Meet Kelly Von Lunen, AKA Mel Breakdown! Read on for more about this Kansas Derby Gal and a recipe for Vegetarian (or not!) Bacon Rangoon Dip.
What’s your handle and what are you known for?
My cooking/skating blog is Cooking on Skates, where I’m known as Kelly Von Lunen. For Roller Derby and pinup modeling, I’m known as Mel Breakdown. Professionally, I’m a writer and editor. I am a rookie derby girl for Dead Girl Derby’s Royal Pains, and I enjoy cooking, baking, and modeling modern pinup.
How did you decide to combine cooking with roller derby?
I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism and have written professionally, but I needed a fun side project just for myself. When I gradually and accidentally became vegetarian a few years ago, I had to re-learn how to cook. I love food too much not to! The two concepts merged as I was getting into roller derby, so Cooking on Skates was born. I hope to tackle some new vegetarian and vegan dishes soon! With work and derby, it’s often hard to maintain a blog five days a week; I’m probably crazy for even considering another endeavor, but I’m recently dabbling in pinup modeling as well.
Tell us more about eating Vegetarian.
I grew up in a very meat-and-potatoes kind of family. When I lost weight in high school, it was by eating a low-carb diet with lots of meat and Diet Coke. This more or less continued through college, but I tried to eat healthier through the years.
Sometime in 2008 or 2009, I tried to eat a chicken sandwich with bacon on it. Not one to waste food, I ate it but had to force myself through it. All of a sudden, the idea of eating meat really bothered me. A day or so later, I made hamburger with barbecue sauce and cheese in cute little croissant cups. They’re adorable and delicious, something I found in Rachael Ray magazine that I could get my husband to eat. Nope.
At first, I would still eat pepperoni on pizza and occasional bacon. It wasn’t an ethical, moral, or really even health-driven choice, so I figured I would define my semi-vegetarian diet however I wanted. Ultimately, I no longer want to eat bacon or pepperoni, either. Because I never made a conscious decision to “give up” meat, I don’t even miss it most of the time. If I try a nibble of a hamburger or something, I usually want to spit it out.
Fake meat substitutes are convenient for cooking recipes I’m used to, but I prefer to make up the difference with extra vegetables, whole grains, and beans or tofu. My cooking abilities have greatly expanded and improved as a result, but that took a while!
Who are your sources of inspiration or favorite fellow Domestic Artists?
I learned to cook from my mother and grandmother, and my mother-in-law also inspires me with her culinary skills. Most of my ideas come from blogs, namely Pioneer Woman, How Sweet It Is, and Eats Well With Others. My original recipes usually come to me when I’m driving home from work, already starving, and thinking of what ingredients are lying around the house.
What are your favorite accomplishments, domestic or otherwise?
People often ask me questions about my hearing loss. Yes, I am hearing impaired. No, it doesn’t stop me from doing anything. If anyone ever tells you that you can’t do anything, don’t respond. Just prove them wrong.
I have been married almost three years now, and have twice cooked Thanksgiving dinners for both our families. The first was for some 20 people! I may have had a few meltdowns leading up to the day and the day of, but the food and company were fantastic.
Growing up as the oldest of five children in a small house, I got used to clutter. Now I can’t handle it at all! No matter how busy life may get with work, family, friends or derby, I manage to keep our house presentable pretty much all the time. It helps that he’s pretty handy, and we don’t have children. If friends are heading over, we can pick up for a few minutes, vacuum up the dog hair that always seems to be everywhere, and be ready to entertain!