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    Posted December 24, 2011 by
    cattroiano
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Who taught you to love food?

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    A Lifetime of Learning My Love for Food

     
    Food has always played a major role in my life. Culturally it is something to be explored, savored and appreciated. I grew up immersed in such a culture as the child of a French mother and an American father who was the son of a professional chef. Food appreciation is a lifelong course into which I was enrolled very early on.

    I have a childhood memory of the introductory tune of Julia Child’s cooking show, viewed by my parents regularly, emanating from the family room. Inspired by the French chef and by my mother’s culinary skills and devotion to present a home cooked meal every night of the week, my father began to delve in the delights of foods from all nations. Fast food was never an option for dinner in our home. While school chums dined on fast food cheeseburgers, instant macaroni and cheese from a box, and frozen fish sticks, I was presented with a complete and balanced home cooked meal. By the fourth grade I had already sampled epicurean delights that horrified most American nine year olds. I had also vacationed in Paris where I had the sweet introduction to world-class bakeries and chocolatiers. Even at that age I noted how the aroma of freshly baked baguettes being pulled from the ovens permeated the air out on the city sidewalks as we embarked on daily promenades through the markets that lined the Parisian streets in a quest for fresh ingredients.

    Throughout my high school years my parents continued to spend Sunday afternoons watching the cooking shows of the eighties. On occasion I would watch a few of these shows with them. By this time my father had accumulated an extensive collection of cookbooks featuring dishes from around the globe. Despite the typical teen-angst-driven rebellious phase that I took my part in, my parents’ love of food consistently surrounded me. Little did I realize then that this enthusiasm for cooking and dining on fine foods was seeping into my subconscious, to be retrieved years later and blossom into the zeal I have today for all things food.

    My college years concluded and I met my future husband; did he love to eat! Interested in the history and cultures of others nations, he embraced every arising opportunity to sample new foods. My own appreciation for food that had lain dormant for a few years was reawakened. Next thing I knew, we too were viewing Sunday afternoon cooking shows. I began acquiring a few cookbooks of my own and together we started dabbling in the kitchen. I credit a subscription to Bon Appetit magazine with teaching me to cook and educating me on diverse ingredients. Other costars who played a role in my food appreciation education in addition to my father and husband include Ina Garten, who taught me to cook with ease and confidence, and Emeril Lagasse who demonstrated for years on his live television show how to have fun in the kitchen.

    Since the start of my marriage I have evolved into the quintessential foodie, as I peruse new specialty food markets that open, experience new restaurants that arrive on the scene, possess every kitchen gadget and appliance and shop only for the best ingredients. My cookbook collection has reproduced, now spanning bookcases along a dining room wall; a portrait of my chef grandfather graces my kitchen, overlooking and inspiring all of my cooking endeavors. I love to cook, because I love to eat. I appreciate quality food and embrace all global cuisines.

    Oh my, I have become my mother; fast food is rarely dining option in my house either. I revel in coming home to my kitchen to see what culinary creation I can conjure up. What do I love to cook the most? I adore foods which are blanketed in rich creamy sauces, a throwback to my mother’s French cooking from my youth. Mom, this article is for you; thank you for teaching me to appreciate the delights of cooking and dining, for teaching me the culture of eating for enjoyment of good food, good conversation and good company around the table, every night.
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