Thursday, July 23, 2009

One Day at a Time

Welcome back, me.

I have spent the past couple of weeks weeding through recipes. Well, working and weeding through recipes. Okay, working, mid-summer cleaning and weeding through recipes. Sigh.

In any case, I have been working my way slowly through my collection of recipes that have accumulated from years of printing from websites, snipping from newspapers, and the ever-popular ripping from magazines. They have all found themselves loosely filed (read: stuffed) into a giant hard-cover spiral journal which I had geniously converted into my "recipe book" back in college. Few and far between are the days when I actually muster up the motivation to organize that glorified Trapper Keeper. Pardon me, my 80's are showing.

So in honest efforts to truly get the task done, I have decided to tackle a little bit at a time, day by day. And, in doing so, have discovered how I have changed. Perhaps I have fallen victim to the recently popularized green movement. Perhaps I simply am fine-tuning my choices. Perhaps, oh just perhaps, I have simply become more conscious of the world around me, more sensitive and yet somehow more determined. Perhaps.

My parents have always kept a compost pile, and our garden has certainly expanded its selection to include cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins, watermelon, leaf lettuce and string beans. I know we've always had a red currant bush, although those perfectly round little berries had always been a little too tart for my liking. We turn off the AC when not needed and open windows throughout the house to, as my father would say, "get some cross-ventilation."

But these days, I find myself thinking beyond and perhaps ahead. Chlorine-free bleach, natural organic sugar, olive oil instead of butter. Organic cotton and glass replacing synthetics and plastics. I'm sure I could keep a running tab of all of the different little changes that occur to me throughout the day. And I know that there are probably people out there that might roll their eyes at this type of, um, stuff. But in all honesty, we are responsible for our own bodies. And I will one day be responsible for some other little bodies. To strengthen. To protect. To fill with the goodness of the world. Because we all know there is enough bad out there.

I believe in whole foods, in pure foods. I believe in fresh fruit and vegetables, more so ones that haven't been subjected to harmful pesticides and chemicals. I don't believe in diets — I believe in being healthy, living healthy. I believe in good old fashioned exercise, but I also believe in yoga and mediation. I believe in strengthening the body and the mind. I don't necessarily believe in religion per se, but I believe in faith and spirituality. I believe in happiness, but I also believe in sadness. Because without heartbreak and despair our souls would never get a chance to grow, strengthen and thrive. Without experiencing the darkness of life, we could never fully appreciate the light.

So as I continue to work, clean, organize and, ultimately, live, I find it appropriate that I leave off here: I believe in balance.

♥ D

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

For the Love of Food

I enjoy cooking. No — scratch that — I love cooking. I beam at the thought of preparing extravagant and delicious Saturday breakfasts. I daydream of having friends over for small, intimate dinner parties. Fresh flowers, bottles of wine, delicate aromas of savory herbs and spices. You get the idea. If you're going to drool, please drool with class.

My love for food has not always been such, however. Granted I am the daughter of a chef and most people, for this reason, are convinced that I must have always loved that. Wrong. In all honestly, it was less because my father was a chef and more despite it that I found my culinary roots. To best explain this thought process, please rudely awaken your inner 6 year old child, typically sweet and certainly stubborn. It's dinner time. What are you most looking forward to having? Spaghetti and meatballs? Macaroni and cheese? Ohmigoodness...PIZZA??? No. Sorry. Tonight we will be having filet of sole in a white wine sauce with sautéed broccoli rabe. Right. Ok. I think I'll make my own food, thanks. And that's how it started.

I have come a long way since my coupe de la cuisine. (I also apparently have come a long way from my french classes as well!) I love broccoli rabe (and spinach, and swiss chard, and kale). I drool over the smell of fresh onion and garlic sautéeing in a pan. (It's pretty much one of my most favorite smells in the world.) I had always been known as "She who does not eat anything green — ever." Cute nickname, huh? My grandmother to this day still makes a scene anytime I eat a salad. "Wooooow...I connn bolief it!!" (Meant to read, "Wow, I can't believe it!" — thick Italian accents do not translate well phonetically.) And every now and then I experience moments of clarity and sheer awe that I am where I am considering I was where I was. Now, don't get me wrong...I went through periods where I pretty much ate Ramen Noodles for a month straight. And I love Burger King french fries. But I can certainly do without cakes and cookies and all the other frilly baked goods out there. Apple pies make me shrug my shoulders, even though I've made more than I can count. And muffins don't even get a second glance. Chocolate however, I'm convinced, is an entirely different species of sugary treat altogether. It's pretty much an emotion.

But, oh for the love of food, that is. From the fresh ingredients, to the chopping, stirring, sautéeing and deglazing, to the plate presentation and wine choices, I have amassed a wealth of appreciation and affection for all of it. As I stated earlier, I am not a chef. Would I like to ever be a chef? I'm not quite sure. I have always discussed taking culinary classes with my father, but as far as actually being behind the lines, I've always been hesitant. Hesitant because I know the hours he has always kept...leaving in what felt like the middle of the night as a child (in reality, 5:30 am), coming home sometime around 11 pm, burnt, toasted, Dom DeLuise says in Robin Hood: Men In Tights, "D-E-D, dead."

So, to commence this great journey of blogdom, I leave off with some quotes starting with the remarkably spunky queen of the cuisine:

  • "You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients. " Julia Childs

  • "The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found." Calvin Trillin

  • "My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles

Cin-cin and cent'anni!
♥ D

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...