This food blog has been years in the making. Literally. As far back as I can remember, the vast majority of my favorite, most sentimental memories have revolved around food.
Every Christmas, my grandma and I would enjoy a special day of making gingerbread men. I wasn't tall enough to work on the kitchen counter, so we relocated our cookie base to the kitchen table. There I was, apron on and covered in flour, sneaking bites of the freshly rolled gingerbread dough from the table. We'd watch the cookies rise together through the oven door and it was all I could do not to press my face against the hot glass, getting closer and closer to the gingerbread goodness. If those cookies could talk, they would have gotten a restraining order against my six-year-old self.
Come birthday time, without fail, my mom would get me the coolest cake in town. From a 3-D Strawberry Shortcake buttercream extravaganza to an airbrushed Princess Leah to an edible basket full of handcrafted flowers, my cakes were always unbelievably creative and cool. And to be clear, they weren't the type of "break the bank cool" that you see nowadays, where parents spend hundreds of dollars on a three-tier birthday cake for their two-year-old. No, my birthday cakes were small in size, but huge in creativity and flawless in detail. As a result, to this day I'm obsessed with crazy, creative cakes. This is no more evident than in my husband's and my CandyLand-themed wedding cake. When we have kids, their cakes will be just as original as they are. It's tradition.
Let's go from birthday time to burger time. Every summer, my brother and I would spend a few weeks with our grandparents near the beach. We would spend hours and hours playing in the sand and splashing in the bay with our friends. Come lunchtime, we were famished and there was only place we would go: a tiny, hole-in-the-wall burger joint a few blocks away from their house. No shoes, no shirt, no problem; a not-so-small gang of us would run barefoot through the street, covered in sand and chomping at the theoretical bit. Perched on our tip-toes at the order window, we'd get burgers, fries, onion rings and whatever else we wanted, then oblige our parents' appetites by reading off their list of lunch-related demands (usually in the neighborhood of a tuna fish sandwich). We'd bring back our bounty and sit, feet dangling, on the patio chairs. After a 30-minute obligatory waiting (read: digestive) period, our parents would unleash the hounds – or in our case, their children – back to the beach for an afternoon of surf and sun. It was the best.
These memories are just a splash in my so-called culinary pan. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of food-related memories I cherish. I could go on for days about the time I taught myself the art of risotto at twelve years old. My parents did not appreciate the "wow, she really overdid the garlic" aroma that lingered for days. Sorry, Mom and Dad. Or the time I experimented making different types of pancakes as an after-school snack. In elementary school. Or, later in life, the time I cooked dinner for twenty-five of our friends during a weekend in Big Bear. While everyone else snowboarded and skied, my now-husband and I went grocery shopping, put on one of our favorite playlists and cooked a carbo-loaded, post-mountain feast for hours. While everyone else froze on the slope, we danced and sang and cooked by the warmth of the fire and the delicious smell of homemade lasagna.
Like I said, I could go on for hours. But I won't. The glory of finally, finally, FINALLY starting this blog is that I've got time and a place to share these stories, both old and new. So share I will. Favorite food memories. Scanned Polaroids of my childhood cakes. Random recipes that I've perfected over the years. Photos of delicious, creative and inspiring meals from some of my favorite watering holes and foodie haunts. I can't wait.
So, whoever is out there reading this, thank you. Now let's talk about food.