Cooking On A Budget: Crazy Love of Food

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Crazy Love of Food

As I travel through this food journey of mine, I am continually seeking information about food; where it comes from, how it is used in cooking and the best technique for preparing it. The thing is, I've barely scratched the surface. Each time I watch "Chopped" on the Food Network and they have some oddball ingredient in the mystery basket my ears perk up. Then I wait for one of the judges to spill their guts and tell me what it is. Perhaps during the side interviews of the contestant chefs they will impart some of their knowledge.
If I don't get the information I need, I go to the computer and enter cyberspace - that wondrous world of information that is available at the press of a button. Type in my question and voila! I have umpteen pages show up and I get to pick and choose the sites I visit and the learning begins.
Painfully I have regretted so many times that I discovered this love of cooking and creating food so very late in life. Unfortunate circumstances arose later in my life so I have yet to be able to go to culinary school which I would so dearly love to do. In fact I talked about it so much so that my youngest son looked into culinary school for himself. Fortunately I was able to recognize that he was going to try to live out MY dream and not his own. When I spoke to him and made him understand he should pursue his OWN dreams and not mine, he gratefully bowed out.
Food is universal. We need food to sustain our bodies. But food is more than that. Food is a connection; the path to kindled friendships, the link to family. It feeds our bodies but it also feeds our souls. No matter whether you are gathered around your own dinner table, a relative's or friends table or a restaurant table, food and conversation and laughter go hand in hand.
There is a great thrill I get in cooking a meal and seeing the positive expressions and reactions to the dish, let alone the clean plates. When I did cook at an assisted living facility some years back I thoroughly enjoyed that experience. At that time the facility was fairly new so the residents numbered around 27-30. Nervous that they were used to the food coming from another chef and the fact that they were not a group that really did not like change, I was not sure how my recipes would be received.
When the plates came back clean, I knew I had made something they thoroughly enjoyed. It was one of the best highs for me because it validated all that I was putting out there to be a good "chef", despite never having culinary training.
Putting on the chef coat there at the facility I had a feeling of guilt; how could I possibly wear the coat if I did not graduate from culinary school? My boss said I did not have to go to culinary school to earn the coat. He felt my skills and passion for food and love of cooking and the recipes I developed were all that he needed. Apparently the residents felt the same way.
Here are a couple of photographs I found of the facility via the web.

This is the main front entrance to The Saybrook at Haddam.

The first main dining room is absolutely stunning! These guests were there when I cooked there.

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