For a love, passion, and desire for good food and cooking, began long ago, the days when I was young and an active soccer player. This I realized today during staff meal, after recreating one of my mother's classic dishes, named Chicken and Rice. Really, it is that simple, chicken with a mixed medley of vegetables, plethora of white rice, and topped with cheddar cheese and bread crumbs.
When confronted with the task of creating this evenings family meal at the restaurant, on hand we had guinea fowl, already cooked farro, mixed vegetables. And thus came forth in my head an European version of my mom's classic dish. In place of rice farro, instead of cheddar parmesan, holding steady for the chicken was guinea fowl. I told the story when presenting the food, making it more than food to those being served. Heart was in the food, a story, history.
The team loved it, and it even brought me back to the meals from my home. Although Chicken and Rice was never a favorite or requested from me, it is my sister Morgann's favorite, and a very memorable one of my own. With four kids to take around to the various soccer fields, volleyball courts, and other events, the food my mom prepared was simple, quick, usually all in one, and healthy. But always delicious and home-y.
This hospitality, simplicity, was the foundation of where my love of good food and cooking came from I have come to realize. This thought now makes me giddy inside due to nostalgia: during the fall, a full day of school, soccer practice for school immediately following, and then a mere hour or so after that one finished, another soccer practice to attend. And finally, after the full day of non stop activity, I would return home, and a meal to be eaten with the family or ready to be eaten solo, was there, the smells permeating all the way to the street. Always hungry, and ready for a warm meal after the day, it was at that point of the day that I was most appeased, and happy. That state of content was exasperated in the fall, with the cooler temperatures outside, warm inside, and my favorite foods abounding. Baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, and pastas with vegetables were some of the more memorable.
The sense of content, of how much joy that evening meal was after the long days, the hospitality, is where it all began.
Thanks, and love, family.