Over the past five years or so, I’ve discovered a part of myself that is very maternal. It was an aspect of my personality that went neglected for a really long time, but I’m starting to lean into this side of myself more and more. When I imagine my ideal future, I can absolutely see myself becoming a stereotypical stern-but-loving Irish grandmother with a five kids and twenty grandchildren who spends her days baking bread, frying potatoes and serving up hearty meals at the family dinner table on Sunday nights.
I genuinely love to take care of those I care about. It brings me such great joy and satisfaction to know that there is something that I can do that would make the lives of my loved ones that much better. One of the things that I love to do for pretty much anyone and everyone is cooking.
I’ve always been obsessed with food (and eating), and my parents ensured that I didn’t grow up a “picky” eater. I either ate what was served or I didn’t eat at all. I quickly developed a fondness for French, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Mexican, Cuban and nearly any other international cuisine I could get my hands on. I loved, loved, loved to try new foods. I also love, love, love to eat. Maybe too much. But that’s an issue for a different article.
When I was in preschool, I infamously ordered a “medium-rare filet-mignon and a martini with three olives” during an exercise that was meant to help us learn how to order food for ourselves. Needless to say, my parents received an urgent phone call from my bewildered teacher that day. I was only repeating my grandfather’s favorite meal order and no idea what a filet-mignon was (let alone a martini!) but that little incident marked the beginning of my obsession with food.
My love for cooking started to develop when I was nine or ten years old. My dad suffers from a stomach disorder with makes it so that he can’t eat anything spicy or acidic. Needless to say, this presented a challenge when it came to seasoning our meals. Without black pepper, onions, garlic or even wine in a pasta sauce, our dinners were very bland for a very long time.
With help and encouragement from both of my parents, I began to try and craft recipes that would adhere to my dad’s dietary restrictions but would also be flavorful enough for the rest of the family to eat. Needless to say, it was and still is a challenge to create a delicious meal without garlic (!!), but those limitations made me learn an enormous amount about how spices, oils and fats can all be swirled together to create truly unique flavors.
Creativity, of course, plays a huge part in the crafting of new recipes. I love taking simple ingredients and playing around with them to create new tastes, textures and umami effects in otherwise ordinary dishes.
Far and away, my favorite cuisine to cook is a tie between Italian and French. The art of a simmering pasta sauce is something that should be framed and hung in a museum. The beauty of searing, browning and sautéing beef in bacon fat for traditional bœuf bourgignon cannot be understated. Have you ever eaten mushrooms sauteed in browned butter in a cast iron skillet? If you haven’t, you will see God the first time you do.
Cooking is my way of showing love, affection, and gratitude to all the important people in my life. It de-stresses me and allows my mind to quiet down and just ~be~ in my kitchen surrounded by the aroma of roasted garlic.
Quite simply, there is nothing better than a dinner party with friends and family featuring countless bottles of red wine, fresh pasta and the most ridiculously luxurious Bolognese sauce you can imagine.
I hope you enjoy the recipes that I’ll be posting along with all the tips, tricks and mishaps that I’ll encounter along the way. If you decide to cook using one of my recipes, please let me know! Nothing would make me happier.
From my table to yours,