I come from one of those big, recent immigrant families where, when cooking, nothing is written down and much of the time nothing is even being measured. My mother will occasionally keep 3×5 cards with notes for new recipes she hasn’t memorized yet, but eventually those are ignored, too. And she measures. I don’t think my grandmother even owns a set of measuring spoons. The men in my family are all problem solver guys. Math and science guys, with work benches in the garage or basement, always looking over the pro’s shoulder when you have to call in serious help, always coming up with some Rube Goldberg solution to a problem.
Food, to me, has always been this combination of problem solving and gift wrapping. You’re feeding the people you love, and that’s important. Using up whatever is in the house before it goes bad is frugal, and that’s important, too. This results in a kind of high stakes improv performance in the kitchen on a regular basis.
I didn’t really need to know how to cook until I was in my mid-to-late-20’s, but I started testing the waters long before actual hunger and the scarcity of a matriarch drove me to it. I watched a lot of cooking shows, I ignored the flash and focused on the function at those table-side cooking restaurants, I asked my mother and grandmother a lot of questions. After eating a lot of over-seasoned mush, I found my stride.
These days I cook quite often without animal products. I am passionate about doing my part to end factory farming. If and when I eat meat, I need to know that it is locally sourced and sustainably raised. So, you’re going to see a lot, but not exclusively, of vegetarian and vegan dishes in my entries.
I don’t bake. Baking is chemistry and I was always lousy at applied science. Plus, precision is everything in baking and I’m just not that guy.
I also keep a (mostly) photography, disc golf and tea drinking blog over at I Lie Awake & Watch.