The Lombardi twins finish each other’s sentences. But even more characteristically, they finish each other’s gourmet homemade pizzas—and the posts they jointly compose on their cooking blog, We Like Two Cook.
Leah and Celine Lombardi, both MCAS ’18, started the blog in September of 2012, but they got cooking years before then with a tried-and-true Williams-Sonoma kids’ cookbook they bought at the age of 11. The recipes were easy-to-make, but “more elevated than your average chicken nuggets,” says Leah.
From then on, the Lombardis became progressively more seasoned chefs, sprinkling in skills they picked up from their aunts (their parents, they confess, don’t have much flair in the kitchen). For taste-testers, the twins had their four younger brothers, two of whom were quite picky and the other two who would vacuum up just about anything.
But it wasn’t until the Lombardis were introduced to their first food blogger—Joy the Baker—that they were inspired to serve up meals to a larger, digital audience.
“It was something about the visual aspect of it, and the fact that a real person made [the recipes], that made it more appealing to try,” says Celine.
They started cooking from blogs across the Internet and eventually began documenting their most successful meals. The Lombardis alternate writing posts, though Celine, they profess, is most skillful with a camera and thus the official photographer—though Leah pitches in iPhone photos for their joint Instagram account (@weliketwocook).
“Neither of us have gone into it expecting to be one of those big blogs that makes a lot of money,” says Celine. “And I still don’t expect that.” Leah explains that, for the most part, “It’s a really great way for us to keep track of recipes we love that we’ve made.”
Still, modesty aside, the blog and Instagram account have received an abundance of positive feedback and reliable readership. In an icebreaker on her freshman hall last year, Celine shared that she writes a food blog, and one of the girls on the floor exclaimed that she had been reading the blog for years, long before meeting Celine at BC—a serendipitous surprise, Celine confesses, especially considering how many food blogs populate the Internet.
What sets We Like Two Cook apart, though, is the Lombardi’s flavor attention deficit—they are unafraid to alternate between nationalities, or from an inventive feta and red pepper flatbread to the “Ultimate Birthday Cake.”
“Our blog and eating style doesn’t focus on one vein of food,” says Leah. “We like to jump around a lot.”
What all the recipes on We Like Two Cook do have in common is that they’re “things we 100% recommend you go out of your way to make,” Celine vouches. “We want it to be something reputable and a good resource.”
For the most part, the blogging, and certainly the cooking, comes naturally to the Lombardi’s, though occasionally they find themselves wanting to savor the cooking process without needing to put words to it. “And getting a good picture of the food can be hard when all your brothers are standing around waiting to eat,” says Celine with a laugh.
Still, whenever the Lombardis say adieu to the dining hall and return home to their kitchen, they whip up something tasty with an appetizing blog post on the side.
Most recently, the twins have found inspiration in Mediterranean cuisine. They traveled to Israel with a BC professor over Easter Break, where they explored Israeli history, contemporary society and food—pita three times a day, and fresh salads.
“We’re on the lookout for a great pita recipe,” says Celine. “Yeah, we want to perfect our pita technique,” Leah chimes in.
Pita aside, the Lombardi's magnum opus is the wedding cake they made last August for a family friend’s wedding. The three-tiered cake was a monumental feat not just in baking, but also in engineering; dowels inserted within the cake supported the circular boards separating the tiers, each of which was comprised of three layers of vanilla cake.
As much as the Lombardis love eating the food they cook from scratch, in this case, they didn’t get to taste the final result. Rather, “It was the experience of making it for someone else,” that was satisfying, says Celine.
“Yeah, but it was pretty stressful, remember Celine,” interjects Leah gently, recalling the labor of baking, stacking, frosting, decorating and presenting the cake. “The end product was the rewarding part,” Celine revises.
Next year, yet again, the Lombardis will be in campus housing without kitchens (BC's kitchenettes are slightly deficient of triple tier wedding cake capacity), but they aren’t at all short of recommendations for the lucky students moving into apartments.
“Get some sort of good basic cookbook with a variety of recipes that aren’t too hard,” says Leah. Most important to the Lombardis is that a cookbook is reputable: “There are cookbooks where everything looks good,” Leah says, “but they’re not reliable."
Their pick for count-on-it delectable meals: The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook. “It can be for your school family!” says Celine.
Perhaps most important for the busy student is having manageable expectations time wise. “Leah and I will overextend ourselves because we get very excited,” says Celine, “but if you stick to more simple things you’ll get a better result.” For instance, a quick pasta with fantastic sauce will taste just as good as a gourmet, restaurant meal.
Better yet, students might start their culinary adventure on We Like Two Cook, with the easy and Mediterranean breezy caprese skewers with garlic crostini. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.