This evening while I was making a salad for dinner, (a salad that consisted of fresh arugula, cranberries, feta and pine nuts) I got to thinking where I formed my awesome pallet for fresh Delicious food, and realized that my whole life, I have met and been attracted to people who all opened me up to different cultures of food, different ways to prepare it and enjoy it. Here is a list of those people and what they taught me:
it of course all starts here, I remember being little and walking into grandmas house to the welcoming smell of kielbasi and sauerkraut or noodles and cabbage, even cabbage rolls.Every Christmas, I always looked forward to grandmas koackis (fruit filled pastries with powdered sugar) and even after she showed me personally how to make the dough, I can never get it just the way hers tasted. She taught me that the smell of food can just turn your whole mood around, and that there is nothing wrong with spending an entire sunday making something from the heart that soothes the soul.
Mom: my mother used to have her own catering business, it is from her that I learned how to make pies, fancy appetizers, and how to decorate food. Moms homemade chicken soup is still one of my favorites, as well as her homemade cinnamon rolls. If i have an event to plan , I call my mom, she knows how to set up one hell of a nice party! (you should have seen my wedding shower and how nice THAT was!) Cupcake tower anyone???
Neil was a man that I dated for a short time in my Early twenties, he was a musician who played with Roberto Ocassios Latin Jazz Project, The Afrodisiatics and his own band Purplex. Neil introduced me to latin food, real true latin food, Flan, Cuban Sandwiches, and rice and beans. He also loved to cook with lots of fresh garlic, which has always been a favorite of mine. Neil also introduced me to Thai Food and Pad Thai with Peanut sauce, one taste and I was in love (with the food, not him)he opened me up to flavors I had never experienced before.
Andy (the vegan)
Andy was a vegan chef who worked for the Second City, when they were here in Cleveland a few years back, I had never met a vegan, aside from my sister Dee who was vegan for a time. Andy really opened me up to cooking with fresh vegetables and fruits,he showed me how to navigate the west side market and how to look for the freshest herbs and ingredients for my cooking. He introduced me to falaffel and the best hummus on earth at Nates Deli in Ohio City. he also showed me how to make Sweet Potatoe fries, baked squash with fennel and coriander, vegan stuffed peppers, and even vegan chocolate chip cookies! I must say that he was probably the one who taught me how to eat the healthiest and how to really appreciate fruits and veggies.
My French Canadian pal Julia, has been a true blessing in my life, not only is she a terrific gal pal, but she also knows how to REALLY cook lots of gourmet stuff. She, like I, also appreciates food, and the prep that goes into it, the girl has an entire cabinet full of spices in alphabetical order! She has spices I never even heard of! If I have a culinary question I usually call on her, and her French Onion soup recipe is a favorite between my husband and I. I even have a saying “If Julia made it, you know it’s good”
The Chefs at Big Fish Seafood Bistro:
Quite some years ago I used to work as a waitress and hostess for a restaurant called “Big Fish”. Wile working there, I got to taste things I have never tasted in my life, like Tuna Shashimi, raw oysters (ick), and sword fish, all freshly prepared, one day I asked Chef Tye to make me a salad for lunch, he threw together,The Cape Codder salad, which consisted of Arugula,red onions, pine nuts, blue cheese, candied pecans and raspberry vinaigrette dressing. I about died and went to heaven, and it was from that moment on, that I craved “fancy salads” I in fact don’t believe that I ever went back to eating iceberg lettuce ever again, I was hooked on the good stuff. They also introduced me to Dirty martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives! MMMMMMM
my father is a meat cutter and knows a good slice of beef when he sees it, dad taught me how to pick out the perfect piece of meat, how to season it and cook it until it’s tender. He also makes incredible navy bean soup. My dad is always experimenting in the kitchen making new recipes and tasty things. He also makes the most Delicious fudge in the world!
Mike , Michele’s (The Beautiful Nightmare) Dad:
Now she may find this hilarious, but Michele’s dad made the absolute best steaks I have ever had, he never let me know what the seasoning was ( said he would have to kill me) but that man could turn a few steaks into one hell of a meal! I loved being invited over Michele’s house for steaks, complete with baked potatoes and salads with ranch dressing!
So many people have shown me so many different things, and different ways to look at food. I have a pretty wide palette when it comes to food, and I love a good meal at the end of a hard day, food doesn’t just feed your stomach , it feeds your soul. And I am so grateful for the people that I have met in my life,who have showed me everything food has to offer. I feel lucky. And now, thanks to this post…..I feel really hungry……