I am a lover of food, both eating and cooking. I take it naturally, my entire family loves food. My mother was an amazing cook but surprisingly let none of her five girls do much of it. I don’t know if it was her “way or the highway” attitude or if she just genuinely loved preparing the meals, but I remember at age 18 in the university dorm knowing very little about cooking. Luckily I relied on Mr. Noodles and Kraft dinner for my nourishment…the novelty quickly wore off.
I think my first real interest in learning to cook came from my worldly travels. I was privileged in 1993 to travel the globe mostly in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. There I was exposed to many food and spices I had never heard of let alone like. In fact I remember being in Istanbul and not eating goat cheese or olives! Now I would think this a fate worst than death for my love of them.
Overtime I would come to marry a Moroccan and learn a great deal from the foods his mother would prepare for the family. I have a genuine love of ethnic foods, spice and more exotic cuisine. My career in hotels has also allowed me the privilege of many, many divine meals from world-class Chefs paired by the sommelier. While my skills are a far cry from theirs, my palate yearns for the flavours I have come to know.
My first basic exposure to skills and technique came from The Joy of Cooking and my love of Julia Child. I first saw Julia on a PBS Saturday morning show and thought she such an exotic creature. Her voice alone drew me and her passion for tasting and eww-ing and ahh-ing over her own meals was mesmerizing. I picked up a used copy of TJOC at a make-shift alley yard sale in the West end of Vancouver for $0.50. The book was tattered and worn, with sentences underlined and corners turned over as reminders of favourite recipes. I would later purchase the 75th anniversary edition with pristine pages and even a page marker.
My style of cooking is definitely traditional with a twist. I take a recipe and make it my own, never following the recipe to the letter. I am quite experimental and know what I love to eat, so I allow my palate to lead the way. Above all I despise food waste and look for ways to maximize all food and leftovers.
My goal for 2014 is to cook more. Eat more and share more of my food. I hope to make more preserves of the bounty of Vancouver Island and even make some wine this year. My husband has also caught the cooking fever and the once could-not-boil-water-guy has actually made a few interesting meals including a Bechamel sauce!
For now, I leave you a photo montage of some of my favourite meals this past year.
Faithfully Epicurious in Victoria, BC