I’ve been watching cooking shows since I was knee high to my mother and grandmother. Of course back then it was Julia Child. The Frugal Gourmet was right up there for me too. But after Julia it was Graham Kerr and Martin Yan.
Soon after that, celebrity chefs hit the scene and the Food Network came along. I could have died and gone to heaven. Celebrity chefs have begun to lose their appeal to me now, unless we are talking about pretty much any Chopped judge and then I will be right there.
Aside from that I now enjoy following chefs like Vivian Howard, who is not only employing the farm to table philosophy, but also learning about and sharing her regional cultural and agricultural food history. So cool.
My mother and grandmother have always shared in my journey to learn about food, and taught me how to cook. When I was young, my mother cooked out of the Moosewood Cookbook and Joy of Cooking. As I grew older we cooked less from recipe and more from head and heart. No matter how little money we had, we always had good food.
My grandmother had recipe cards that she would pull from her recipe box, but mostly her recipes were in her head. Most of the time it was more technique than ingredients. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all of the hours I spent in her kitchen learning farmhouse recipes like homemade baked mac and cheese, scalloped oysters, creamed onions, scalloped potatoes, meatloaf.
She too, cooked from her heart.
The cooking from head and heart technique is how I am teaching my children to cook. Rarely do we cook anything from a recipe, at least all the way. There is always something that needs to be added or substituted. We create. Ben is particularly good at creating not just recipes, but soul-satisfying food. Genevieve is still a little bit too little for that, but her zest for helping to cook makes me believe she will master this skill as well.