Since starting this blog I've been thinking a lot about my philosophy of food and cooking. As I've mentioned before, while growing up food was always a part of my family's life. My parents both came from very poor farming families in the Ozark foothills. Food for them was something that wasn't taken for granted. And being from a farming background, we knew where food was from. I can remember when my grandparents still had milk cows, chickens and we butchered hogs. I have butchered chickens and ducks myself. We usually had a garden, even if only a few rows of lettuce and some tomato plants. We know that meat doesn't come from a plastic wrapped package in a grocery store somewhere, that plants grow in dirt and chickens scratch in cow manure. In food we have a connection with the rest of nature and the world. Food is also hard work to produce and farmers are hard workers who aren't nearly as well respected and rewarded as they deserve.
But food is more than just that. Food feeds the body and also feeds the soul. A factory produced can of soup may feed the body, but it will never feed the soul. Food prepared with a bitter heart may feed the body but it will never feed the soul. When I cook, I try to do it with love and put part of myself in it. I cook to help feed the soul of whoever might partake. In a very real sense, it is a communion between myself and those eating what I cook.
My cooking is also a reflection of me as a person. I like my food to be homey and comfort food. But like me, it is also a bit adventuresome and willing to take risks. It tends to not be fussy and complicated, again like me. And like me, it is influenced by those I love and care for. I have been very lucky to have good friends from around the world. They love me and share their lives and culture with me. They also share their recipes and foods with me as well. Padre Melvin has shared Puerto Rican cooking with me. Padre Javier and Mario have shared Mexican food and culture with me. Diego and his friends/family introduced me to authentic Italian foods and so on. And my friends/family around the USA have done the same. They are all a part of me and my cooking as well.
So by this blog I am attempting to share myself, my love of good food, my love of cooking and the love of my friends and family with a wider audience. I also invite all who read here to do the same. Make comments, send me emails, share your food memories and recipes with me and the other readers. Be in communion with one another.
One last note. There is a beautiful movie that is about this very thought, communion through food and sharing a meal, Babette's Feast. It was first shown to me by my dear friend Joyce. It has since become a great favorite of mine that I watch and re-watch often. I highly recommend it!