The story of our food and eating is usually tied to where we live. For me, that was the in the heart of Central New York, the Finger Lakes Region, where I still live. The area now known for its small towns, food scene and vineyards is different from when I was growing up, when it was dominated by manufacturing and factories (Syracuse has one of the most polluted lakes in the country, thanks to dumping by some of that industry. It is being cleaned up, thank goodness). My parents both grew up on farms, but we lived a stone’s throw from huge factories like Columbia Rope, ALCO and Dunn MacCarthy.
Of course, most of those places are gone now, and the jobs went with them. So CNY has been reinventing itself for most of my adult lifetime, from farmland to factory to . . . well, what it’s becoming. This renaissance includes an emerging culinary scene with diverse international influence, pop up food events, and dozens of small businesses and restaurants offering a wide variety of foods (see this recent Saveur article).
I ate a lot of ethnic food growing up – Italian, Polish, German — and more of what we thought of as “American” — meats, potatoes, basic vegetables. The most exotic food I was exposed to then was the Kosher Jewish fare my mother (she was a waitress and a freelance caterer) prepared for Bar Mitzvahs at the local Temple.
I didn’t know what Chinese food was until I was nineteen when our town opened its first Chinese restaurant (I had Happy Family). I didn’t know about Middle Eastern food until I went to a King David’s in Syracuse while I was in grad school, in my late 20s. After finishing with my MA in Writing &Rhetoric, I taught writing for 12 years, and then became a writer myself (along with earning a second M.A. in Geography). But I also cooked, baked, and explored new food in new places during all of those years.
My food horizon has broadened over the years. I’ve enjoyed foods in most major U.S. cities, as well as the in the Caribbean, London and Paris (where I enjoyed this amazing eclair). We seek out food everywhere, in nice restaurants to fairs and street trucks and cook everything from local favorites to Southern dishes to Korean Stir-fries and Sous Vide.
I’m always expanding my knowledge about food and cooking, and in large part, that’s what this blog is about.
Sometimes I make up a recipe, but more often, I tweak or test existing ones. I read about food and cooking constantly, and I watch food shows on TV. I follow websites. I like to cook, but I prefer baking, and I bake all of our breads. (Picture to the right, me in Paris on a bridge over the Seine)
I love food, and I particularly love sharing it. I hope you enjoy the posts, and will share your own food stories and knowledge, so we can all learn together. 🙂