Saturday, September 01, 2007

Home Is Where The Food Is

I knew GH was my soul mate the first time we cooked together. His enthusiasm, his infectious joy, and his obvious love for food made the whole experience new and exciting again. Even now, after cooking together for years, it's always better when we do it together, and not just because it divides the work, but because it's one of the times when we connect the best. We share, we love, we eat.

Food has always been a major part of my life. Me and my brothers and sister were raised in a house centered around food. My parents have been involved in the food industry our entire lives, from serving it, to cooking it, to selling it. For a while they even owned their own catering business. I can still remember the whoopie pie assembly lines and the night my dad spent on the kitchen floor, his hands encased in ice, after slicing fresh jalapenos without gloves. It's these food centered vignettes that pepper my childhood.

I was a good cook from the time I could stir. I made my first, lattice topped pie at age 10 (my parents still exclaim over the photos proudly). Every new recipe was a chance to explore, experiment and best of all, eat. Food was a playground, and I was the queen of the monkey bars.

After I had kids, food took on a different roll in my life. No longer could meals be skipped, eaten irregularly, or consumed purely for pleasure. Food was now Important. It was now the building blocks of tiny minds and bodies, something to be balanced and carefully considered, something to be planned and scheduled. In short, it became work.

When GH came into our lives, one of the greatest gifts he gave to me, was giving me back my love for cooking. Now, food wasn't just something to fret over, just another chore. Weekends became a time of elaborate, ethnic meals, of baking, and laughing, and stuffing ourselves silly as we cooked. Food was recognized once again as something that binds people together. Feeding friends and family is something with so with true gusto and flair.

K embraces this passion for food with open arms. She's one of the only 5 year-olds I know who will scarf down calamari, heap her plate with steamers, and polish off a bowl of spicy seafood gumbo. We encourage her pure delight at trying new things, her pride at tackling a new food experience.

The one cog in our foodie family wheel is G. To him, food is "plain" or "not-plain". Guess which one he prefers? To G, the perfect meal is cheeseburgers or tacos- anything else is up for debate on a daily basis. Most days he rejects breakfast no matter how much we plead. When dinner's placed in front of him, it's usually greeted by grumbling, complaints, and sometimes tears. This frustrates GH and I to no end. Though we parade a bright rainbow of food in front of him, he can't be threatened, bribed or cajoled into trying a bite. How we ended up with such an extreme picky eater, we'll never know.

This weekend, my parents are visiting. I'm always thrilled to cook for my parents, to garner the praise of two such wonderful chefs. Tonight we will cook a dish GH and I invented last weekend- a Gorgonzola and white wine cheese sauce with cherry tomatoes over penne pasta, topped by broiled scallops that have been marinating in olive iol, fresh garlic and minced basil overnight. I drool just thinking about it. Tomorrow night, a roast chicken with GH's Ultimate Mashed Potatoes, and all the fixins. Everyone will eat drink, talk, and generally make merry.

G is sure to request a bologna sandwich both nights.

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