Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Welcome to my Kitchen

What happens when a woman realizes that she needs a way to combine her great passions in life–food, words, and family life?

A blog, of course.

Those of you who are familiar with my other blog already know that I’m a little bit nuts about my family. Just a little. I think my children are two of the finest human beings I’ve ever known. My husband is, without question, the best man on planet Earth. When it comes to family, I’m all kinds of blessed.

You may also know that, in my copious free time–when I’m not teaching at Texas Lutheran University–I’m also a writer. It would not be overstating the matter to say that words saved my life. I was a bookish kid in a not-so-bookish family, spending long afternoons in alternate realities and grateful, always, for the opportunity to move outside the narrow margins of my little home town. I teach English because I respect the power of words, and I hope to help my students do the same.

But here’s something you might not know: I love food. Not just eating food, but shopping for food and cooking food and thinking about the various food items that might constitute a single dish or a whole meal. I’m crazy for food, when you get right down to it.

This blog will serve a very practical purpose: to share a few of the recipes I make for the family I love, to give me chance to write about the food I love, and to encourage other home cooks to fall in love with their kitchens. Along the way, I hope to encourage new cooks to have faith in their ability to make a tasty meal. It isn’t hard. It isn’t magic. It’s just food.

Here’s what you can expect from me, a.k.a. The Family Foodie:

  1. Balance. I try to make healthy meals that respect what we know about good nutrition, but I’m no stranger to gooey desserts. Like many people, I’ve struggled with weight issues for most of my life. But I don’t believe in diets, and I don’t believe in any eating plan that tells you to give up on something entirely (carbs, fat, whatever.) All things in moderation, with more of the good stuff than the bad stuff–that’s my motto.
  2. Estimates. Although I will be sharing recipes on this blog, please know that I rarely measure anything when I’m cooking. This means all measurements in my recipes will be approximate–with the exception of baked goods, which rely on chemical interactions and, therefore, need to be a little more precise. But even then, an extra teaspoon of vanilla never hurt anybody.
  3. Experiments. My usual cooking process goes something like this: Google “zucchini.” Look at ten recipes that include zucchini. Find one that looks good–say, “Zucchini Parmesan.” (I don’t know if that’s a real recipe, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?) Google “Zucchini Parmesan.” Look at five versions of that recipe. Get a general idea of what to do. Try it out. If I come up with a winner, I do my best to write down how I got there. But, as my family will attest, “Zucchini Parmesan” will rarely taste the same twice.
  4. Seasons. I like to eat locally-produced food whenever possible. That means I try to eat food when it’s in season–berries in the spring and summer, apples in the fall. I live in a country where almost anything is available to me year-round, but when I think about the cost and labor required to bring a half-pint of raspberries to the table in December, I’m compelled to save the raspberries for summer. And then buy them from a local farmer.
  5. Education. What else would you expect? I’m a professor. You should not be surprised to discover that I like to know where my food comes from, how it’s produced, how it came to be a part of our diet. I’m also fascinated by the chemistry of cooking. If you are too, I recommend Shirley Corriher’s Cookwise as a good introduction.

I hope you’ll cook along with me, try my recipes and offer your feedback. When it comes to food, I’m always up for learning something new.

 

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