March 1, 2010 Food, etc.
Let me begin this by saying I love food.
Growing up, food and cooking was such a part of the fabric of my life that I just kind of took it for granted. While other kids were eating Hamburger Helper (which consequnently was banned from consumption in my home– I’ve never even had a Sloppy Joe), I was eating Filet Mignon. My mom is a gourmet chef, and for awhile growing up she owned and operated her own catering business. I spent holiday seasons watching my mom decorate cheesecakes, ice sugar cookies, and package up treats gallore.
My sister was more the “doer” in the kitchen, always standing alongside my mom and asking how to do something– while I would quietly sit, observing. When I became an adult, I didn’t cook on my own for a long time, but once I started in earnest I found I’d absorbed a great deal in my observations, and that I’d managed to learn to be a decent enough cook by watching.
In conjunction with my cooking skills came a small degree of food snobbery. I also blame my mother (while well-meaning, its going to spoil your kids if you take them to 4 star restaurants when they are 10) but I am glad that she made me a food snob. I have a deep appreciation for the finer cuisine in life (while balancing out quite nicely with my love for Taco Bell).
When it comes to food at home, when I cook , I hate to do pre-packaged meals. I like to come up with new concoctions (Ask FFI) and I don’t like to have spaghetti sauce from a jar that I don’t fool with to make it my own. I’m a big fan of Semi-Homemade, love all the shows on the food Network, and sometimes like to pretend I’m on my own cooking show in the kitchen.
The downfall to life is that I’ve got a beyond full time job– I leave at 7, come home after 7 most days, and by the time I get home I’m so not enthused about being creative in the kitchen. I do a lot of staring at the refrigerator, hoping food is going to pop out. FFI offers to cook sometimes, and I’ll share a little secret: he is not the best at the culinary arts. his favorite “seasoning” is hot sauce, which he likes to add to everything he cooks. Unfortunately, hot sauce is not the perfect companion to any and everything in a pot, so we’ve worked on reigning that habit in. I think that the problem is that when he sees me cook in the kitchen, I’m all about adding a little pinch of this or that to add flavor– a well trained and honed skill based on trial, error, and constant observation through tasting.
I really appreciate when he tries to cook, because it’s one less thing I have to obsess over. He made this spaghetti one time that was killer, with little meatballs and everything– I was super proud of his kitchen skills that day. But, we both came to the conclusion and understanding that for the most part, he’s much better at the warming up of things that he can find in the freezer or refrigerator, which he does a brilliant job at, and I do not fault him in the least for being skilled at the process of freezer to oven.
The thing is– FFI is a bit of a food snob himself. On our first vacay the first year we were dating, we went to a 4 star restaurant in Vegas. The restaurant was called Picasso and we had an amazing meal (I still dream about it). I saved the rose that was in a vase at our table and still have it hanging up in our bedroom as reminder of a stellar dining experience. We have gone to a lot of nice places, and we kind of feel like we should bring our love for the finer aspects of fine dining to our wedding reception– I’ll save that for another post– but I am worried that our guests will see us as food snobs instead of foodies. I have a friend who says I like “fancy” food, and usually when she says this she crinkles her nose in mad distaste. I dunno– what do you think is too fancy for a wedding reception? I welcome your thoughts and feedback on this issue.