Monday, June 27, 2011

My Influences Part 1

My friends have often heard the story of how I became the cook that I am. All the credit goes to my parents. At an early age they gave me free reign in the kitchen to cook. While some kids played with their food, I cooked mine. I didn't have to cook, but if wanted to eat something edible I did. It wasn't until I got to my second year of college that I learned that chicken wasn't supposed to be completely black on the outside and vulcanized on the inside. To my mom's credit, she only cooked the chicken the way my father liked it. It was broiled, broiled again and broiled some more. I wasn't always sure whether or not to eat it or use it to light a fire in our charcoal grill. I rue the day my father bought a gas grill, then we had super carbonized chicken. This may seem pretty horrible but it wasn't always so bad. One day my mother decided to buy some really expensive cookbooks. They were the Grand Diplome Cookbooks. Really french and fancy. It had all sorts of stuff that I was hoping my parents would try and cook. Indeed, they actually did. However, if you are going to choose a first recipe, why choose Duck? I remember waiting hours for my parents to complete the process of making duck with cherry sauce. For all intents and purposes it looked great. The sauce was very tasty. Then came the true test, the duck. Well, lets just say that duck is sitting on shelf somewhere in Spencer Stores saying squeeze me. You couldn't cut it or chew it. Thankfully that was their one and only true disaster out of that cookbook. The only sad thing for me was I was already going to college by the time they learned how to make food that was truly edible. While they may have grown into better cooks now, the did like to eat out and eat well. My true culinary epiphany came on a trip right before Senior Year Highschool. We went to France and Southern Germany and got to stay in places that only the French knew about. It was quite amazing. I bought my first cookbook in France. It was the German version of the recipes of L'Ousteau de Baumaniere. I learned so much from the chef. He was extraordinarily personable and free with his time. He told me that he did not become a chef until after he retired at the age of 60. That always gives me hope and about 15 years to go. The food was outstanding and I ate things I never thought I would even see on a plate. Pigeon, Lobster souffle, all sorts of sorbets. I ate my food, my parents and my sister's leftovers and their desserts most nights. It was amazing. It started me on my culinary journey that continues today. I have countless cookbooks that have helped mold my tastes and I will shares those with you shortly. I hope people will post their own experiences on how and why the love to cook or why they don't. I personally hate the dishes, but it is a labor of love. Keep me posted and I will keep you posted.

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