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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?

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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 …

        1. 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.

          1. 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!

            1. I grew up eating healthy food but not much variety except for some Mexican food because of where we lived. Then when I was 15 a friends family took me along with them to a Chinese restaruant, up until then the only time I ever ate out was hamburgers. That started a life long passion with me.

              1. I can't really pin point when my love for cooking really started, I've always loved cooking, but I would say the pleasure I get from it started to grow when I first left home. I started to try new dishes that were more challenging and it always gave me a feel good buzz.

                When I was in my late teens/early twenties I had a lot of issues with food. I barely ate and I started to become very picky. A positive to come out of this though was it got me extra interested in food and the nutrition it provides, and once I was healthy again I kept up this train of thought rather than the ignorant idea of all sugars are bad and all fats are going to make you fat.

                I cook more than ever now and I will try anything and will retry if I fail. I find food focuses me and relieves stress.

                  1. My love for cooking started when I developed life threatening food allergies, and grew when I started dating my now husband. Almost anything that I want, I pretty much need to make myself.

                    Luckily, I seem to be naturally good at putting things together and figuring out substitutes.

                    1. It's in my blood. There is just no other explanation for it. My earliest memory in life is helping my grandmother put colored non-pareils on the Anisette cookies. My mother said I was about 3. She collected recipes like nobody's business. We had parties for every holiday (woohoo Labor Day!), extended family for every occasion. Food, food food. I asked for Crab salad for my 12th birthday. For my 16th (1984) I asked to go to Tavern on the Green, as it was the most famous restaurant I had heard of. I ordered Shrimp Cocktail and remember being disappointed there were only a few shrimp. My father loved food. He grew a bountiful garden and put up his own vinegar peppers. For dinner, I remember gorgeous steaks and chops, veal cutlets, a pot of gravy every Sunday with skins, braciole, pork necks. Seven fishes on Christmas and NYE. A giant fresh ham studded with garlic for NY's Day. It was inevitable.

                      Nowadays, when I am with a group of people, I always talk about food. If someone talks about their trip, I want to know about the food. Got a new job? What do they serve in the cafeteria? Car broke down on Main St? Did you go into the bakery while waiting for the tow? Lol.

                      1. What ignited the passion?

                        Hunger. Always hunger.

                        It was fairly straightforward choice between cooking and eating crap, or something better. What makes up "something better" has changed over the years but the principle hasnt diminshed.

                        1. MY PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS
                          I grew up with good food,in every sense of the word.Adventurous in every ways(1950's & 60's).Even in the 1950's we had an international table with every ingredient imaginable,exotic or not,we could find and afford. Both parents felt that eating and trying everything was part of the life plan.
                          My father was a magnificent cook,mom wasn't.What she often did to savory was horrific,flip side,she had a superb touch with pastries and candies that many never master.For dad it was perfectly normal to take us along,2 or all,to Asia,Central and South America,Alaskan & Canadian bush,even if it meant pulling us out of school.Europe was a given,mom French & Italian,dad a Scot.
                          Before my twin and I (youngest) were 15,we liked natto,tofu,raw fish,pickled,cured or smoked everything,stinky cheese,oysters,clams etc,you name it.If it was on a plate in front of us,from DC to Argentina,Arctic Circle,Alaska,around,back and in between,WE ATE IT.Liking 99%,city or hinterlands.The yuk factor,ew it's a ? just wasn't part of the family plan.
                          Both parents lived WWI,the flu epidemic,the depression and WWII and made certain that we understood our opportunities and privilege.Any cultural,ethnic or religious intolerance was a 100% no no.So if here,you break bread their way,respecting the work and hospitality.

                            1. My mother hated cooking and was lousy at it. But when I was young, age 3-7, one their best friends was a Neuro-surgeon from Japan, studying the latest techniques in NYC at Columbia and Cornell. it was the mid to late 60's and new restaurant had just opened a few years earlier in August '62, a few months before I was born. Nippon, the first Japanese restaurant to have a sushi bar in America. Their friend, my "Uncle", took us there every few months because he missed Japanese food so much. I remember trying authentic sukiyaki, sushi, shabu shabu, etc. From then on food became one of my passions. I remember dragging friends to restaurants, trying new foods. I catered a few parties while in high school, and my first real job after was as a wine expert in a high end store. I went off in other directions professionally for my 20's and 30's, but always had a passion for food and beverages. In 2001/2002, while working as a psychologist that I hated my job. I studied at the French Culinary Institute at night and the day I finished I quit my job and went to work as assistant on a dairy farm, making grass fed raw milk artisanal cheese and brick oven rustic bread. Eventually I became a food and beverage writer and business consultant, winemaker, brewer, and now distiller and consulting mixologist.So my passion has really taken over my life. I have a library of food and beverage books that numbers in the thousands, the insurance on it is more than for my brand new suv. Just thinking about this and I think I may have to go back to Nippon for a meal. It's been more than 40 years since my last visit, but it is still considered one of the most authentic, and top ten Japanese restaurants in NYC according to Guyot. http://www.gayot.com/restaurants/best...

                              1. I love reading everyone's stories!


                                1. Sex. I discovered early on that Ladies really like you cook them a good meal. After that, it was like any other pastime I’ve dived into. Once started, I had to know all things about it and means to perfection.

                                  1. I think I was always a closeted fan of food. Food in my family of origin was bland and was there to nourish you. That, coupled with a childhood background of dance and similar activites. My eating was never disordered, but my choices were monitered.
                                    Travel turned me into a full on food nut. At first I was just an eater, trying to sniff out the best possible meals while away. But later, as I grew up and established my own home, had my own time, I dove into trying to recreate some of my favorites. A year spent living in Thailand pushed really gave me a good shove into the world of cooking. I love all the attention to detail, the tinkering with something until it's right, and that little ball of happiness that develops inside when you know you "nailed it". :)

                                    1. I love this thread. I know I loved food more than the aerage person when I had to deal with constant berating that I was "obsessed with food" or "why are there only pictures of food on your phone" or eye rolls when I get too excited about the difference between a berry and an aggregate fruit or the denaturation temperature of beef vs fish. I have developed a serious passion for all things food and am currently struggling with the stares of "why does she care" and "doesn't she have something better to do." I think the clincher for me was when I realized just how excited I get about food and that I started to spend most of my free time reading, cooking, prepping, research food. I can have the worst day and no energy, but if I get an idea for a dish, I have tons of energy and can spend hours reading about it and the tips for best preparation with the amazing result that 9.5/10 it works out beautifully and I feel quite accomplished.