Yes, I know the title sounds a bit pretentious but it was the best I could come up with for this post. It’s an important post for me to write though because I feel that if I want to set the stage for upcoming posts that might be more philosophical and questioning (there is one in the works as I’m typing this) I need to explain why I feel the way I do about food and what my own food philosophy is.
If you have read my very first post, you might remember that I wrote that I grew up in a very food interested family. This is no understatement, ever since I was a little kid food has been a huge part of my family’s life, it’s one of the things that keep us together.
All of my grandparents have cooked and baked. My paternal grandfather would make a yummie strawberry compote that I would eat when I visited them after school every Thursday. My paternal grandmother baked amazing biscuits and ginger bread that had the perfect snap. My grandmother on my mother’s side though, she always made the best baked cheesecake and a complete turkey dinner on Christmas Day, a tradition my mother took over when she passed away and that my sister accepted responsibility over last year. While my maternal grandfather didn’t cook much (that was my grandmother’s domain) he loved cakes and would often make his own sponge cake.
My parents are no different, food is such a major part of their lives and something that they have managed to pass down to my sister and me. I remember my dad once telling me that if he had had the opportunity when he was young he would have become a chef. He loves to cook and makes the most amazing roast dinners, stews and casseroles.
While my mum has never expressed any similar wishes she has always been eager to experiment and learn about new flavours, cuisines and techniques. She is the more “progressive” and experimental one of my parents, my dad is more “old school” and traditional in his food preferences. I’m happy though that they are different in their views on food, for me it just means that I have got the best of both worlds because I love both classic as well as more modern cooking.
When I was younger I would always be in the kitchen helping out with the cooking and tasting sauces and casseroles but I didn’t start to cook for myself properly until my late teens and early twenties. I have always enjoyed watching cooking shows on TV. I remember Jamie Oliver’s “The Naked Chef” being one of the very first ones that I saw and at the same time felt that I could try my hands on the recipes.
As always when you first start doing something for real you make mistakes but I am a perfectionist in everything that I do so I never gave up. I kept on trying until I was happy with the end result. And that’s how I still do things. I do more research nowadays though to find the best ways to cook an ingredient or the best flavours that will go with it. And from that I create my own recipes, whenever I’m not using someone’s of course. My cookbook collection is ever growing as is the list of restaurants I want to visit – and these span all over the budget scale.
Because I don’t just love to cook, I love to eat. I always think about the next meal and food I want to try. One of my main interests (that I also share with my loving boyfriend) is to go out to eat. There is always a new place I want to try and I get incredibly excited when we manage to get a reservation. We have even discussed future travels on the basis of restaurants and food regions we want to visit.
I am a foodie in the respect that I love to eat all kinds of food, from rustic classics to super modern fine dining and molecular gastronomy. I don’t see one style as being better than the other, they all have their place in the food world. Although, if you don’t know your classic techniques how can you then expect yourself to produce ground breaking dishes? This is no matter your cuisine, all countries have their own techniques for certain types of food. Knowing your basics makes it easier to experiment and I feel that you can sense this on the food that is presented to you. If you know what you’re doing then you can do practically anything, the sky is the limit. But if you don’t, then be sure that your diner will call you out on it.
The only thing I really ask of a plate of food is that everything that is on the plate is there for a reason. It is there because the dish changes entirely if you take it away. Regardless of the dish one of my major pet peeves is when something is there because “it looks cool/modern/interesting/whatever” but doesn’t really do anything for the dish itself. My other one is when a certain allergen (in my case gluten as I have coeliac disease) is removed but not replaced with an equivalent. There are many alternative ingredients out there it shouldn’t really be an issue. And yet it keeps happening. Which is why I always get ecstatic whenever I get offered gluten free bread at a restaurant and/or gluten free components on a plate in exchange of the original components that contain gluten. It means my chronic illness is being taken seriously and that means a lot.
This is probably a reason why I have become more scrutinizing whenever I go out to eat. I see the details more and analyze for myself how they work together. It might be expensive in the long run, but hey, I’m doing something I truly enjoy so it’s all worth it in the end.
I feel like I’m rambling at the moment and this blog post is running the risk of becoming a massive wall of incomprehensible text. I hope that I have been able to explain at least something about my view on food but I suppose it will become more apparent in future posts.
So I will end this one with a photo of one of the best gluten free desserts I have ever eaten: a sugar coated deep fried socca with caramel ice cream and chili syrup at Ekstedt in 2015.
Desserts at Ekstedt early summer 2015. Sugar coated deep fried socca with caramel ice cream & chili syrup (gluten free), next to what was actually on the menu, donut with flambéed peaches.