About Me

About Me

Born and raised in the Hudson Valley north of NYC, I am a first-generation Croatian American. My culinary heritage was made up of my father’s stories of the Dalmatian coast and my mother’s obsessive nighttime baking rituals. I write, cook, bake, and create rustic, old-world food stories and scenery.

My mom in braids on left with her family and friends, including my maternal grandfather in the center, over a lamb on a spit in Van Cordlandt Park in the Bronx, circa 1940s.

Our Dalmatian Croatian history inspires me, as does my boyfriend’s Turkish heritage being seemingly at the root of almost every meal I crave, and my love for the origin stories of food. There is nothing like looking into the treasure troves of secret recipes, their histories, and variations–where there is food, there are people. Where there are people, there are stories.

Most of my time is spent baking, practising making bread, creating new ways to combine flavours and traditions in dessert form, and diving into simple, yet powerful comfort foods, many dishes of our Croatian-Turkish backgrounds, but also recipes from my youth in New York, my travels to Ireland and Europe, and the flavour timeline that obsesses me still with regard to all things savoury and sweet. I love boozy flavours, fresh fruit combinations, rustic bakes, and coffee–baking always seems to come back to what I would love to enjoy with my cup of coffee.

The best things in life…

You can dive into The Storied Spoon in any way that you wish to. A lot of my recipes come with food writing memoir, histories, and memories, but if you’re just here for the recipe, that’s ok too. I make, test, and sample the recipes you will see here. Sometimes I use recipes from those I admire and will always include links to the original recipes. You will find clear, complete, and often humorous recipe instructions along with photos. Food photography has become my newest calling and I love creating foodscapes with light, mood, color, and texture. I love books and reading the old fashioned way, so you’ll find a some of my favorite titles too (they’re a pretty interesting bunch.)

The Art of Living, a Roman classic

Most of all, when it comes to the Croatian-Turkish family recipes that I’ve simplified and reworked, I hope to enlighten all who visit to try these recipes (comfortable and sweet as they are) themselves. I want Croatian tortes and Turkish breakfasts to be as approachable and fun as making tacos and pizza.

My background began as a writer, a film student, a cog in the wheel of entertainment business offices, a massage therapist, an HR/wellness manager, and a personal assistant to many an interesting persona.

Through the years, I kept coming back to writing, to the visual arts, and to all things culinary. I am very open to collaborating with brands and dedicated to bringing all that I have to help them reach their goals. See below if you are interested in working with me!

Croatian Krafne Doughnuts in the making

The Storied Spoon is a mutable and living thing. It is a celebration of the best feelings that life has to offer, via smells that transport you, tastes that enlighten you, beautiful words and images that inspire you, and striving to live in the moment through all things delicious!

To reach me, Please email maryanalvestic[at]gmail.com

Life is a Berry Guinness Chocolate Cake

My Recent Publications