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    Posted June 23, 2010 by
    Lancaster, Pennsylvania
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Who taught you to love food?

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    An Obsession


    I am obsessed with have a sincere love of cooking.

    There are not too many things in life I enjoy more than gathering fresh ingredients for a brand spanking new recipe and making some magic happen.

    Sometimes the magic doesn't happen.  Or maybe it's black magic.  Yes, that's it.  Black magic, bent on ruining my day and making me cry.  This black magic takes my should-be-scrumptious dish and turns it into a disaster.  And I weep.  I gnash my teeth and rend my clothes in pain and horror.

    Ok.  I am being dramatic for effect.  I hope you caught onto that.

    I promise I don't actually sit on the kitchen floor and lament my existence because a dish didn't turn out.  I do admit that I've shed the occasional tear over a dish's ruination, though.  Don't laugh.  I have estrogen in my body.

    My love for cooking probably started before my memories began.  My mom was a 'domestic engineer' like I am.  She cooked.  She cleaned.  She took out the garbage.  She raised two children (I was a saint, I swear).  She was quite a bit more an amazing at this domestic engineering career than I am.  Whereas I have loads of help from my dear husband, she really had none from my Dad.  I don't think I've ever seen Dad vacuum, do dishes, do laundry ... in the Roth household, this was the woman's domain.

    Me man.  You woman.  I hunt.  You cook.

    I didn't grow up in a cave.  I did grow up in a wonderful wood home that my Dad designed and built with his own two hands.  My father is not without his impressive qualities, I'd like to clarify that.

    Anyway, cooking.  Mom cooked dinner every night for the family and we always sat at the table and enjoyed time together.  I loved the warm smell of her making our meals.  Dad may have worked to provide money to feed us, but Mom added Love to that food and you could taste it.  My friends always liked coming to my house because there was always homecooked food on the table.  They would tell me how good it always smelled in the house - Truth.

    I used to ask Mom if I could help cook dinner.  She usually didn't let me.  I guess I got in the way, or smelled funny or something.  Maybe one of the reasons I so enjoy cooking today is because I was denied the opportunity to do so when I was younger.

    Of course, she didn't let me do laundry or vacuum either, and I still dislike doing those things.

    My mom and I have very different styles of cooking.  She makes mostly American-style food and does it really well.  She does burgers, casseroles, crab cakes, salads ... very American.  I prefer any and all ethnically influenced dishes, from Hispanic to North African to Asian.  I love cooking with spices and as a result, I have an impressive collection, my most recent addition being ras el hanout.  I'll be using that this week sometime and I'm quite excited!  My mom tends to make the same dishes over and over and over again, not trying new recipes often.  I don't usually make the same dish twice.  I may use a base recipe repeatedly but I usually tweak it, change it, make it new in some fashion.  There are only a few recipes that I make more than once and they are the Good ones.

    I think our cooking styles define who we are and what our personalities are like.  My mom is content when things stay the same and she doesn't handle change very well at all.  She is most comfortable when she knows what to expect and can predict what an outcome will be through repetition.  I am happiest with change on the horizon.  I bore easily and dislike the mundane.  I like the heat and spice in life and it shows in my cooking.

    Speaking of change, my husband and I are ready to leave Lancaster.  I hope Saint Lucia (and our jobs) are ready for us sooner rather than later.

    Variety's the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor.  - William Cowper

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