Monday, August 27, 2012

And so it begins...

I have been in love with food for all my life. It is what you need to sustain life, but I go beyond that. Some of my earliest memories are standing on a kitchen chair at the counter with my grandmother  turning the crank on the hand grinder making stuffing for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. I cherish that memory. It wasn't only time with my grandmother, but it was learning a family recipe that was my grandfather's. When I say learning I mean memorizing since I have never have written it down. It is just something I know. A part of me.

Some of the other parts of me I remember as a child were making homemade salad dressing consisting of mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.  I haven't made it in years, but I can still taste that creamy tangy concoction on my tongue. I fried eggs at 6 years and made my first Thanksgiving dinner at 11. I look back at those times and discover this is where I learned that cooking and feeding someone can make them happy and yourself as well.

I remember my mom not afraid to make something new for us. She got this red electric wok in the 70's and set out making beef teriyaki. Boy was that stuff good!  She would also make won tons, fish cakes that were potato pancakes with tuna in them, a beef wellington that I hated, but she tried. She liked to explore and try something new. I know I got that adventurous spirit from her, but mine is on steroids sometimes.

The 1980's were a time when I was a teenager. I know I was a handful, but here I learned more about food and how it made me and others feel. I would watch PBS on the weekends and learn from Jeff Smith "The Frugal Gourmet" and Julia Child. Along with my mother and grandmother these two taught me how to cook. I studied Jeff Smith and Julia Child like they were my teachers in school. I still have yet to make that Peking Duck that The Frugal Gourmet used a bicycle pump to separate the skin from the meat. And I haven't made the bouillabaisse Julia once demonstrated, but I will someday. I love to see the faces of my friends and family when I make something that makes them smile and feel good and try something new.

I am currently on a kick for all things offal. There is something about the "icky bits" that is incredible. I think some of that is knowing that these internal organs were not eaten because they tasted great, but because it was all that a family could afford and the cook did their best to make that valuable protein the best it could be. For me it's not just the offal, but some of the cheaper lesser cuts that most people would never try and making them the best they can be.

I look at cooking as a way to show how much I care. I also see it as a way to challenge myself and tackle those recipes that are feared. I love to pair food with wine and wine with food, I will get more in detail on that subject later. I don't always succeed in all my efforts, but I try. I hope that your the reader can see some of yourself in my triumphs and failures. Just remember to err is human and some of the results turn out better for it. Happy Cooking!


  1. My "kickstart" into cooking was when I went to a friend's family party. His uncle had made cheesecakes and up until that point I didn't know that just anyone could make them. I made my first cheesecake shortly after and haven't stopped since! I do remember baking cookies and such with my mom, but that was what really got me into the hobby.

    I wasn't very adventurous though. I started working at a pizza place in high school and a co-worker put tomatoes on a pizza. I couldn't believe it. My family had never put anything except pepperoni, maybe sausage and olives, or canadian bacon and pineapple on a pizza. After that day I was an experimental fool, and I tried just about anything you can think of on my pizzas. I don't know that I'm open to the "icky bits" as you put it, but my adventurous nature was born in that pizza shop.

  2. Congrats, looks nice. Thanks for including some of dads recipe's. He was the adventurest cook, first was in early 50's when he brought home horse meat. He did cows tongue, chicken inards(which we fought over) egg plant, etc. His mother made my favorite green beans in bacon fat. Good food should be shared, thank you.