I have designated Saturdays as “rant and rave” day during the 30 days of NaBloPoMo (isn’t that a Christmas carol?!) and today, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have decided to “rave” about 5 things related to my kitchen and cooking for which I am grateful. Here, in no particular order, they are:
- Good Cooking Genes. From both sides and most especially from my parents yes, both of them) I have a long, rich tradition of cooking well and valuing food as something more than fuel. Both grandmothers cooked (well), my mother was a fantastic cook and teaches me more all the time, and my father taught me how to make a perfect omelette, a souffle, a quiche and how to bone a chicken breast. With this kind of help, I hit the ground running.
- Exposure to Varied Foods. My mom was never willing to cook a steady diet of hot dogs and mac and cheese, so we tasted whatever exotica she found in cookbooks, along with one grandmother’s Hungarian Jewish repertoire and the other grandmother’s classic Yankee offerings. My dad was a history professor specializing in Asian studies, so we grew up eating Chinese, Indian, Thai, Korean and Japanese food and knowing how to use chopsticks. We traveled extensively in Europe as kids and received introductions to all manner of food, and as an adult I have traveled with my husband and eaten traditional, local foods in Hawaii, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. This has given me a well-rounded palate and a “sense memory” about flavors that serves me well, even though I often complained about eating “wierd food” as a child.
- The Farmer’s Market. From July to October I have available to me fresh, beautiful local produce to play with. It has made me a better cook and made me (and my kids) more aware of where food really comes from.
- My “Audience.” Thumbs up or thumbs down, I can count on them to be brutally honest.
- The Food Media. Cookbooks, magazines, blogs, Food Network, “Create” on PBS; they all inspire and challenge me, and make me want to push limits and try new things. Sometimes its overwhelming, but mostly its fabulous.