August 26, 2010

Something happened along the way...

I used to just eat whatever was available.  I used to eat at fast food places and go out to eat at franchise places.  In going to culinary school and in changing my diet to a more whole foods healthy approach the tastebuds changed.  Along the way I became a picky eater.  Not so much picky about the veggies and fruits and meats and breads and grains and such but maybe a more sophisticated pallet has emerged.  I don't eat out anymore.  I just am really picky about the "junk food".  As a matter of fact I rarely eat any junk food unless I make it at home my way.  About the only thing I stop for anymore is a green chili burger but I don't get the fries and soda anymore.  I get an iced tea instead.  LOL  We make almost everything at home now.  We grill our own burgers now and make our own oven fries and we eat TONS of fruits and veggies every day.  The smell of a fast food joint turns my stomach because my body has had better.  It is so hard to eat at church dinners unless the cook has prepared it themselves and to eat at events and camps that I attend because it is just not good to me anymore.

I know, I am a food snob now.  BUT I don't eat lobster and caviar.  I eat affordable food that anyone can buy.  It is how it is cooked or not cooked that matters to me now.  I don't fry much anymore.  We don't eat a lot of white flour products and we have acquired the taste for whole grains.  They are DELICIOUS!!!

I have also become like my Daddy.  I prefer my own cooking to just about anyone else's cooking.  Not that other people cannot cook... that is not true but I have a way of knowing how I love it and that is how I cook it and then I truly enjoy what I eat that way.  I guarantee if I eat something that is wonderful from someone else I certainly let them know.  If I don't say anything some assume, and probably rightly so, that I did not love what they made but I will NEVER say it if they are kind enough to offer it.  I don't want to be ugly.  I merely want to show how I have changed.  My pallet has changed and my tastes have changed and my cooking has changed.

There are lots of things that are even made at the culinary school by other students that is truly surprising, and not in a good way.  I am amazed at how "in the box" they all think.  Many menus planned by the students are limited to what they eat and what they grew up with.  They do not branch out and use their skills to try to make new things.  Am I perfect?  Certainly not but I am willing to try and the results here at home have been quite favorable as I have branched out with our family's menus.  I offer so many new things to them all the time.  I love to find new foods and ingredients and try them all out on my family.  Not everyone always likes what I make but I have yet to find a food my husband will not at least try.  LOL  He is a good man and typically loves everything I put in front of him.  I know he is not just being nice because he wants seconds and then takes the leftovers to work without any prodding.  He ASKS to take them!  ;)

There are still things I have not cooked on my own.  Seafood is one of those things we have not really learned much about at school so every time I make anything seafood in nature it is a grand experiment.  I wish they had a fish class but they do not offer such a class now.  It is an associates degree, after all, and they are limited.  The culinary experience, for me, has just awakened something inside.  I cannot get enough of learning more about food and nutrition.  I cannot get enough of scouting out new ingredients, herbs and spices and ways of preparing them all.  I have become a foodie, yes, but more than that.... a food connoisseur of sorts.  I am on a lifelong quest for the perfect way to make a pie or to find the recipe for the best macaroni and cheese you have ever put in your mouth.  I love food... food is life.... food is a part of everything we do.  Food is how we celebrate and grieve and it is an intricate part of every single culture on the planet.  Food sustains our very life and nourishes both body and soul.

One of my favorite things about food is it's amazing ability to bring up a memory.  Memories from my childhood keep me eating certain foods such as a peanut butter and plum jelly sandwich with a small bag of Fritos and a Coca Cola.  I remember eating that at my Meemaw's when I was a very little child and loving that she would set out a little TV tray with my plate, napkin and a little 6 ounce bottle of Coke.  I can even remember the texture of the tray and the daily news we would watch together and then the soap opera she watched every day before going to work.  (As the World Turns)  I also remember the black eyed peas she made for every occasion.  She made them because we loved them.  It was just recently that I hit on the right formula for my own that, my husband SWEARS, tastes just like her's did.  He was blessed enough to have had a few bowls before she passed away.  I remember the birthday cakes that my Mom would have for me.  I was born very close to Christmas but she always made sure I had a special cake and presents wrapped in birthday paper instead of Christmas paper.  Over the years I had cakes like Holly Hobby and Garfield just to name two of my favorites.  I remember the venison chili my Daddy made for us and the beef stews and homemade hamburgers.  He was the most amazing cook and he did not even have a culinary degree.  He can still cook circles around many of the students at school at 73 years old.  Food memories are some of my MOST favorite memories!

So, along the way... I became sentimental about food and obsessive about food and in love with food and all because I took the time to start paying attention to what I was eating.  I took the time to stop and really taste it... smell the smells and savor the amazing diversity of it all.  Our family stopped to sit down for family meals as I was growing up and now we do that with our children.  We eat more slowly and enjoy the fellowship about the table.  Food does that.... it changes us if we let it.  In good ways if we let it and in bad ways if we abuse it.  I am changed.... and I love what I am becoming... and soon... I will be a chef and that makes me very happy.  :)

What is your story???

Tell me if you blog about this.  I would love to read your food story.  :)

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Great post! We've been changing our food as well. It's been a fun and tough journey and we aren't done yet. I'm hoping when we get moved to TX I'll be able to really cook again as opposed to throwing together quick and simple meals. Right now our kitchen is also our dining room and our school room. My counters are so small that I mostly use my table for food prep. So a "real" kitchen would help me cook again.

    So, do you have any recipes, meal plans, or cookbooks to recommend to a health food newbie with 4 VERY picky little ones to feed?