Prana & Pie’s food-tastic column, 20 Things About the Cook, is a weekly feature that focuses on a foodie, food blogger, chef, cook, kitchen master, domestic goddess or other type of food-loving person, and 20 things about them that one wouldn’t normally or otherwise know. This week’s guest, Carly Allegri, is the brains and brawn behind For more about Carly and her love for all things food, check out her bio below.

1. I just started a new job at a start-up solar company called Brightergy as their Director of Marketing. Before that I was a web analyst at a digital advertising agency that specialized in the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry. Before that I was a digital marketing strategist at a small ad agency, and before that I worked at a huge, fun digital agency as a web analyst. I started my career at that same agency as an account manager for Colgate-Palmolive, working on brands like Irish Spring and Colgate Kids’ oral care products.

I am all too excited to be a part of Brightergy – I still can’t believe that I’m living my dream. Since college, my dream has always been to start a company or to join one that makes being environmentally responsible easily accessible and a smart business decision to boot. I hope I live up to my own expectations and can help this company grow to be a major player in the energy world.

2. On a business trip, I was set to room with one of my colleagues. I forgot to pack pajamas. Our destination was about a 3 hour car ride away, and about halfway there I realized what I had forgotten. I started hyperventilating, realizing that the likelihood that a gas station would have what I needed was slim and I would have to disclose my snafu and ask to be taken to a Wal-Mart or something. I finally muster up the courage to admit what I had done, only to find out we each had our own rooms. Awesome.

3. I was born in Lebanon, New Hampshire. We lived in the Upper Valley, on the Vermont side, until I was 4, surrounded by my father’s side of the family. My most poignant early childhood memories were of Grammy Jan’s house. She and I had a ritual that when I would visit, we’d make brownies and pistachio pudding. I remember always using the wooden spoon with the hole in the middle to mix the brownies, and my favorite part came at the end, when licking the spoon was even more of a treat because that hole would house the motherload of brownie batter. It was Grammy that taught me how to crack an egg – another extremely poignant memory of mine. I wrote an essay about those memories and more in high school titled, ‘The House That Love Built’. Still my best piece, I think.

4. I just got married in June! It was amazing. I loved every minute of it. We married in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I was a stressball leading up to our departure, but when we arrived a few days before the wedding, I let it all go. We were there, our nearest and dearest were there, and we were going to get married. End of story. Everything was set in motion, what was going to happen was going to happen, and I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. Our wedding day was perfect. It truly was. I love thinking back to that day, and more importantly, saving memories is one of my most favorite parts of having a blog. I wrote about our engagement days after it happened, and I love going back to read that because it helps me remember all the details. Details I wouldn’t recall if I hadn’t written them down.

5. I grew up riding horses. I love horses. I love the smell of a barn. I miss it. I especially miss my horse, Skid. He and I grew up together, and he had such a sense of humor. He’d always use his top lip to try his best to work treats out of my pockets when he knew I was packing (which was nearly always). It tickled and always made me laugh. He taught a young girl a lot about responsibility and dedication. I told myself that after we got married, I’d start taking lessons, riding once a week. I have yet to make that happen.

6. My family Christmas cookie is the Russian Teacake. My mother makes a ton of them every year, and sends them to all of our family members back East.

7. Last year, my father and brother spent April through August, a full 5 months, walking. They thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine, all 2,178 miles. I’m extremely proud.

8. I didn’t really start cooking until after I met my husband. The first meal he made for me was chicken cordon bleu. This, during his, ‘I really like hanging out with you, but I’m not ready for anything serious,’ phase. Right. We moved in together (officially) 6 months later. I still haven’t identified exactly what the tipping point was for me in becoming obsessed with good food. I wish I could.

9. I love my husband. I mean really, really love my husband. I’ve never been loved so unconditionally by anyone other than my parents. I’m no easy girl – my moods change with the weather and he just lets it roll of his back. He is my soul mate, and there’s no doubt about it. I can’t wait (well I can, but ya know) to start a family with him. Did you know if we have a boy his name will be Salvatore? My husband’s family is Italian; Salvatore is his middle name, and Salvatore was his great grandfather’s first name – the one who came from Italy. Apparently my husband has ‘claimed’ this name ever since he can remember for his first born son. I’m still getting used to it. It also means that all of our children will have to have equally authentic Italian names, right? I think it’s only fair.

10. I won my KitchenAid mixer from The Pioneer Woman. It’s the 90th anniversary edition – the candy apple red one with the clear bowl. I love it immensely. And I love P-Dub, too.

11. I spend every Thanksgiving in Steamboat Springs, CO with my family. My father’s best friend from high school lives there with his wife, and it’s the closest ‘family’ we have to us here in Kansas City. It’s one of my favorite holidays. We drive, and I love it. Growing up, we’d always drive through the night, stopping along the way for gas and to let our dog out. I’d love the way the weather changed the closer we got to the mountains, the shock of getting out of the warm and cozy car becoming more and more jarring. We’d arrive early in the morning and meet our hosts at Winona’s for breakfast and coffee, ready to relish the next few days of fresh air, good food, and great company.

12. I may be from the Midwest, but I do not like biscuits and gravy. Ew.

13. I just got back from Food Blog Forum Nashville. I’m writing this before I leave, but I have no fear in saying I had the best time meeting so many of my Internet friends in real life!

14. I was a cheerleader in high school. I loved performing. We went to state competition every year, and it was always a bummer that we couldn’t move on to nationals thanks to some dumb Missouri rule.

15. I was in trigonometry class when the first plane struck the World Trade Center. We all watched in awe, along with the rest of the country, as that day’s events unfolded. That evening, I went to tumbling class, along with a few of my fellow squad-mates, like every other Tuesday night. The lack of traffic was eerie.

16. I was an RA my senior year of college in a freshman dorm at Boston University. Too much fun. Many nights when I was on call down in the office were spent perfecting my Euchre skills with fellow RAs. Euchre is similar to Spades, and it’s one of my favorite card games.

17. Freshman year of college has yet to be ousted as my favorite time in my life. It probably only beats out my wedding day due to the fact that it was a year long. There’s just nothing quite like being out on your own for the very first time, making all of your own decisions, doing whatever you want to do, and spending countless hours with friends figuring it all out.

18. I cried really hard during the movie Secretariat. I cried off and on for a good hour after seeing ‘The Notebook’ for the first time. I cry easily at any moving story. I cried last week when I found out Steve Jobs died (within moments, thanks to my iPhone, naturally). I called my parents (again, iPhone) to make sure they knew because I knew it would affect them greatly as well. He was a year younger than my father. Ogh, time is so very precious.

19. I probably only wash my hair 3 times a week. It’s long and thick, and if I wash it too much it dries out easily and then I’ll have split ends all over the place. I hope the girls I room with in Nashville don’t think I’m grody because I’m not going to wash my hair the whole time we’re there. Which really isn’t that long of a time! Sheesh.

20. I’m a creature of change. Growing up, I’d rearrange the furniture in my room often. I moved to Boston mid-way through my undergraduate career. I’ve changed jobs, on average, every year and a half. I need to be constantly challenged, and I have no doubt I’ll get that from where I am now. I’m constantly thinking about my next move, next goal, new place to live, new bathroom paint color, new car to drive, new city, next travel destination, etc. But I never think about a new husband. That’s about the only thing that’s off-limits in the change department.

Carly Allegri is the brains and brawn behind She is the product of two East Coast tree-hugging hippies and was born in New Hampshire, but currently resides in Kansas City. She writes about thriving as a modern, progressive woman living in the midst of the Midwest. She especially loves to bake, but only if she can pawn her creations off on others. And, for the record, she does not eat biscuits and gravy. Eww.