I began cooking as a young child with my mom in the kitchen. She never followed a recipe but always just seemed to know what tasted good together. In her kitchen I learned to experiment. I found a sense of adventure and an appreciation for healthy, delicious food.
During elementary school, I received my first set of cooking utensils, a set of mini-muffin tins and Jiffy muffin mixes. Perhaps prosaic, but certainly nostalgic, the mixes made the kitchen a safe place, one in which everything I made turned out perfectly. The confidence inspired me.
After my first year in college in Oregon, I threw a dinner party for my friends. I used my parent’s formal dining room and served brown-sugar glazed ham with sautéed green beans and an orange chocolate cake for dessert. That’s when I really fell in love with food, entertaining and yes, eating.
It has been said that to be a great writer, one must love to read. I believe that to be a great cook, one must love to eat. This proviso deviates slightly from the traditional wisdom, “Never trust a skinny chef.” Au contraire! Loving to eat, making meals the result of artful preparation, appreciating the interplay of flavors and savoring every delicious bite won’t make you fat (not caring about these things might, though!)