If you were to judge my culinary creativity of talent by what my children eat, you might say that I’m no Julia Child, but then again, I don’t think Julia had any children. They eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti covered with canned marinara sauce, quesadillas, and other combinations of cheese and starch for which a child’s unrefined palate has an endless appetite. Meanwhile, however, my husband and I enjoy a very different fare, refusing to be constrained by the tastebuds of those who don’t appreciate the diversity nor complexity of quality cuisine. Just yesterday I made poached eggs over a mound of softe, chevre polenta with sun dried tomatoes and scallions for breakfast, then hot bowls of baby bok choy, enoki mushrooms and red miso over fresh chow mein noodles for lunch, and spicy arugula salads with butternut squash, French lentils, and goat cheese for dinner.
I swore I’d never make separate dinners for my children, but it seems that the alternative would be eating what they want every night. What would I do without my beet and chevre salads (can you tell I’m a fan of goat cheese?)? Without my fig and balsamic reductions? Without the bitter tang of fresh kale salads tossed with farmhouse cheddar and roasted winter squash and dressed with a honey, citrus vinaigrette? Half the time the kids make their own dinner anyway. And I figure, if I can’t train their little taste buds to enjoy parsnips or kohlrabi, at least I’m fostering independence.
The current stage for my culinary concoctions is a galley roughly the size of the inside of a taco truck, and at the diminutive height of five foot one, I can still see the top of my refrigerator, which I imagine was designed for use in a one-bedroom cabin in the woods, not a three-bedroom apartment for a family of five. But we make do. We keep an auxiliary bar-fridge in our coat closet to hold the haul of apples, collard greens, grapefruits, mushrooms, and string cheese that I bring home from the market each week, and in the corner of our small living room is a closet we call “the pantry” where I keep my onions, potatoes, hard squash, flour, sugar, and seltzer water.
My husband and I agree that the waltz we dance as he washes the breakfast dishes in his two feet of space while I slice onions and throw them into a hot pan just to the right of the single-basin sink where he’s working is good for our marriage. The tight space allows us ample time to get reacquainted after being apart all day, and you have to really like someone to spend much time in such a cramped space. My little kitchenette is my favorite room in the house–a love my husband just doesn’t understand. Just the other day as I leaned in the doorway of the three by nine foot room where Eli was washing the dishes (a job I’ll only do when he’s not around), he complained to me, “I hate working in this kitchen. It’s one of my major gripes with this place.” “See, I think of this kitchen like it’s one of my children,” I responded. “You don’t get to pick your children, and sometimes they give you trouble…(as we exchange a knowing raise-of-the-eyebrows)…but I could never hate my kitchen,” I continue. Delivering the final verdict Eli concludes, “Well, then I’ll hate it for you.” That little dialogue says so much about the two of us.
Anything interesting I could say about my life I can explain through food. The only magazines I subscribe to are about food. I read cookbooks live they’re novels and I consider all recipes to be suggestions only (except for that whole chemistry of baking thing, which I’ve learned through stubbornness is best to follow). I plan my weekly menus and write my shopping list like it was a letter to Santa. I love to cook for my friends and I’ve gotten myself into trouble on more than one occasion for agreeing to host a meal when I know full well I should be doing other work. But feeding people and eating good food is what I love.
Now, through this blog, I get to share what I love with you. As the tagline suggests, I intend to share some of my favorite recipes with you all, as well as my thoughts on all things gastronomical–from the perpective of a vegetarian mother of three who is seriously thinking about making my Lenten practice for this year to be 40 days of desserts from around the world. Who says that can’t be a discipline?! Anyway, I’m sure you’ll here more about that in the days to come. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the recipes and my thoughts. I’d love to hear from you in the comments or feedback section.
Finally, Julia Child made it famous, but since my last name is ‘Bon,’ then I think I have some privilege for saying it, too: Bon Appetite!