Friday, October 23, 2009
About Me - Who is this LindySez
When I was young, while other kids were watching cartoons and Sheriff John (green light, red light, anyone remember that?) I turned on the Galloping Gourmet and Julia Child. I often helped my Mom in the kitchen, she was a good cook, from Germany, so many of the dishes we had came from there, Sauerbraten ( a long braised beef roast that had been marinated for days in a mixture of wine, onions, garlic and herbs), Hassenpfeffer (Rabbit) and sauerkraut; stuff the neighborhood kids thought was “crazy food”, of course half of them were eating hot dogs, canned spaghetti compliments of Chef Boyardee, and cold cereal, so in comparison I guess we were eating crazy food. My parents also taught me the importance of family meals; we ate together most every night right up until the time I left home. These are traditions I still hold on to. Although my youngest is now a senior in high school and very busy, we try to sit down at least a few times a week, and Sunday night dinner is still pretty much mandatory. Sitting down and sharing a meal is the best way to keep in contact with your children, although I do caution you to keep the conversations light, and to not turn dinner into a nightly confrontation of why you didn’t do this, or why did you do that…but it is an excellent time to share your views and thoughts about the world, and listen to them as they share theirs. Key word there…LISTEN…Old joke – “Why did God give you two ears and only one mouth?”…”So you would use your ears twice as much as your mouth.“
When I was in grade school they had mandatory Home Economics for all the girls, the boys went to Wood Shop. Doesn’t work that way in today’s world, thank goodness, but back then all of us girls were supposed to learn to “take care of our families” and the guys, well, they needed those skills to “work around the house”…funny to think how much the world has changed in such a short time. I remember getting the cooking assignments; some real dandys like Chili with Beans, which was really pretty much kidney beans, in tomato sauce with some cut up chunks of beef, not much chili involved at all; but I made it all in good cheer. Until the day the teacher told us we were going to make a “Broccoli Custard Casserole” for our side dish. NONE of my favs…didn’t like broccoli then, mostly cause it was frozen and then cooked to death, and egg custard, not for me thank you very much, put them together and gag me with spoon. So I told her, “I’ll make it…but I won’t eat it.” The eating of our creations was required, so I again said “not me” and then spent the rest of the period in the principal’s office. I spent a lot more time in the principal’s office after that, but I figured I would rather sit in there than have to eat some of that incredibly inedible stuff they were presenting as food. But I did pass the course and did graduate into the big world of high school. So I thought I would skate through Home Ec…first day of school I go to my class and sit down, the teacher comes in, NO WAY, it’s the same teacher…man, I just can’t believe it…I thought I left her behind in 8th grade..I glare at her, she looks at me, and breaks into a big smile. “I’m sure” she said, “we will get along just fine Linda…in high school you get to pick your own dishes to prepare.” We did get along just fine, cook to cook and by the end of the year I was her assistant.
I married young; my first husband was not an adventurous eater even though his mother was Belgium. She mostly tried to fit in and cook American, although as time went on; she would sometimes cook something from her “home” and I did learn a few dishes and tricks. But ultimately she mostly cooked from the pages of Ladies Home Journal, Woman’s Day and the like. For my ex it was meat and potatoes…no fish - “you might get a bone.” After 17 years, life moved on. I met my current and last husband soon after.
Well, what would you expect when two foodies meet in a bar. Food and wine are a huge part of our life. We travel to experience food. We try new restaurants; new foods…if I cook it, he’ll eat it. We love to taste and drink wine. Our original commingling of wine (200 bottles) has turned into a wine cellar of over 1000; although it’s still hard to figure out what to drink with tonight’s dinner.
I’ll always remember the first time he cooked for me…he came over in a Tux with a bag; inside was Cornish game hens and wild rice. Whoo hoo, I got me a live one here. I found out later, that was the only thing he really knew how to cook, but it was an impressive start and he still looks good in a Tux.
We are very lucky; our lives have always had some sort of food element in it, either through entertaining our friends, impromptu parties or being entertained by clients. The only dark spot was when we moved to Tulsa; the fish became scarce; the meat prominent and the weight went on. Luckily that only lasted 14 months, 7 days, 4 1/2 hours before we were on a plane and headed to the city of food, San Francisco, where he was going to be the new VP of Marketing for the Convention Bureau…can we say “Hallelujah?”
As he slowly changed the image of the city – to the city with the best restaurants… from the city with the best icons, we got to eat in some of the best restaurants in the world, Dankos, Fleur de Lys, La Folie, The Ritz Carlton Dining Room, The French Laundry, Masa’s and so many more… we also got to dine with Ruth Reichel, and other editor’s and publishers of epicurean magazines…and trust me, when you are eating with publishers and editors of epicurean magazines, you get some over the top meals; you are not generally ordering “off the menu”. I also got kitchen tours, and was able to talk to the chefs, Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys, showed me his “book” where he laid out all his plates so they would all be the same…a trick I still use for dinner parties. I got to go to Aspen with Food and Wine magazine for their 10 Best New Chefs for 4 years in a row, not only getting to meet and talk with the likes of Bobby Flay, Mario Batali (don’t try to drink Mario under the table, he’ll win), Rick Bayless, Jacques Pepin and many more, as well as the new and upcoming chefs, who either were being recognized or were in culinary school following their passion for food. OK, funny story, we were invited to an “after” party, that the newest best chefs were having after they finished serving their “signature” dish to about 1000+ people…we are so excited…we get there, they get there and they start making the snacks, I’m antsy with anticipation, what wonderful creations will we be eating…and then they come out….with frozen pizza rolls, cocktail wieners in barbecue sauce, some frozen egg rolls, and then there was the $2500.00 kilo tin of Beluga caviar. Yes, easy cocktail party food.
I absorbed information, techniques, ideas. That’s what I want to share with you. And yes, I met Julia Child. A wonderfully warm lady…with a fantastic sense of humor. As a matter of fact, with only a few exceptions I find that most all chefs are warm, caring and inviting people. That’s why they cook. That’s why I cook. To share our love.
Now I live in Sonoma County, my husband is realizing a life’s dream of working in the world of wine, selling some of the best juice in the country and I am going to continue to pursue my love of cooking. My eldest son and my granddaughter both say that the best time they have when they visit with me is to cook with me. So I hope you will enjoy it as well. To me, a knife hitting a wooden cutting board makes a delicious sound. It relaxes me. If you use a glass cutting board cause you worry about germs (we’ll get into that in a Rant and Rave) switch boards and feel the relax. I’ll share tools, tricks and of course, recipes with you…and hopefully not bore you too much with stories, but you can always skip past those and just get to the good stuff…the food.