Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all.
My first food was a Maryland oyster. You think I’m kidding. “Who feeds a baby,” yes, that’s right, a baby, “an oyster?” At the time, my parents likely applauded themselves for their ingenuity. What can you feed to someone with no teeth? Salty, slippery, and, sure, definitely not a choking hazard. My face twisted in agony as I looked at my parents–those who had betrayed me so.
In retrospect, it wasn’t a half-bad way to go in.
I remember dragging a small stool across my family’s kitchen to help with the latest meal, sniffing at sauces and sizzling garlic as my father carefully chopped vegetables nearby. I dipped my fingers eagerly into bowls, dribbles not always making my mouth. Dad would repeat his mantra, “Erin, a good cook, is a clean cook!”
Sparkling kitchen or not, cooking became my refuge (and reward) from tedious and agonizing papers and readings throughout college. As my classes wore on, I became increasingly drawn to the sociocultural importance of foods in our lives. I drifted into my senior year in American Studies with the realization that pursuing my studies and my passion for cooking were no longer mutually exclusive.
With every exploit that I record, I hope to explore the larger importance of foods in our daily lives. How are they defining (or not) our roles? Or how they can be an expression of who we are as well as the current cultural climate?
The serious aside, LETS EAT!