Someone at work asked me why I love food so much, and that made me stop and think. Why do I love food? Why is it so much of who I am?
Growing up we ate pretty healthy, but in a much more traditional meat and potatoes kind of way. It was a very Midwestern diet. Breakfast was usually cereal, eggs or pancakes but those pancakes were always from scratch and with real maple syrup. Not even store bought but usually from my Grandparents maple trees. You can’t get much more local than that, to this day I can not eat imitation maple syrup.
If we snacked it was on things like fruit, very rarely chips or Little Debbie Snacks. But for the most part it was real food.
Lunch was always packed the night before and brought from home. Always. The town I grew up in didn’t have school lunch. Strange and shocking I know. I guess I just didn’t know what I was missing. I did always have a 5 cent carton of milk with lunch too. Even up to high school. 5 cents less than 15 years ago was a pretty darn good deal.
My mom almost always made dinner, going out to eat was a special occasion. While it wasn’t the most interesting or special of meals there was always something on the table. Things like casserole, blt’s made with tomatoes and lettuce from the garden, ham linguine. Typically more meat and potatoes but always a vegetable in there too.
I think back on the food of my childhood and realize that is where my love of food started, some of the homemade things, my grandmas baking and just knowing it would be real food. College actually did involve some cooking but usually it was quick foods. Still somewhat healthy but much more processed. Thankfully I did still eat fresh fruits and veggies!
After college I really started cooking, trying new recipes and ingredients, discovering the Food Network, reading food magazines. Fast forward ten years and my life is full of food. I am surrounded by amazing friends and a fiancé who loves food as much as I do. My pantry is full of things like flavored balsamic vinegar, cumin, nutritional yeast, 3 kinds of salt. You open up the fridge and see fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese (oh the cheese), lean meats and even tofu. I have been on quite the food journey and love bringing people along for the ride. My Mom now has olive oil in the house, knows what quinoa is, and tried pâté on our trip in November. Scott made marinated venison steaks the other night and asked what wine to pair with it.
Having friends love food as much as I do makes me so happy! I associate so many amazing memories with food.
Do you have a learning to love food story?