One of my first memories of food dates back to the age of 4, when I would tag along with my mom to Parent and Teachers Association (PTA) meetings and sit crisscross applesauce in the corner of the carpeted room, peeling red grapes from the bunch my mom prepared for me in a zip-lock baggie. I had a genuine interest for what the grape looked like on the inside, what the skin tasted like and how big of a piece I could strip off each grape without tearing into the juicy center. It may have been a strange activity for a 4 year old, but it definitely kept me occupied for close to an hour, while the people surrounding me discussed the auction budget and how to better teach math to second graders.
By the time I reached age 7, I learned a new activity that gave me much more of a thrill than peeling grapes. It was a fun event that I only got to do over at my neighbor Molly’s house because my mom would never allow for this kind of a mess to take place in her kitchen. I don’t know if we ever named it, but it basically consisted of making muffins with no recipe…and what curious and daring seven year-old wouldn’t love getting to throw whatever they wanted into a bowl and then eat it? Molly’s mom would fill a bowl with the basic ingredients necessary for the muffins to turn out somewhat edible and we would get to add whatever our little hearts desired from the pantry. Sometimes this meant marshmallows, raisins, fruit, chocolate chips, cereal or all of the above. We stirred it all together and patiently waited for them to bake, eagerly eating them the second they came out of the oven, pretending they tasted good even if our combination was a tad questionable. We loved knowing that it was our creation, a feeling that has stuck with me all the way up to my college years.
Christmas of 2002 my Aunt Joan bought me my first cookbook, a huge turning point in my life that led to meals upon meals prepared by my energetic eleven year old self for my entire family. The first recipe that I made out of “Fun with Cooking” was called Pancake Packages. The oh-so creative recipe consisted of making crepes and filling them with a cream cheese, ham and cheddar mixture. Wrapped with a slightly cooked green onion to look like a present, the final product was a hit with my family. Based on the success of this culinary endeavor, I learned to love everything about the cooking process – watching the items I bought at the store and farmer’s market turn into wholesome, colorful meals for my family and friends to enjoy.
I became an avid Food Network viewer and vividly remember getting yelled at by my sister for watching too much “Emeril Live” (I’m sorry, but who doesn’t want to kick it up a notch!?). I even began tearing out recipes and pages from my mom’s Better Homes and Garden, Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living Magazines, probably at times to her dismay. I even got a subscription to Bon Appetit, hoping to expand my skills and explore new ingredients. Cooking quickly became my favorite hobby because it relaxed me and truly allowed me to express my creativity.
My love for food followed me into my senior year of college and that is why I wanted to create a blog where I can showcase my meals, trips to the farmer’s markets and discovery of new ingredients, which is a necessary progression in my food journey. My food history is only the beginning of my story as I embark on my new life in Portland, full of new ingredients, recipes, cultures and friends to share the experience with. Join me on my journey and tell me your food memories!