Because of this blog’s title, you had to know that I’d be talking about food at some point.

I love food.

And!  I’ve loved to cook since I was 7 years old, which is when my Mom first taught me how to make scrambled eggs.  At that point, she was taking a break from her 30-plus year teaching career and running a small-but-successful catering company out of our kitchen (obviously, this was way before you needed a license and a commercial kitchen to do such things).  Everyday, I’d come home from school, tell her about my day, and watch her cook for awhile.

I was fascinated and learned quickly.

By age 10, I looked forward to new issues of Bon Appetit more than my Mom did.

By age 12, I could make basic things – spaghetti, burgers, baked chicken, cookies, quickbreads, etc.

By age 14, one of my chores was to cook dinner once or twice a week.

At age 16, I cooked my first-ever “fancy” dinner for my high school boyfriend and he INHALED it.  This bolstered my confidence considerably.  (In hindsight, though, he was a growing, teenage boy and, even though he definitely liked what I made, he was probably just really, really hungry, too.)

At age 17, I hosted 20 guests at a dinner party for my parents’ 25th anniversary.  I made a lot different tapenades and served them with toasted baguette and vegetables.  Dinner itself was a buffet with lamb (mom helped a little with the lamb since I’d never made it before), pasta with pesto and tomatoes, stuffed peppers, and salad.  Dessert was fresh berries and cake…from a bakery.

At age 19, I came home for Mothers’ Day weekend and made wild mushroom risotto, grilled steaks, and a homemade ice cream cake. (There’s nothing to do in my hometown, so weekends home from college were always a good excuse to buy groceries with my parents’ money and play around in the kitchen.)

In my early 20’s, I lived in Europe and then lived off-campus when I returned, so I learned how feed myself well for very little money.  This skill came in handy again when, 5 years ago, my husband was suddenly laid-off.  With two small children and another on the way, it was a relief not to worry too much about getting food on the table. (Thankfully, he got another job 3 weeks before Aviva was born and he’s been working there ever since.)

In my mid-to-late 20’s, I was home on-and-off with babies and had some time on my hands. I worked on my techniques and started using a wider variety of spices.

Also, since my teens, I’ve been pretty keen on trying any and all types of cuisine.  I figured that the more I tasted, the better my own cooking would be.

Now, here I am, at age thirty-something. My Mom now thinks that I am a better and more adventurous cook than she ever was…and, man-oh-man, that is some high praise.  When I thanked her, she clarified, with a wry smile,  “But I’m still a better baker.”

That is very true, and due mostly to my flawed character.  I don’t have the patience for large scale baking projects.  If a baked dessert requires more than 30 minutes of prep time, I won’t make it. What I do bake, however, is always pretty decent.

So, now that you know how I’ve come to love food and cooking, I’m going to try to share good things to eat with all of you.  If I go to a good restaurant or try a new recipe, you’ll probably read about it.

You’re welcome.

I just realized that you’re probably wondering where I get my recipes.

The answer is: EVERYWHERE.  Online, cookbooks, magazines, friends, family, my own mind.  If it sounds good, I’ll give it a go.

Like this recipe here.

I’ve made it twice in the last three weeks and might make it again next week, I love it so. The kids love it, too, which surprised me because Noah and Aviva normally HATE spinach. It’s a good recipe to play around with, too.  Next time I make it, I’m omitting the bread, doubling the sauce – spices, vinegar, and all – and serving it over saffron rice.  Yum.

In my cooking, I always need to consider my Lilah’s severe dairy allergy, so I sometimes have to modify recipes to make them safe for her to eat. It can be tough, but we work around it and have found suitable replacements for most dairy products.  This week, she and I will be playing around with coconut milk in the hopes of making some amazing chocolate-coconut pudding.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  It will definitely be a delicious experiment.

Also, Passover ends tonight.  I plan to serve some citrusy grilled chicken alongside a simple pasta – spaghetti tossed with quickly sauteed garlic, baby heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, a handful of chopped kalamata olives, a pinch of crushed red pepper, and a squeeze of lemon – and celebrate not having to eat matzah for another year!

Advertisements