There has never been a time— and perhaps some of you can identify with me here— when I haven't loved food with a fervor both unrestrained and unapologetic. The golden, yeasty smell of baking bread; the soft baby's fuzz on a rosy summer peach; the bubbling of a rich, red tomato sauce as it sits percolating on the back burner: these all bring me a joy so unabashed that it surprises even me.
Even as a gangly highschooler, I loved food. For a few glorious semesters, I took cooking classes— Italian, Spanish, Seafood, Soups— at a community college. I sat, doing my geometry homework, watching the middle-aged moms file timidly into the room and perch on the edge of a stainless steel sink or faux-marble countertop. All of us felt very out of place, for there is a vulnerability in walking into unfamiliar territory; especially so if that territory is crucial to our own survival, as is the cooking and sharing of a meal. We are perpetual students, all of us, and I hope to share my observations with you as I charge, banner held high, into the world of food.
The food that we eat, and prepare, and select, says a lot about our person. We each season our food differently— with spices from our pantry, natch, but also intellectually and emotionally, based on our gastronomical thoughts and viewpoints. Not thinking about your food? That's a seasoning, too.
So, what are my four seasonings?
Invention. Recipes are incredibly useful and can produce amazing results. But most of the dishes I cook have no recipe— like a curry that I've thrown together, approximating the spices, or a soup that uses up all my fresh vegetables on the verge of wilting in the crisper drawer. Recipes are road maps, not treasure maps. Take some detours and see where they lead.
Nutrition. Plenty of vegetables, and an eye towards a balanced diet. I don't shy away from ingredients like butter or heavy cream— I just make sure I balance those choices with lighter choices during the day.
Information. Knowing where my food comes from is important to me. I put an effort into eating as locally as I can, and I try to make informed choices about my dishes.
Taste. Like I said, I don't shy away from ingredients like butter or heavy cream. My food's gotta taste good, or else I'm not interested in eating it. Enough said.
What are your seasonings?