i've been working on this thing for some time. i went into it thinking that any chef with a clear plan could write a cookbook. then i realized that i don't want to write just a cookbook with recipes or an instructional manual with ingredients and techniques. this is a storybook with recipes, 45 years of my life in various kitchens. i grew up in a household that cooked by the seasons. not based an ideal, but out of necessity, it's tough getting a decent tomato in northern wisconsin in january. my mother made bread cause she liked to and because it was cheaper. we canned and froze produce cause it tasted better and it was less expensive. that is what i hope to present as a theme to this volume.
i remember waiting for the 'lug' of peaches at 'red's farm stand' in my home town. my mother would check the ripeness and the cost and then we would carry it to the car. i hung out in the kitchen and helped some days, there was something i liked about working in kitchen early in my life. in the spring we had lettuce, loose leaf, cause head lettuce was too hard to grow, in june we went to the u-pick strawberry ranch and made jam. there were potlucks at church, and then the period of time where my mother held meeting of the 'big dipper' food buying club at our house. there was the time when we came home from a sunday morning service to find that the dog had gotten into the pastry my mother baked the night before, and buried each one in a corner of the chairs and couch in the living room.
i remember eating my first seafood stew at my uncles house, then getting the recipe. my mother indulging my curiosity by letting me cook it at 12 years old, and my first solo project with bechamel, fish stock and fresh seafood. the time i decided after experimenting with chopped liver that i decided it was time time make pate' en croute right out the 'joy of cooking'. the only experience i had then was a steady diet of julia child and the galloping gourmet, i played TV chef with a friend in front of a big picture window. the time we decided to grow basil and make green spaghetti(basil pesto), pasta carbonara, thickened with egg yolks from a community theatre production of 'strega nona'. It was all a series of experiments from TV, books and garden magazines. this is what i thought i could put into a book, years of experience and a healthy dose of experimentation. then we also have to include my grandmother and her juicer in the seventies, serving carrot juice to the card club. the only store bought cookies i ate as a child, fig newtons, cause there was no way anyone could make those at home.
this i remember....