Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Love Affair (With Food)

First, I am happily married, no problems there.  I am not talking about that kind of love.

I am talking about food. I LOVE food.

Growing up my mom had a fairly limited food repertoire.  She isn't a bad cook by any means.  She just knows where she is comfortable, and what my father will eat.  It is a very small area, trust me.

It wasn't until I was about 13 that I figured out that there was more food out there than chicken and rice and Sunday roast.  I really thought that roast was what everyone ate on Sunday.  Some unspoken rule, it's just the way it was. When I learned that there were different cultural foods beyond the "Mexican" food my dad loved (which let's be honest, is more American than anything else, he doesn't even like it spicy! Sometimes I'm surprised we share DNA)  Chinese, and Indian, and Cajun.  I loved trying it all!

I also found my love for cooking around the same time.  And because my mother had never made (or hadn't within 10 years) many of the foods I wanted to try, it was just a blind guess.  I didn't even start with recipes.  I just had ideas in my head of what I thought would go well together and made it.  I have to admit, my family ate some pretty horrible stuff.  I once tried making stir fry with just a frozen veggie mix, which I now scoff at, and was so worried they would stick to the pan I used about a cup of vegetable oil.  It was inedible.

But as I've gone I have actually found I have a small talent for it. I'm no Bobby Flay, and I'm certainly not Paula Dean (thank heavens), but I can certainly navigate my way around the kitchen. I usually don't use recipes either. I like to get ideas from them, but then I make it on my own. With the big exception of baking.  That's not really something you can wing it on. You really do need precise amounts of baking soda and salt.  Trust me on this one.

I love to try new foods, and I am happy to say that I have had many great opportunities to do so.  My dear friend Megan (editor of this blog) introduced me to one of my favorite Indian restaurants.  Bombay House is always very high on my list of choices for date night sans kids.

I also try really hard to expose my children to different things.  My son usually rejects it all.  He has tried some things. My daughter, however, will eat everything I offer her.  She loves salmon and chicken tikka masala. She's a huge fan of Nutella (who isn't?) and I love watching her try new things. I feel some strange sense of pride getting my children to try foods that I'm sure my father hasn't and wouldn't ever try.  And when they like it, I feel like I have made some big parenting success. (Some days my world feels very small, I take whatever I can get!)

I believe that everyone should have a passion.  One of mine happens to be something my whole family benefits from everyday. (Well, there have been some meals that were certainly not a benefit. But mostly it's good.)  I love making dinner and lunch.  I love trying things, and my husband is great about eating them, even when I know he doesn't like it.  Being passionate about something that I get to do everyday is wonderful!  And I truly do have a love affair with food.  It's in my top 5 favorite things in the world. And that's really saying something, since I have some of the best family and friends this side of the Mississippi, and the other side too for that matter. It's delicious, and marvelous and never ending. You can try anything, and it's delicious (usually). Find your passion, and don't let a few bad moments (or stirfrys) deter you! Embrace what makes you happy, no matter what it may be. Be you, and be lovely.

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