August 23, 2006


Lots of friends of my ask me how I learned to cook. I give my mom most of the credit for this - though she claims that I may have surpassed her in my skills.

Growing up we were never a "meat and potatoes" type of family. I think that my mom may have been so turned off by her mother's cooking that she felt that she really needed to put her skills to use. We did have our staple meals during the week but they were always punctuated by a few days when we had Mexican, Asian or maybe a curry. I don't think that I always loved
everything that we had, but I like the idea that we didn't just eat stereotypical white Western European/Canadian food. I do remember friends coming over for dinner and asking to have "eggs" for dinner instead of the refried bean burritos that we were eating.

I love my memories of shopping for food with my parents as well. I remember going to Detroit to get ingredients for Mexican dishes because there were no grocery stores that carried them in Windsor. I used to love going to the market and shopping for different fruits and vegetables. If we were lucky enough, my sister and I would be able to snag a few loose grapes, a bag of cheese curd, a giant pretzel with mustard or a big sugar cookie with some cartoon character on it made of icing.

My family was traditional in that my mother did most of the cooking but I am sure that my father inspired me as well. First off, he was my guinea pig when I started to try to make dinner. I think I was about 13 or 14 - some things went really well (chili and cornbread), some things bombed (homemade pasta with burned tomato sauce) - and he ate all of it. Well, he at least tried it. My father was always good for experimenting when it was his night to cook. There was always his scrambled eggs recipe from the old Mary Moore cook book as well as his "Tuna Casserole with Honey Bran Flake Topping" - it wasn't as bad as you'd think. My dad's eating habits definitely influenced what we ate every day. He was usually on some fad diet and did spend quite a bit of time as a vegetarian (the kind that ate fish though). Coming up with meatless meals in the 70's and 80's was no small feat, I am sure.

As I have gotten a bit older I have looked to friends, books, magazines, tv shows, cooking club and some classes for inspiration. There isn't much that I wouldn't try to make and still not all of it is successful (Cod with Roasted Beets - ew!) but I love the process.

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