eating out more and became interested in learning how to cook tasty meals that were also healthy.  I also discovered that being in the kitchen felt therapeutic for me.  I could get out of my own head and focus on creating something for an hour or two, and I almost always felt better afterwards.

I moved to New York City in my late 20’s and felt the need to eat my way through the entire city.  Besides putting on a few pounds, I tried a plethora of foods that were new to me and sharpened my palette along the way.  I began experimenting more in my own kitchen and started inviting friends over for dinner.  And dessert.  Anyone who knows me knows dessert is always in the picture.

I started a small chocolate company in 2011 called H.S. Chocolate Co. and had great success.  However, in March 2013 I made the tough decision to close it.  During the months that followed, I couldn’t seem to step foot into the kitchen unless I needed a cup of coffee.  Finally, at the end of the summer I started cooking again.  And by the time September rolled around I was dying to go on a baking bender.  How could I have stayed away so long?  Getting back in the kitchen again helped me work through the decision to close my business.  I now enjoy assisting small food businesses with their marketing needs through H.S. Consulting.  Feel free to email me at maryanne (dot) hoekstrashekar (at) gmail (dot) com for any marketing assistance you might need.

I have no recipe restrictions for this blog.  I always try to focus on whole foods and avoid preservatives.  From time to time, I will try a gluten-free or vegan recipe.  I love meat.  I love sugar.  I love chocolate.  And I hope I have good genes.

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