I’ll admit it, I am a sporadic blogger. Sometimes the ideas just aren’t there. So of course that for me began to beg the question, why write at all? What do you want to say? What would you like to share? When I read something wherein the author shares a glimpse of a truth, a speckle of an idea of what inspires them, what they would like you to consider I treasure that book and share it.
So that is why I write. To share my observations about food. Which begs the next question, why food? It is a question I have pondered and played with and at the end of the day the answer is simply, nothing excites me more. I love to dance, to sew, to paint, to draw, to write. But put some food in my hand and ask me to create something and I am transported. Perhaps it is because all of my body is involved when I get to cook something. My fingers can caress an ingredient, my nose is filled with the delicious wafts of whatever is simmering or baking, my ears can hear the sizzle as an ingredient hits a hot pan and my mouth gets to relish the end result. Truly for me this is where the magic happens.
Food in my household was always fresh, always interesting and always lovingly prepared. My grandparents had chickens who I used to bug and upset when I collected their eggs and a vegetable garden I podded peas out of. My dad’s garden was filled with seedlings in spring and boy did I know he was angry, especially when I stamped over them carelessly when playing in the yard. Summer brought about tomatoes and zucchini, beans strung up high and winter saw broccoli and cauliflower bursting forth. Biscuits used to bake every other day or a simple cake, pasta was homemade and my brother and I used to love to help mum make sugo or ragu to freeze for sauce. It is little wonder that when the time came to create my life beyond high school I chose to work with food.
I have often toyed with the idea of what else after an exhausting day, another small burn or another party missed. The answer is always clear. Nothing else will do. I admire all the head chefs I have worked with. Their desire to create menu’s that inspire, excite and tantalize. To lead a team of others in a common goal of serving the best food they can in the best way they see. For me though, the allure of sharing my love of food resides in teaching others how to create and enjoy food in their own home. I love watching people cook something for the first time and enjoy it. I know that some people have had awful food experiences that have put them off cooking or certain foods. These unfortunate events shouldn’t stand in the way of enjoying cooking and eating food in my opinion.
I’ll always remember one of my brother’s commenting that the reason he learnt to cook as we used to create family meals together, is that he held in regard the idea that if he is to eat, he may as eat well. My dad was very much the same. He came from a less than luxurious upbringing, WW2 being the background to his early childhood (I had a much older father by the time I was born, he was born in 1936) and good food was scarce, so what he did have was appreciated. Growing up it was no big deal for dad to come home with a tray of peaches or a roll of salami, explaining ‘I couldn’t help myself, it just looked too good’.
Food, with patience and someone to guide you can become something you enjoy, not despise. One of my sister in-laws never ate oysters but with a with a willingness to give it a go and enjoying ones that were fresh she has grown to love them. As an apprentice there were many food I didn’t really enjoy or want to taste but I did, to educate my palate. As a child I hated peas but as an adult I don’t push them to the side on my plate. Cauliflower used to horrify me but now I know to keep it slightly crunchy when I boil it and it’s much more pleasurable. Food has so much to offer if you can give yourself the opportunity to try. So really, in the end, you just gotta roll with it.
As you can see, there are many factors that have lent themselves to not only my appreciation but my love of food. It’s place in history as the sign of wealth, to the traditions of a culture to mark a special occasion, food has long been a part of life and this in turn inspires me to seek more, cook more and enjoy more. I hope that the food I share with you and my thoughts and ideas in turn inspire you to pick up a spoon and bowl or a knife and board and get cooking. If you would like to learn more about any particular food or see a recipe featured here please let me know. Happy cooking!