It all started with nacho cheese sauce from the local movie theater. Making a homemade version became an obsession of mine during middle school and explained the many uneaten blocks of Velveeta, cheddar and American cheese overtaking my parents’ fridge (much to their dismay). My homemade attempts never lived up to my expectations (much to my dismay) and though my culinary taste has evolved since the mid-1980’s, I do owe my lifelong passion to those cheesy years.
Food is everywhere in my life these days. I am a sustainable food advocate fighting for food that is good, clean, fair and accessible by all. I am the primary “chef” in my family, responsible for planning and preparing most meals, most of the time. Then there is the eating part – living in a food obsessed town like San Francisco, I revel in the privilege of our food culture, where one can find excellent versions of cuisine from almost every country in the world, not to mention the most creative, delicious manifestations of our own contribution to the culinary canon, California cuisine.
As the years pass, I find cooking becomes a deeper and more nuanced passion for me. I cook to calm frayed nerves at the end of a long day; I cook as a creative outlet, never tiring of trying new techniques, flavors, recipes. Cooking is my most treasured way to nourish our young family.
Lately, I’m discovering a deeper connection to cooking by teaching others. Passing on the skills I’ve acquired through observation (thank you PBS cooking shows, and especially Jacques Pépin!) and more than 15 years of practice is a lot of fun. It also reminds how the art of cooking – home cooking in particular – has been lost as our food system industrialized starting in the 1960’s. Our relationship to food preparation is incredibly schizophrenic today. People cook less and less, yet spend hundreds of hours watching competitive cooking shows annually. This blog is my way of inspiring more people to return to their home kitchens, reclaim culinary traditions, and invent new ones.