Monday, May 11, 2009

FOOD FOR THOUGHT


Melt in your mouth mustard shallot pork and 7 day marinated shrimp


Many of our memories involve food or occasions that include food. I love to cook. Art is my life, but cooking is my passion. I think the two go hand in hand because cooking, at its best, can certainly be an art. You can sometimes find me reading a cookbook in the same way most people would a novel. My mother-in-law once said I was the only person she had ever met who would sit and read a cookbook from cover to cover. I’ve spent innumerable hours in bookstores, browsing through the cookbooks, trying to decide which one to purchase. My collection of these is already vast, but as far as I’m concerned, you can’t have too many cookbooks. I love to find different versions of a dish from different cookbooks, and then try each (along with a few modifications of my own) in order to find the perfect one. I must have tried fifty different recipes for crab cakes before I found the one that I considered worthy of a 5-star rating.


A few of my large collection of cookbooks


I’ve been fascinated with food for as long as I can remember. I opened a “restaurant” when I was only 9 years old. While my parents were at work, my brother, Jim, and I planned our menu, dreaming up lunches for the children in our neighborhood. I was the cook and he was the waiter. His job was to entice the kids with the special of the day. Mine was to prepare as many lunches as possible with the ingredients I could find in our cupboard and refrigerator – and to clean up afterwards before our parents got home and found out what we were up to. An example of one of our “specials” was chopped cabbage topped with watermelon slices and whatever else was left over from dinner the night before. We actually made some money selling such delicacies to our friends. Whenever we were able to sell enough lunches, we used our earnings to buy those wonderful ice cream drumsticks at our local store, “Joe’s.” Our parents never suspected what we were doing until we told them years later. They just thought we had very large appetites.



A few of my favorites


My childhood success did not inspire me to open a restaurant as an adult, Instead, I decided to confine my cooking to meals for family and friends. I’ve just seen too many restaurants – even good ones – fail.

I believe that cooking, like any art or craft, requires practice and that cooks should take classes to develop their skills. In that spirit, I’ve decided to devote one blog each week to the best recipes I’ve collected over the decades. Initially, I’ll draw from recipes I once compiled in a hand-decorated cookbook for my two married daughters, Kelli and Kirsten.


"Food for Thought" cookbook created for Kelli and Kirsten


I learned calligraphy so I could hand-letter each recipe for that book. Since my handwriting has always left much to be desired, it was quite a labor of love. Recently, my two sons, Charlie and Cameron, indicated that they also want copies of the family recipes. I don’t know how much they’ll use them, but it pleases me to know they’ll always have them if they want to call up some family memories in the kitchen. By posting some of these recipes in my blogs, I hope I can enable some of my readers to benefit from them, too.


Introduction to cookbook (I included memories to go along with each recipe)


Example of recipes from two friends plus a memory to accompany the recipe




Tomorrow will be my first food blog, which will be posted once a week. Get ready for Summer Basil Tomato Soup. Easy and filled with "instant gratification" basil.



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1 comment:

If convenient, please leave a comment. I read every one and thoroughly enjoy hearing your thoughts.