Monthly Archives: January 2014

Why do we eat?

Why do we eat?  The easy answers:  to satisfy our hunger, to nourish our bodies, to feed our souls.  But is that enough?  When I was a young woman, my mother used to say: “the way to a man’s heart is by way of his stomach.”  I figured that in order to have a man fall in love with me, I better be able to cook.  Chocolate chip cookies….the first gift for my first boyfriend.  Good enough?  Well, I needed more. That initial motivation, to find a man, soon morphed into a love of cooking.  So, I started learning from my grandmother and my mother.  Later on I learned from a chef for whom I worked and following her suggestion, I eventually I went to culinary school to become a pastry chef.  I am still learning and I hope that my desire to learn will continue.  Some people have a stack of novels on their bedside table.   For me, there are cookbooks.

Growing up in a household that never purchased any sort of sweet other than Girl Scout Cookies (bought only to satisfy the charitable need), my mother baked everything.  She found joy in pleasing others through her cooking.  She baked for our family, our church, our neighbors, and anyone else who looked like they needed something to eat. She would spend hours searching her cookbooks for the perfect recipe to make for a particular function.  Did my mother eat everything that she made?  She would taste it, but the real joy for her was in the sharing of her creations.  I share that joy now, and so often find more pleasure in the challenge of production than the taste of the final product.  But just like art, the sharing and mutual appreciation of the work gives the product more meaning.

What do we eat?  I believe that food should be a personal choice.  We select what we put into our own bodies. So, just like the clothes we wear or the hairstyle we choose, food is a choice.  Many people eat just to fill their bellies or satisfy the whims of their taste buds.  Does your life revolve around your next meal or do you eat whatever happens to be available when the hunger strikes? Your answer to that question may vary from the time of day to the day of the week, or with your mood.

This blog will explore topics related to food and pastry, the artistry involved in its creation, specialized diets, instructional videos and lots of photos.  I hope to create interest in food, not only as nourishment, but also as a vital connection between us.  So often, we celebrate with food, share time eating together, share recipes, memories and stories. I think we can all relate to this intriguing topic.

Why do you eat?

My son helping his grandfather blow out the candles, celebrating his 90th birthday.

My son helping his grandfather blow out the candles, celebrating his 90th birthday.

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A pie story

As a pastry chef at one of our country’s best culinary schools, students often ask me….what’s your favorite dessert?  I have access to the highest quality ingredients, the best equipment and some of the most respected chefs in the industry. This blog will give you a look into my work, and maybe a little glimpse of my life.

Blueberry pie.  The answer to their question includes a story, as good food should.  First, we need to drive a thousand miles to Northern Ontario. Then, on a perfectly sunny day in early July, we take our 60 year old 17′ Alumacraft to the end of Lake McFarlane.  There, up on a rocky knoll, spared from the bears, lies the perfect blueberry patch.  Once everyone has filled their buckets, swatted horse flies and mosquitoes, and avoided sunburn, we cool off in the lake.  Back at the cottage (or “camp”, as Northern Canadians call it), while the boys clean the fresh fish, my daughter and I make the pie.  In a 1947 GE electric oven, baking can be a challenge!  Good pastry, made with Tenderflake lard (yes, lard!), encases our fresh-picked wild blueberries.  We eat our dinner on the picnic table in the yard: smallmouth bass, some quinoa, a salad and…..of course, wild blueberry pie!  Farm to table, at its best.

What’s the story behind your favorite dessert?

Blueberry Pie

Just pie? Really? That’s your favorite dessert??? But….you are a pastry chef!