I love food. No, I mean it, I really LOVE food! From the time I was an infant, tasting new and exciting foods was an adventure I welcomed with open arms (and mouth)! My father will gladly tell baby stories of feeding times when I was so excited I'd practically hyperventilate anticipating that first bite, spewing my food everywhere in the process then giggling and hungrily awaiting more. I mean, just look at that face. Clearly nothing made me happier than eating!
As a child, I spent a lot of my time in the kitchens of my Italian mother and grandmother; watching, learning, measuring, mixing and of course, licking any and all available spoons! My late teenage years afforded me the opportunity to take my first trip abroad, to France, where I filled my days with warm, crusty breads, velvety, creamy cheeses and tart, vinegary pickles. I also had my first encounter with blood sausages (delicious, who knew!) and a garlicky snail or two! My European travels and subsequent food journey continued years later with a veritable smorgasbord of sausages and brats in Germany, fresh smoked eel in Holland and of course, lots of smoky delicious Gouda.
When I signed the lease for my first apartment, I was most excited not to finally be living on my own, but to have my very own kitchen. You see, I'd been collecting culinary tools and stashing them in boxes in my parents' attic for years in preparation for the momentous occasion so it was only natural that my obsession with eating would translate into an obsession with creating! Over the years, parties and get togethers were replete with hors d'oeuvres and dessert trays and dinners out with girlfriends turned into missions to recreate whatever fabulous culinary creations we had consumed. I thrived on opportunities to cook for family and friends...and no challenge was too great. Three course dinner for my grandmother with a finicky palette? No problem! Homemade pizzas to impress a new beau? I could do it in my sleep! Vegan chocolate cake for a dear friend's birthday? So easy!
These days, my gut reaction to good food is to do what has been affectionately dubbed my "happy food dance". I can't help it and half the time I don't even know I'm doing it but there I am, happily chewing away and bopping to the succulent soundtrack in my head. So, maybe I've got the hyperventilating under control, but my love affair with food hasn't waned in the least.