Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

March 11, 2008

My story of food - II

This week Michael Pollan, Author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and most recently In Defense of Food, will be in Salt Lake City to speak on… surprise… food. Or more to the point, what we eat and how we eat it. In that spirit I decided yesterday to take a look at my own "Story of Food"; how I was influenced and how I have changed and grown.

On my own
I'd had the benefit at twenty years old to have had some pretty interesting exposures to food through not only my family influences, but through the jobs I had held thus far. I worked at a Jack in the Box restaurant and at more pizza joints that I care to admit and I can't say they left a positive legacy to me, but there were a few others that did.
One of the last pizza places that I worked at was Milano's Pizza, a small, family run pizza place with a pie that was sooo good. I learned that pizza, though a simple food and often rightly lumped together with fast food, can be instead a very healthy, fresh and delicious meal. I learned to form dough by hand by rolling the dough balls, (a very handy skill when baking NY Times no knead bread by the way.) and then to toss a crust and use only fresh ingredients.
After my first year in college I was invited to study abroad at the University of London for a semester, a food journey to itself, but that's another story. I was fortunate enough to have parents that were able to help me take advantage of this opportunity, and that were also grounded enough to attach the condition to it that I had to save a $1000.00 toward the trip before they would. To earn this I worked in another small family run business near my home, "The French Gourmet". The Barabas family, a Hungarian single mother and her two grown children, ran what was essentially an up scale coffee shop that was an offshoot of an established restaurant. I worked as a combination barista, cook, dishwasher, host, waiter and assistant manager and I loved every day there. I learned how to make a traditional vinaigrette from scratch, mastered the art of cooking the french omelet and baked and assembled fresh fruit tarts. This is also where I learned to cook the Ratatouille, that I shared with you last summer. I think I can pinpoint many of the roots of my love affair with food to this job.
So there I was in my early twenties with a passion and rich tradition for good food. I was married with a young child and serving in the military, how much of that food knowledge do you think mattered one iota? You guessed it, not a bunch. We pay our service members far too little, in effect to the degree that they are little more than the working poor in many cases. Food became not tradition or pleasure, it was instead a utility. We ate the basics; milk, beef, chicken and some veggies. But far too often it was taco bell, or microwave burritos with a heaping helping of processed snacks and soda. This was the norm for most of the next 10 years.
In 1999 after a long coming separation. I met my soul mate and current wife. The food drought was over, almost. She's a city girl raised in Utah, but was born in West (by God) Virginia and has deep food traditions of her own.
More tomorrow. Hope your enjoying it so far.

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