Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Blog About Cooking

I fell in love with food later in life. My love has grown into something deep and personal. I remember growing up liking food but I was not really attracted to it. My childhood was rather broken. Food was an after-thought. Fish was breaded and fried into leather. Chinese food came in a can. Most vegetables were boiled until gray. There were a few good things, but those were rare enough to be unable to convince me that food could be a pleasure.

When I moved out into the world around 1980 I discovered it was much bigger than I had imagined. Some of the food I thought was just okay turned out to be amazing when prepared right. There was a place in Newport Beach called The Crab Cooker that served on paper plates (still there, still does). It may not be the absolute best, but to my weary taste, it was heaven. My friend Lise took me for sushi (chirashizushi, a bowl of sushi rice topped with a variety of sashimi and garnishes), that I ate with fear and trepidation and almost immediately fell in love with. Then other friends introduced me to Southwestern cuisine, French, authentic Italian and Chinese, Thai, and more. Eventually I had the idea that maybe I could make the food I was falling in love with myself. I got a wok, a cookbook, and went to a Chinese market. I felt like I was in another country and was lost. But I worked for hours and made some really good mushu pork. Quite nearly as good as I had at the restaurant! I could cook! I had made breakfast and a few of my mother's better recipes before but this was something different. I had made something good from another culture. A door opened. Soon to be followed by many more doors.

I've been cooking for 30 years now, and I'm still learning. But I know a lot and I am (if you will permit me to say so myself), an incredible cook. And if you want to be a better cook then you can take dozens of routes to that but I'm going to tell you how I did it and how I'm still doing it so if you'd like to hang out with me and learn right here (and probably teach me a thing or three yourself), then I'd be very happy to have you. At my house, I always cook a little extra because someone will probably drop by and I can't wait to feed them. Or you. Or, you know, you could feed me... if you want to learn. So, come into my kitchen and pick up some of my skills.

I'll be giving out my recipes, teaching you techniques, discussing equipment and how to maintain them, showing you cost-saving tips and shortcuts, telling you what I splurge on and what's not worth the cost. We'll saute, pickle, grill, roast, steam, bake, can, fry, slice and dice and julienne. Meat, fruit, vegetables, appetizers, soups, breads and cheese. We'll season a skillet and a Dutch oven. We'll make sushi. We'll cook vegetarian. We'll haul out the crock pot and the roaster. We'll sharpen our knives and even do the dishes. And we'll eat. Because eating good food is the whole reason for it.

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