Food Lovers - What Ignited Your Passion?
I'm just curious to know what started your love for food.
I don't consider myself a foodie as I'm still learning to cook, but I have an incredible passion for all things food. In fact, when someone tells me they love food, their stock goes through the roof in my book.
I'm not talking about a love for junk foods either (like oreos, cheetos, ding dongs, etc). I'm talking honest to goodness delicious, tasty, inviting meals - the ones that while eating, you wonder why spas have mud baths, but not butter baths.
I don't know what it is, but I download more cooking shows that tv shows. My ipad has more cookbooks than apps, when I travel I read cookbooks on my ipad, it's an obsessions. The kind of obsession that makes me wish having a tapeworm is the best weight maintenance plan.
You know that saying 'I'm one stomach flu away from my goal weight'? I fully understand it, now.
How did you know you loved food more than the average person?
Honeymoon in France, in the 90s. Booked into a chateau in the Loire and dinner the first night was an awakening. The server brought over the cheese cart at the end of our first meal, opened the glass lid and knocked the two of us senseless with the intense aroma. Over the next few nights we were there, each dinner brought a new, eye-opening gastronomical experience: foie gras, pheasant, more cheese, etc. We have traveled many places since that time and dined at a number of high end (and delicious low end) restaurants, but not one sticks in my mind more than that first meal.
A entire wheel of herb brie on my 20'th birthday,presented to me by my then girlfriend who was a line cook at a little restaurant in NYC. We spent the better part of a month devising, cooking and eating so many recipes using it,Some great, some disasters but I was hooked.
Hey, I grew up in the farming middle of Illinois, born to a family that had serious food love on both sides, to parents who enjoyed trying new, even "exotic" things - "That new motel on the edge of town has chop suey on the menu - let's try it!" Plus one grandma who cooked really well, another grandma who baked brilliantly and was married to the best cook in the family. Did I have any choice? When I was 8 or 9 we went to a reunion of two widely intermarried German Mennonite clans, the Kuntzes and the Huffmans (mom was a Kuntz), an affair that took over a large city park in Hoopeston, IL. Acres and acres of rolling meadow studded with trees, under many of which were picnic tables, on each of which was spread the bounty of several more kitchens … and all of these people were relatives! My folks just turned me loose, and I would approach each table with "Hi, I'm Billy Owen!" Someone would say, "Who's your mom?" and I'd say, "She was Betty Kuntz." "Oh, you're Walt's grandson, right? How about some chicken? Here, we got potato salad. Want some pie?"
Anyone who could come out of that indifferent to food simply has no soul. And the French part never even happened for many years down the road …
My Mom was (and still is) an awful cook. As a kid of about 10 I took over the cooking duties for the household much of the time. As I had no teacher (Mom hated/hates cooking) I taught myself things about ingredients and how they worked together (and at times didn't). My passion for good food begain early.
However, my first realization as an adult of how wondrous ingredients can be was on my first trip to Italy in my 20s. Sure, I had heard and read about these things, but to actually be there and experience such food was eye opening. After that my creativity increased. That plus Amazon.ca - my hundreds of culinary books inspired me to create amazing dishes on a nearly-daily basis, sourcing amazing ingredients from ethnic markets and shops.
My Dad's parents were Austrian and they loved to take us (as little kids) to really fine restaurants and let us try new things. None of the "not appropriate for kids", whatever we wanted. I guess that gave me the "curiosity of appetite" to try things that sounded interesting. I remember reading about sushi (this was in the 70's, before it was so common) and just deciding to order it when our family went out for Japanese food. I still remember how tickled the waitress was, she gave me all kinds of attention and a Japanese phrase booklet published by Kirin beer!