When I was in eighth grade, one of our English assignments was to write a biography of our future selves. I wrote about the restaurant that I was sure I’d have “when I grew up.”
By most definitions, at this point I’ve “grown up,” but I haven’t opened a restaurant—at least, not yet. However, I have managed to be involved in the food world in some way or another for the last twenty-five years, either as a caterer, teacher, or writer and publisher. I love to cook and eat and travel and write, and if I can make money doing any or all of those things, I’m happy.
My two kids and I live in a 1940s cottage in Northern California, on the same street as my parents and one of my sisters and her family. When my other sister and her family come from Park City, and my brother and his wife drive up from San Diego, we manage to fit sixteen people around an eight-person dining table. Holiday meals require a spreadsheet, and we make full use of the extra fridge in the garage.
Every Tuesday I cook soup, salad, and bread for a group of friends. Corn chowder with green chiles in the fall; chicken, mushroom and barley in the winter; Thai yellow curry with asparagus and peas in the spring. Shopping at the farmer’s market is one of the highlights of my week, not just for the fruits and vegetables, but because I love my weekly visits with my favorite farmers.
I believe that food should be made from real ingredients that were grown, raised, or produced without weird chemicals. I believe in vegetables, and I also believe in fat, and sugar, and salt. I believe that anyone can cook well. I believe that food connects us to the land, to the seasons, and to each other.
Above all, I believe that food should be delicious. Otherwise, what’s the point?