I have profusely admitted that I am not "the cook" of the family. But, since becoming married to Chef Roland, who has made of career out of food preparation and service, I have become enamored with people who are enamored with the love of cooking. When people speak of their cooking/food experiences, it affects their whole demeanor, they radiate, they swoon, they go into a reverie. It's truly a love. I'm jealous but, I am fascinated by their stories.
Today, my parents and I had the pleasure of visiting with a pastor of a local church that we had attended. As he was telling of a recent event at the church where people brought food, he also told us of his wonderful cake that he had contributed. I watched his face and body language as he went into great detail of the construction of the cake, one that replicated the very cake his mother always presented him on his birthday as a young boy growing up. He was in the moment and it was wonderful to watch and listen as he presented his virtual cake to us. Now, I'm inspired to start collecting "love stories" of cooking experiences of friends and family. I would like to invite anyone who visits our site to take this opportunity to share with all of us, your favorite cooking story, the one where you knew you "loved to cook", the funny one that was a blast to create even though it fell short of your hoped for expectations, or the one where you carefully constructed a delectable dish as an act of love for someone special. Feel free to use our comment box and inspire us all to "fall in love" with cooking.
I'll add a few articles to the mix just to give you a little taste:
I'm telling you, you can't go wrong with earthworms in your garden bed! Poor little things are one of the most critical delivery systems of nutrients to the food beds that, in turn, passes nutrients to us, and they get no credit. One time, I purchased a big box of really old Prevention magazines at a yard sale. I got a good deal! I ended up with about 100 copies dating back into the 50's, or so. One day, I got curious and actually picked one up and started reading some random article. It was very interesting. Mind you, the article was written in the early 60's, referring to a study that was done in the mid-50's. It was a study of greenbeans. The article was focused on nutrient depletion in the greenbeans over several years of continual harvest and nitrogen application. What the article said was that because of the continuted use of the nitrogen, the earthworms were dying off and because of the nonstop use of the soil, the nutrients were being depleated and not returned as they would have been if the worms were not dying off. So, if it wasn't for the work of healthy earthworms in healthy soil, we wouldn't be getting what we need to live healthy, thriving lives. I really hope you get the connection.
Here are a couple of articles that present the lowly earthworm and the critical work they do to provide humans, via healthy, productive, plantlife, the life-sustaining nutrients that we need.
Be patient with me. I'm excited about the following article. As I was looking for information regarding salmon and their natural predators (I know I'm weird), I came across something interesting that really got me to thinking. (Danger! Danger!)
I would like to challenge you to read the article, remembering that it's an article put out by Cornell Lab of Ornithology (which is the study of birds). As you read the article, pay specific attention, looking for the word "nutrients". I don't know if you will agree, but I thought the article was a perfect example of how there is a naturally occuring system in place to provide nutrients to the food supply (reference, "greater fruit production"). I also thought it was amazing to see how the nutrients in the sea, the wild salmon, the natural waterways, the birds and the plantlife all worked together to get the nutrients where they could provide life giving chemistry in a natural setting.
I am no "greenie" but, I do believe that there is a relationship between all aspects of nature that is, in fact, a delicate, determined system that was put in place, in a naturally occuring manner, that was specifically designed to provide sustenance for the inhabitants of the Earth and I, personally (me, Elaine) believe that nothing can replace or out perform this one-of-a-kind system. We, all of us, better wise up - FAST!
We all know what a "picky eater" is and the trials of encouraging our children to eat food that is good for them. We want our youngsters to develop a healthy appetite and stress when they only want junk. Well, now it's probably time to "practice what we preach" and set a good example by becoming educated food consumers, at least on what the current food controversies are in the food market and learn what it takes to make some thoughtful food choices.
We just got through one of the largest egg recalls in our lifetime due to salmonella contamination and, unfortunately, some people got very, very sick and, if I'm not mistaken, someone died. Now, there is a new controversy that is starting to heat up "in the kitchen". We are seeing more and more reports in the media over the supersized, genetically altered salmon that is making it into our food supply. This one is really stirring up some heat.
I decided to offer a few links that would bring the controversy to you as an exercise to: 1)become more knowledgeable about our food supply and the responsibility that each of us has to monitor that supply to the best of our abilities. 2) challenge ourselves to really think about a food issue that is happening right now, in our own markets, try to determine where we each stand on the subject. 3)get ahold of some really good salmon (it's still available for a decent price in the frozen food section, and, it's caught wild) and try your hand at some pan sauteed salmon. If you can afford fresh, great. It's one of my favorites!
Before I met Chef Roland, my concept of ambiance was low-level lighting. Now that I've become a little more "seasoned" to have some understanding of what the culinary experience is about, I've come to realize what an impact ambiance can have on the enjoyment of a meal. The following is a definition that I think gives a great image to the idea of ambiance: "that which surrounds or encompasses".
Have you ever anticipated going to a new restaurant or cafe, excited because your friend has raved about the experience of eating the food and the environment that was created to "backdrop" the meal? Do you remember how you felt as you approached the building where you would be eating? I know that when I'm excited about dinning where I've never been before, I feel especially sensitive to detail before I even get in the building. I'm scanning the architecture, the landscaping, the overall impression I get as I approach the building. Don't forget, first impressions have a huge impact on us psychologically!
As I enter the building, I'm aware of the smells and sounds, as well as the visuals such as artwork, lighting, plants, colors themes in the decor, furnishings and how the space is utilized. All of these factors play into preparing me for the anticipated meal.
But, there's more! As the waiter/waitress approaches, I see how they present theirself, their body language, the tone of their voice and the manner they have when they approach myself and others. The menu itself can make an impression just by it's physical appearance, as well as the table and it's presentation. So much goes into the overall eating experience, I'm sure I've left out something.
So, without going on, I think you can see, there's more than we consciously realize that can enhance or detract from the meal itself. With all that I've mentioned, I want to present you with a couple of links that I think give an even clearer understanding of just how important ambiance is when partaking of a meal.
When it comes to tasting your food, it's the tastebuds that are in charge. I never realized how sensitive they can be and that overstimulation, or understimulation, can, in fact, affect their ability to do their best. To help your tastebuds work at peak performance, I've included a few links that offer suggestions for cleaning the palate.
No one can dispute that delicious food is reason enough to appreciate the culinary arts. I like to bring up articles that also focus on the essential benefit of eating, as well. Eating good quality food, loaded with the nutrients that human bodies utilize to support all aspects of life, is the payoff that we all want and need. I don't think we appreciate enough how everything we eat contributes to our own good or bad health. So, this post is to bring your attention to the necessary nutrients your body needs to help it have a healthy, strong life.
I've mentioned before in a previous post how wonderful it is when Chef Roland is baking bread at home, especially in the fall and winter. The smell is incredible and really makes things so cozy at home when it's chilly outside. I was amazed the first time I watched how he started his bread by soaking pieces of a grannysmith apple he had sliced up. I've found some fun links that will help you to develop your skills at making your own sourdough starter and bread for the upcoming fall season.
As Roland is from the Berry, a region made up of two departments (his being the Indre), I thought I would post a link that gives some idea of the types of food that can be found in this area. During our Culinary Tour, A Taste of Le Berry, we offer a week-long package that incorporates daily excursions to discover the delightful villages, markets, ancient chateaux, beautiful countryside, farms, gardens, cafes and restaurants. Staying in a farm-converted gite, Chef Roland offers an instructional opportunity for all participants to prepare their own family style meal. If you would like information regarding our next Culinary Tour, A Taste of Le Berry, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by the contact page on this web site.
I hope you find something on the link to stimulate your tastebuds and that gives you a desire to take A Taste of Le Berry as a guest on our future tour to Central France.
I am soooooooo sleepy. Roland returned from San Antonio with the last load of my parents househould around three in the morning. We are both worn thin. But, the job is done, at least, the part where we move them. Now, I'm sure it will be days of sorting and arranging before they ever start to get that feeling that makes a house a home. Hopefully, it won't be too long of a project. I'm missing my own home and all the fun work I have waiting for my return.
I did manage to pop online and finally put up some new photos in our Photo Journal. I'm still learning exactly how to do that so I apologize for the weird formatting. We hope you enjoy them and that you get inspired to cook up something fun and exciting with family and friends.
When Roland and I met, I was one of those people who opened the box or can and warmed up the family meal. After our marriage in 2005, I truely began to appreciate what food is really about, not only that it can taste very good, and be nutritious, but that it can be a celebration of who you are and the people that you share it with.