This post is a dedication to my wonderful Mother and all the people who have inspired me and contributed to my obsession and passion for cooking and food.
Our passions and dreams all start somewhere. I can tell you that I wasn’t just born with this love for food. Maybe I was always destined for it, but as a kid, it was hard to get me to eat anything that was good for me. When I tell you I didn’t like any fruits or vegetables – I mean it. I liked corn, peas and potatoes (those were considered a vegetable for me). In terms of fruits, I ate bananas and apples if they were peeled. That is it – literally. I didn’t like salad, melons, raw vegetables or even carrots. Also, I didn’t like beef much at all. There is a catch though – my dad is a hunter. As a child, I ate bear, moose, deer, grouse and rabbit – and I loved it! We also fished so I ate walleye, pike, different types of trout, salmon, perch and probably a few other types. So as much as I didn’t like my veggies, at least I ate those. Actually I had refused to eat rabbit for the longest time because I thought they were too cute. One time my grandma made her famous chicken pot pie, and I told her “wow, this is the best one you’ve made yet!” That’s when they told me I was actually eating rabbit. I didn’t get too upset about it because it tasted so delcious.
I loved ice cream, chips and dip, chocolate, granola bars, baked goods, mashed potatoes and drank fruit punch because orange juice was gross (especially with pulp). I was lucky to have a fast metabolism. It’s not that my parents fed me all these things because they tried so hard to get me to eat more vegetables. I wasn’t free to eat all that as I pleased. Apparently, even as a baby I was picky, my milk had to be an exact temperature or I wouldn’t drink it. When my mom made chili or spaghetti sauce it wouldn’t have any ‘chunky’ vegetables in it or else we wouldn’t eat it. I was also one of those kids that always left something on their plate. My eyes were bigger than my stomach. My dad would be on me for it every time, and now, being older and more appreciative, can see why he tried so hard. There are so many children out there that would have loved to have a decent meal on the table – and they would eat everything, down to the last crumb.
We didn’t grow up in a wealthy family that went on all kinds of fancy trips and got everything we wanted. One thing we always did have was fresh food on the table. I may have liked junk, but my mom always made something that us kids would be able to eat. Weekends, our house would be filled with the smell of fresh cinnamon buns, homemade pies, amazing breakfasts, lasagnas, tourtiere (meat pie) and much more. Everything was made from scratch. I started learning how to cook at a young age being that I started babysitting my sister when I was 11. When there was a bake sale at school I was all over it. My mom and I would bake up a storm all day. I would make all the batters and she would prepare them to put in the oven. We were definitely a team!
I would say high school is when my taste buds started expanding a lot more. I began liking a lot more vegetables and wanted to try new things. In the summer my mom would tell me to get dinner ready while she was at work and also sent me to do the grocery shopping. My friends always wanted to come over for dinner because of my mom’s awesome cooking. I would bring baked goods to my friend’s places all the time. When I was bored, I would cook or bake.
My parents always took us on a lot of camping adventures too. Every weekend we would be out on some crazy outing whether it was ice fishing, boating, camping, spending time at a hunt camp (yes, my family is a little red neck, but I love it) and much more. One thing I learned from that was how to cook on a camp fire. I’m telling you, she would make as good as meals out there as at home. Even now she tells me about all the things she makes such as homemade bread. Anything from ‘fish fries’ in the ice hut while you’re warming up with some hot chocolate, to an amazing omelette cooked over the fire while you’re camping.
In university I would cook my own food in the common kitchen in residence. When I moved into my own apartment, my mom and I would call each other and get dinner ideas. I was always jealous at what she was making. I would spend hours watching the Food Network dreaming of the decadent food and wanting to be like them. After spending a year and a half in university, I knew I wanted to pursue my passion and go to culinary school. I enrolled at the Culinary Institute of Canada in PEI and spent two years there. During that time I competed in competitions where I won gold, silver and bronze metals. I also worked at a hotel on Vancouver Island where I had an opportunity to join my executive chef in a photo shoot with Enroute Magazine (I have a copy at home). Eventually I knew I wasn’t happy being a line cook at a hotel and decided I needed to pursue my passion somewhere else. So here I am taking Holistic Nutrition and writing you this blog. I have a long way to go still and I might not know exactly where I’m headed, but I know the direction I want to go and I’m going to go get it.
Still, to this day, we both call each other for recipes and ideas. My whole family loves cooking. My grandma was an amazing cook. My aunts and uncles are also great too. Every family get-together is always filled with mouth-watering dishes – and good company of course. In terms of my taste buds, I love all kinds of foods and will try anything once. Some different ones I’ve tried include ostrich, emu, alligator, horse and frog’s legs. The only item I don’t quite like yet is raw tomatoes by themselves. I like fresh cherry tomatoes off the vine and I’m trying to like them more. It bothers me when I don’t like something!
I’m glad I have found my passion. Even though I’m sure it might change direction a bit, it will always end up back at what I love – food and cooking. Talking about all this cooking is really making me want to get in the kitchen and cook up a storm. Three more days and I’ll be able to do just that. I already have a baking party planned and some wonderful dinner ideas. This cold weather makes me want to bring out the slow cooker!
Hope everyone has an excellent Monday! Soon it will be my weekend every day for 27 days. We have a new company taking over, so I get a little extra time off. It’s a good time to do a lot of cooking, spend time with friends and family, and do homework and blogging. Talk to you soon!