During the process of tiling our kitchen floor, we couldn’t step on the floors for risk of moving them or the grout cracking. This left us pretty limited on our food options, leaving us to either crawl across the counters to get a snack, or eating out, as all of our appliances were pulled from the kitchen and sitting in the dining room. It was pretty inconvenient, and after over a week of living with this, I was SO burned out of eating out, and all I really wanted was a home cooked meal. When it was all said and done, I was so excited to start cooking again, which I hadn’t previously felt like doing in a while. I am trying to get some new recipes into our cookbook and continue editing pieces, hopefully to reach that goal of finishing it by the end of the year. I don’t know if that will happen, but each step is progress. Here is some interesting facts about Connor and my experiences with food…
As a kid, Connor’s mom and stepdad worked at an Italian restaurant called Cacina Cacina. He grew up with a wide variety and exposure to food, as he was allowed to try many of the dishes there for dinner. When his mom cooked at home, Connor didn’t have the option to not try something on his plate. When he tried something and didn’t like it, he was given two options: eat it anyway, or go to bed hungry because she wasn’t making something else. However, they had a special rule when it came to food…you have ONE item you can choose not to like, and whatever that item may be, mom wouldn’t cook it. If you wanted to change your item, it had to be after the meal was over. So, what was Connor’s one item? Split pea soup. And then later, he changed it to pumpkin soup. I’m pretty sure even as an adult, that rule still applies. Connor’s grandfather also loved to cook for the family. What he cooked was never anything out of the ordinary, but no matter what was prepared, food always brought the family together.
For Connor, trying new foods is a way to experience life, different cultures, and different ways of living. Eating is half the excitement of traveling. Food is one of the many things that define a culture. Connor will always try the craziest things, like scorpions, and if it tastes bad, well, at least he tried it.
I think of my childhood, and food in general doesn’t stand out in most of my memories, except for the holidays with family and baking with my mom. We used to make cookies and brownies all the time. We had a round brown glass bowl that I would dump the flour and sugar in a big pile like a mountain. On top, I would drizzle the oil and eggs, like it was the lava on a volcano. Then I would carefully mix it together, smooth it out and make patterns in it with the spoon. Then came the best part– after we dumped the batter into the pan, I got to lick the spoon and the bowl until it was sparkly clean.
My favorite foods were hamburgers (no cheese), and macncheese. I had a few other foods I was willing to eat, but I was pretty plain and simple with my selections. If I didn’t like something, I got away with spitting it out and making a scene. Macaroni was usually found in front of me 15 minutes later. I didn’t start branching out until I met Connor, and even more when we got our first apartment. We quickly grew tired of the ten or so recipes I had, and it got us started looking for more. We reached out to our families and the internet. We tried new recipes together, discarded the ones we didn’t like, and adjusted the ones we did to make them even better. I remember cooking in our tiny kitchen, watching YouTube vides to learn how to cut something, or cook something, or whatever other tips we needed, like how to substitute for things we didn’t have. We learned together and got more comfortable with the basics.
I now find that my tastebuds get bored pretty quickly. I never thought I would find myself eating stuff even as simple as chili, fish, and stronger cheeses. I try almost everything now, sometimes even without hesitation. Of course, baking is still my favorite. But why wouldn’t it be when I get to eat batter to my heart’s content. ;)