Where does your passion begin? One of my favorite passions is cooking and learning about food! (Gosh, can you tell?) What makes a person wake up every morning thinking “what am I going to cook today?” What makes my husband and I fall asleep talking about french fries and how many dipping sauces we can make?
Maybe we’re strange! Does anyone else do that? Tell me I’m not alone!
I’m not sure I can trace my love for food back to any specific, defining moment. I don’t know where it began. Food is a big part of my childhood memories. My Uncle Don made fried oysters. I loved them! We only had them when we visited him and that made it special. Oysters are still one of my favorite things to eat! Unfortunately, the last time I had whole Oysters was three years ago in New Orleans. However, every year we have Oyster dressing for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s one of those things the kids fight over. I love that!
My grandmother (on my Mothers side) was always canning things from their garden. Vegetables, fruits, jams and jellies. She made cookies and several different types of fudge. When rhubarb was in season, she made fresh rhubarb Crisp with brown sugar. I love that sweet and tart combination. Grandma was a “sweet” lady! My Mom was a good cook too. She made liver and onions every month – which I hated with a passion! But, she also made homemade bread, which I love with a passion! (See my first Food Memories post!) Mom made pizza from scratch too and our meals were always very well-rounded. I know it was because my Dad was Diabetic and she wanted to take care of his health. Even after they divorced, she still made balanced meals every single night.
Dad was not much of a cook, but he had great taste in restaurants! There was an Italian place in Claremont CA we frequented quite often when we spent time with him. It was called “Dominicos.” Dad was friends with the Chef/Owner. It was a very small restaurant and Chef Dom would sing in Italian from the kitchen every single night.
I loved going there because we never ordered off the menu. Chef Dom insisted on making us something special every time. I thought it was unique the Chef would come out of the kitchen to chat with us kids and see how we were doing. This isn’t a picture of Chef Dom, but it reminds me of him! His restaurant isn’t there any longer, but it is a memory I cherish.
When my Dad would take us to Modesto, CA to visit his Mom, the highlight of food with her, was Cheerios in the morning in weird shaped China bowls. Bless her heart, the woman could not cook to save her life.
Is it weird I remember the food and not a lot else? I think they called that obsessed, not passion… LOL!
When my Mom married again, it was to a gentleman who grew up in Japan as a child of missionaries. We had plenty of exposure to Japanese food. I remember going to lunch in Little Tokoyo in Los Angeles.
Thanks to that exposure, I still love dried seaweed, green tea and really good sticky rice!
The other memory I have of growing up was when my step-dad’s family would get together to make Sukiyaki. It was always a big event. My aunt would cook all day. There were plenty of people and tables full of food. I remember big bubbling pots of delicious beef, tofu, noodles and onions. Here is a picture of sukiyaki…
Then there were the influences of my friends (and their Moms) who molded my teenage years…. but I think that’s a post to save for another day. What are your favorite childhood food memories?