Ok, so I am a momma’s boy, lets just get that out of the way right now shall we? Ok, Done!
Growing up in northern Ontario I most certainly was not exposed to any sort of “gourmet” food. It was Hearty, Healthy and Homemade. That being said, my Mom came from a family of 7 siblings, and early on in her life she learned to cook, as her contribution to the massive task of feeding a total of 10 people 3 meals a day. Yeah… all three… (remember way back when there were no frozen dinners waiting to pop in a microwave when you got home from school or work? When every single thing you ate, was prepared from free local sourced ingredients?) Well… that was also the home that I grew up in.
We were a small family of 4, and from the day I was born every morsel of food that went into us, even as babies, was made at home, by her hand, and I think it was in grade 8 before I actually traded my homemade chocolate chip cookies for a few Oreos… (That was the last time I made that mistake!)
When we went grocery shopping (as a family) we bought fresh whole foods. Meat, Vegetable, Fruit, dry staples and Mom would plan the meals for the week, breakfast lunch and dinners. Often through the week dinners were quite simple, meat and potatoes. This was because Mom also ran her business out of out home. Before us kids were born she managed a beauty salon but once we came along she decided to stay home and work there instead. I recall many days when I was home, with her working away doing a clients hair, and something cooking on the stove or in the oven to be put on the table when Dad got home at 5.
Weekends were sometimes a little more elaborate. Every Sunday for example, was spaghetti day! A HUGE pot of sauce simmering on the stove. (in the winter it would have been on the wood stove in the family room) meatballs by the truckload, fresh pasta, and the most mouth-watering bread rolls you could ever EVER Imagine! Mom had this awesome hand crank pasta machine that she had bought before I was even born. I remember helping her crack the eggs, then mix that pasta dough. She would clamp that machine to the edge of the counter and it was my job to stand there and crank the handle while she worked the dough and make these long ribbons of pasta. This was then floured and cut into noodles or sheets for lasagna, and we usually made enough to dry so we could have noodles for our soup later in the week. I had inherited that pasta machine, and sadly just last year it finally gave up on me.. It was hard to get rid of it, even though it was useless, but Duane quickly replaced it for me with a wonderful kitchenaid attachment. (and extruder, and noodle cutters…lol)
This is just one of the many memories I have of being in the kitchen with her. some of my other memories are helping her prepare huge family style dinners for summertime family get togethers at our house. Our place seemed to be the gathering spot for many if not all of those reunions. Probably because we lived in the rural outskirts of the town and had lots of yard. Maybe it was the pool? LOL I am still convinced it was the food though. After those long summers the fall always brought canning season. Pickled everything! Jams, fruits, sauerkraut, berries and bushels of tomatoes… OMG the tomatoes!
Anyway, as I write this story, more and more memories flow into my head and I could probably go on and on, but the point is this… I grew up with food… REAL food… and grew up learning how to appreciate what you had to work with, and make it last.
This exposure to food in my early years made me want to pursue a career in food. I studied hospitality & culinary arts and began my journey in many kitchens, prepping and worked my way up to managing kitchens. Sadly i learned very quickly, that “working” food and “having a passion” for food are drastically different. It really takes all the fun out of it when you are trying to use your creativity in the kitchen and are bound by corporate guidelines that just don’t give you the freedom to create! I made a choice to change career paths, and keep the passion for food and creativity at home, where I can truly enjoy it. Therefore food has really become a hobby of sorts for me.
My passion lives on in my kitchen at home, and I enjoy making taste buds tingle and entertaining in our home!
This history I have had with food has truly been a result of my Mom, I’m pretty sure if she were still around today, that we would probably enjoy many hours spent together in the kitchen.
We ( My husband Duane and I) have just decided that this year, 2015, would be our year to get back into shape, lose those extra pounds and get a handle on some of the health issues that seem to surface once you pass that big 40! LOL. I am very thankful that I have a history with food, and an education as well. It is certainly allowing us to make some much better choices and at the same time, making some of the most tasty health conscious dishes we can come up with! This blog will share some of those ideas with you, and follow us on our journey to a healthier life!
Thanks for reading…