I started blogging, with both enthusiasm and cynicism, about food- which, for some reason, is a focal point of my life- Or should I say, which for some reason is not a focal point of everyone's life? This is confusing to me, the person who plans entire vacations around where her next meal will come from, and I know I'm not alone there. To view food as mere fuel and something that just needs to be done so that we can keep going, seems so alien. A cold and dystopian outlook, probably coming soon to theaters.
Food is to be revered, mocked, discovered, languished over, laughed over, snobbed about. Food is ritual. I still hold a special spot in my skeptical heart for writing about it. Hell, I did it for free for a few years- but I am not a chef, I'm not a prodigy, I have nothing new and revolutionary to show you. Even if I did, I would probably stodgily hoard the information until I take it with me to the grave, save for some illegible scribbles on post it notes and discordant notebooks with plenty of blanks, redaction, and cypher. I like to think I bake pretty well, a skill honed from the unrelenting forge of being a vegan and having only sweet teeth, but again, I'm not alone there.
At some point, I became lazy. That's not to say I lost my passion, but rather that I started handing over the reins to others. I explored new options in new places, I asked questions, I patched-worked meals together from options in the 'sides' section of menus. One time in particular, I inquired about meal options via email to an extraordinary place I had heard about, near to where I take my yearly hermitage. I had done this before with other restaurants, usually to no answer. I'm not sure how many restaurants check their emails, or rather, I am- it's not many- and I, not being the most eloquent of beasts, shy away from phones. I was surprised when I was promptly answered, and in turn, was asked a series of questions about what a vegan meal could or could not consist of. That one email started a tradition, now five years running, in which I formed an awkward (to reiterate, not the most eloquent of beasts) friendship with a chef/owner power couple that feed me on a yearly basis with extravagant and new combinations of dishes that I like to call, Indulgent Meal.
With the inception of Indulgent Meal, I truly let go of the reins and allow the chef to choose whatever the hell he feels like including that night. The property that the restaurant occupies and my timing allows for anything from fiddlehead ferns and morels, to a homemade smoked tomato jam and fresh garbanzos. I am still haunted, in the most lovingly of ways, by a soubise sauce with foraged mushrooms, fresh peas, and hand torn pasta.
Listen, sometimes I break the rules. It's been 18 years and very few fucks are given at this point.
still in me, it still drives me, fills me with strong opinions, and
fuels one-sided rants at Food Network shows. If this so-called lazy path led me to a new tradition that I look forward to every year, then maybe it isn't so bad. I am still an avid hoarder cookbooks of all kinds, writing cryptic notes, making plans for that one day where I'm going to cook something more than 'red soup' (spoiler alert, everything in the soup is in the red/orange spectrum, but somehow there are no tomatoes involved) or kale and beans, and avidly read from my reliable food blog haunts. I still bake for the person that plows my driveway when they see me struggling with a shovel. I'll make new creations for friend's/family member's birthdays based loosely on their personalities, and make a variation of a hazelnut cake on my own. I'm still trying to find a way to make hot chocolate that I give a crap about that isn't straight ganache, not that there's anything wrong with that. Food sparks my interest and
sometimes my creativity, so it seemed a fitting place to start. So pull up a chair, grab a hot beverage, stare at an unrelentingly blank screen, and see what happens.