Friday, January 15, 2010


My earliest food memory is peeking over the cutting board to watch my great grandmother (Grandma King) prep all her ingredients for homemade mac and cheese.  She was an amazing cook who'd come up to Seattle, from San Francisco, and stay with us each summer.  Everything she made was amazing.  My paternal grandmother (Noni) came from a Mediterranean background so watching her pull homemade phyllo dough and roll it into amazing pastries was pure entertainment for me. My mom and her mom were big bakers-cookies, brownies, cakes, bagels, Danish, breads, you name it-it was always homemade at our house.  Each week my grandma would send my mom an envelope full of recipes she'd clipped from newspapers and magazines (granted she only lived about 15 miles away). From the time I could read I was loving these clippings and devouring cookbooks.  My absolute favorite was the Betty Crocker Cooky Book.  The technicolor cookies were stunning to a kid, I wanted to make each and every one (and I think we almost did). 

I think everyone who has a passion for cooking remembers an early love for recipes. 

I read the January newsletter from Mary Risley, owner of (my employer) Tante Marie's Cooking School  and I loved it.  Mary, an inspiration to me, is someone I've known for 12 years .  I have heard many stories of her family and her time growing up in New York and Toronto.  What I never knew was where she got her earliest cooking inspiration.  The photos she includes of her plastic covered sheets of recipe clippings made me smile (one of them is above).  I encourage you to read the newsletter here.  Not only will you learn a few new things about Mary but you'll get an amazing recipe for Duck with Pomegranate Glaze from the new Insalata's Mediterranean Table cookbook.

I'd love to know where your earliest cooking inspiration came from...


Deana said...

This is kind of strange, but when my mom and dad divorced and my dad moved into his "bachelor pad" when I was 7. He decided he was going to teach himself to cook. He bought Craig Claiborne's NYT cookbook and proceeded to become a self-taught chef (He later supplemented with classes and is now an excellent chef)....When my sister and I would stay with him we would all look throught the cookbook together and pick a recipe for our dinner. My sister and I would go to Pike Place Market togehter with shopping list in hand and go buy all of the ingredients. We would then all make dinner together. I was definitely his sous chef (and still feel like I am more comfortable in that role)....favorites included Veal Scalopine in Marsala, Fettucine Alfredo, and Broccoli with Hollandaise sauce. While I don't cook this way anymore, it is definitely where I got my love for cooking.

Amelia PS said...

Jodi: my inspiration came from my parents' kitchen in Italy. That was the place our family lived, literraly much part of the day and over the long holidays. I have such fond memories and the 5 of us (I have 2 siblings) cooking together, and there would always be more people joining for lunch: extended family, friends, work guests, and so on. A special place.
My grandma (nonna) was an excellent cook too and she was able to cook for our extended family and sit u all (60 of us!!!) on one loooong table. wow.

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