Professor Kim Renee Dunbar was born in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, to Frank and Bernice Dunbar and grew up with her three sisters Bonnie, Laura, and Colleen. She attended Sewickley High School before receiving a B.S. degree in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics. Kim went on to receive a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry at Purdue University. She went on to do a postdoctoral stint at Texas A&M University with the late, renowned chemist F.A. Cotton before accepting a position as an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI, where she quickly rose through the ranks to Distinguished Professor. Kim Renee is currently a University Professor and the Davidson Professor of Science in the Chemistry Department at Texas A&M University. Dr. Dunbar has been recognized with numerous awards for teaching and research over the years. Professor Dunbar has been featured along with other prominent women scientists, including Marie Curie, in an Editorial in Angewandte Chemie on Women in Chemistry. At Texas A&M University, she is the first woman in the College of Science to be named a Chaired Professor. She is the author of over 360 publications and served as an Associate Editor for the leading journal in her field, Inorganic Chemistry, for 12 years. Her experimental and theoretical work to understand physical and chemical phenomena has redirected and focused other researchers’ work in her field.
What is your hobby?
Recently my favorite hobby has become cooking. I have always had an interest in cooking but my time has been limited due to my busy career and traveling. This past year, COVID led me to working from home, and I have had more time to delve into my culinary interests.
How did you get started with this hobby?
I have always been interested in cooking. My mother is a wonderful cook and her meals are the best I have ever eaten. She inspired me to want to cook like her by learning her recipes, many of which were passed down by her mother. I also wanted to expand my knowledge to include new dishes, especially ethnic foods from around the world.
Tell us what you love about your hobby.
Cooking and serving food made with love is, to me, one of the purest forms of showing love to others. From the time we are babies, we associate food with love and that never changes. It makes me very happy to cook for my family. especially my mother and my sister Bonnie.
What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?
I have invested money in high quality pots and pans, knives and miscellaneous items that make cooking easier. Also, my sister Bonnie orders me items, for example, a cast iron skillet that I use all the time. Cooking well does not need as much money as some people might think. You can have a well appointed kitchen for a modest price.
What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?
I like shopping online because I can get a wide array of items quickly and at the best price. I sometimes even buy high priced items at a steep discount because they are used. Going to a brick-and-mortar store is no longer easy or feasible so Amazon is my go-to method for buying cooking items.
How much money have you invested into this? How much would a beginner have to invest to get started?
I have invested money over the years so it is hard to calculate. I think a beginner can invest several hundred dollars initially to get what he or she needs and then add to the collection.
Are there any good books for beginners?
recommend just one. For gourmet cooking, there is Julia Child’s book. For fresh cooking of all kinds of foods, Martha Stewart has great books. Personally, I like to watch Ina Garten on the Food Network. There are many other great shows as well.
Are there any online videos you recommend to help beginners?
Online there are so many videos for every aspect of cooking. Anything you have a question about or need a recipe, there is an answer for it. I have mainly been watching videos on YouTube that talk about basic tips and tricks. A lot of celebrities and small channels cover them, but I have been sticking with videos from Gordon Ramsey. These are mainly his guides about various topics from Dinner Recipes
to Prepping Guides
How has your hobby changed your life?
My hobby has made me aware of many cultures and customs, which helps me when I travel.
What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?
Just enjoy yourself. Cooking should not be a chore. It should be a joy . So, don’t stress if it doesn’t turn out perfect.
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