Monday, February 13, 2012

{February Foodfest} A Brief History

So for my first post, I give to you a brief history of food:

Those of you who know me well know that I LOVE to eat (and not just when I'm pregnant).   My guy friends in high school got a kick out of suggesting that we eat at Taco Bell during off-campus lunch to see how many tacos I would consume in our 25 minute window between Health and Yearbook (in case your curious that would typically be 3 taco supremes, 1 chicken soft taco, and a chili cheese burrito...or two).  And for an ironic side note because those that don't know me are probably now wondering about my weight in high school, I totally won the top student award for health class at awards night that year.

This is the only high school picture I could find (I'm on the left).

This is really the reason why I like cooking today. Because I love being in total control of what's for dinner not my affinity for Taco Bell or health class.

I grew up with a mom who is a great cook and a dad who is a master at the grill.  Family dinner around the table was non-negotiable during the week, and my siblings and I eagerly complied with this tradition.  All six of us (plus at least 2 or 3 friends who wanted to "miss the traffic" on their way home from school) would crowd around the table passing the guacamole, dropping silverware, singing crazy versions of Grace (Adams Family rendition anyone?), and devouring our food with minimal conversation because who wanted to stop long enough between bites?  I am a steady person, uneasily ruffled even as a teenager, but the one thing that could change my mood faster than anything in my adolescence was getting home from sports practice, walking into the house by which I could immediately detect the menu by the smell wafting through the door, and deducing it was something I didn't like.  Because I loved almost everything my mom made, I would get so disappointed every Blue Moon this happened (read: meatloaf - which to her credit is more edible than any other meatloaf I've come across and Cornish game hen - my husband thinks I'm totally crazy not to like this).  So you could kind of say food is my Achilles Heel.  Maybe I shouldn't let out such a big secret...

Eating around the dinner table (obviously middle school - yikes!)

As soon as I moved into my first apartment my sophomore year in college and realized I didn't want to hate Chick-Fil-A by the end of my college career, I got on the phone with my mom and learned to make a few recipes myself.  She was thrilled that I was finally showing an interest in cooking.

My college roomies and me (right)

By the time Taylor and I were married 5 years later, I had all of my favorite recipes of my mom's down except for tacos - fear of hot grease spitting at me has won over my longtime love. I'm sure that my waistline and more importantly my heart are thankful for this.   Soon after I astonished Taylor with my cooking ability (you see, when my mom's around, I don't have the need to cook, so since I was living with my parents while engaged, he didn't even know I knew what a spatula was), I ventured into finding recipes on my own.

I quickly realized I knew nothing about food.

Every time I cracked open Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals, I would be at a loss to find one recipe that I already had all of the ingredients for.  Many times I hadn't a clue what that particular missing ingredient even was - chipotle's in adobo sauce anyone?  And we're talking Rachael Ray here not Julia Child.  She is known for being everyday cook-friendly.  So not only was I humbled by my lack of food knowledge, but it would take me 3 hours to make a 30 minute meal.  Not kidding.  Taylor was so patient with me after we learned the trick of eating an appetizer and drinking a glass of wine while we cooked.

Our first year of marriage
Eating in Germany,

Eating in Prague,

Eating in Austria

Today, I am still no Julia Child, but I am confident in how to stock my fridge, freezer, side freezer, and pantry to be able to make most recipes I find online or in 30 Minute Meals...though it still takes me a full hour.  Personally I think it should be renamed "30 Minute Meals if you have your very own Sous Chef." Maybe I should write Rachael a letter...

So even though we're in a grocery budget mini crises, it's absolutely a first world food crisis.  I mean, thankfully our fridge, freezer, side freezer, and pantry are packed (and should be seeing how I already spent most of our budget), but the challenge is being creative enough with what we have to make meals for the next 16 days.
Our British sized fridge
This is actually twice the size of most we see here -
one of the redeeming qualities of our otherwise uninspiring flat 
Pretty stocked as of today

Our fruit bowl is looking pretty sad already.
Seth is holding one of our three remaining lemons - no scurvy for this house!

And as I mentioned before with my food related mood-swings (and being pregnant to boot), it will be interesting to see if I can pull this off and still make food worth eating.  We could just eat beans and rice all month (and will if that means staying on budget), but I think I am up to the task to avoid that at all costs.  This will make February much more pleasant for all members of the Ince family.  And it is the month of love, right?

PS - Happy 21st Birthday to my brother Craig!!!!


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