Monday, December 10, 2012


It's happened lately that I am always dying for a sandwich. Any kind, really. As long as there's bread and spread, whatever else winds up in there is usually satisfying.

Back in my beginning days in food service, I made my fair share of sandwiches. I always took pride in them- a good sandwich is priceless, especially when packaged well and to the customer's specifications. If they say no onions, you better not put onions on there. That's sacrilege. You should never screw up a sandwich order.

A sandwich is the sustenance of choice for busy professionals, casual day-off lunch goers, strung-out all-nighters. Simple to assemble and relatively affordable to produce and purchase, sandwiches win in my book. They win big.

One of my favorite sandwiches is one my mom always made when she and my dad were going to a concert with friends (a tradition my sisters and I quickly adopted). She called it the "Limo Sandwich" ... a high rolling stack of Italian meats and cheeses that could only be consumed safely in the privacy of a chauffeured vehicle.  Because it's that good- borderline sinful. Though pretty damn easy to make.

You'll need the following:

1) Olive tapenade
2) A large round or oval bread loaf- one that can be hollowed out, with a stiff crust
3) A variety of meats ... I recommend:
Hot Capicola
Genoa Salami
Honey Ham
4) Also ... cheese:
Provolone is a must. The rest is up to you. Maybe one other type.
5) Some aluminum foil
6) A heavy book ... perhaps a few phone books on top of each other. Whatever is available.

To assemble, cut off the top of the bread loaf and hollow out the inside leaving enough of the bread to allow for a good bite- a half inch or so. Save the top of the bread. You'll need it. As for the innards? Make croutons or feed it to the birds.

Once the bread is hollow, smear top and base with olive tapenade- a good, even layer. I consider spread to be the mortar in my wall against hunger. Be sure there's enough so everything sticks- that means getting the sides, too. Every square inch. Then, begin your layers. I recommend two or three meat, one cheese, and following that pattern until the whole bread loaf is full. I mean, heavy full. You'll need a few pounds of everything to finish the job. It's well worth it.

When the project is layered, cap the sandwich and wrap that sucker in foil. Top the whole thing with that heavy book and let it sit for a spell, say an hour or so, in the fridge. Once compressed, slice it as one would a cake. The layers look beautiful and it's interesting to eat. I like pairing it with crudites. Because with all that meat and cheese you'll need some veggies to feel okay about yourself. Well, I do anyway.

I know the holidays are creeping closer ... all the stress that comes with them follows close behind. Don't beat yourself up. There's no point in letting a holiday get the best of you. When in doubt, offer sandwiches to guests. I don't think they'll complain. Some might even rejoice.

Wishing you a winter comparable to a good sandwich- packed with all the good stuff that leaves you full. xo

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wanting it all

Oh, sweet holidays.

Hair-pulling, anxiety-inducing, sleep-stealing holidays.

What's the worst gift you've ever been given? You know what, nevermind. Let's not focus on the worst of the gentle white season. Let's focus on the best parts.

Namely, the food.

Food gifts are a great idea for the foodie friends and family in your life. They can be creative and heartwarming. And really who doesn't love a sweet or savory treat they didn't have to make? Mark and I like to throw together baskets of goodies for family and friends ... primarily because baking a few loaves of bread and adding some glitz is an easy way to not spend a ton of money on hostess gifts this time of year. Here are some ways you can throw some deliciousness together:

Herbal Olive Oils- Choose herbs of your choice and allow them to marinate in a lighter extra virgin olive oil for at least a week. You can buy this stuff in large tin cans for under $15 at the right stores. Makes enough to drown an army. Strain oil and put into decorative bottles with a new, clean sprig of the herbs used.

Flavored Vinegars- From herbs and spices, to fruits and citrus, vinegar is a fantastic canvas for your culinary creativity. Sage and citrus vinegar? No problem. Cranberry and warm spices? Nailed it. You can find tons of recipes for flavored vinegar online, so do some exploring or just follow your instincts. Be sure to strain the vinegar after a few weeks, pour into decorative bottles, and garnish with fresh ingredients.

Bread- We like throwing together a few loaves of sourdough, but whole wheat or traditional white are always awesome. If you can bake, give some bread a whirl. Those holiday party hosts don't want to worry about making breakfast the following morning. Give them something tasty to toast when pancakes are too ambitious. Quick breads are a great option if allowing dough to rise just taxes your imagination. Banana, pumpkin, cranberry, the options are vast this time of year and most you can buy by the box. I won't tell anyone you took a short cut. I promise.

Shmears- Jams, jellies, spreads .. most of these keep in the fridge for a while, so they pack longevity. Berry jams and jellies have enough pectin in them to make preserving as easy as a pot of boiling water. Apple sauces and butters can be processed easily, too. Cranberry relish and sauces are acidic enough to last for a week or two without processing at all, though that always helps.

Delightful extras- Cheeses, honeys, cured meats, local delights ... find your local fine food provider and find a few affordable add-ons. Have a lot of herbs from your garden? Bundle them with twine for an added flavor boost to future meals. For all you local readers, we suggest hitting up Butter's Fine Food and Wine for fancy extras to gifts like this.

We like to hit up a local craft store for clearance deals on baskets and pretty fabric- one year we lined the baskets with flour-sack towels. Those always come in handy. You can find affordable glass bottles and jars at just about any kitchen store or department stores that have home-goods sections (like Marshalls, TJ Maxx, or Home Goods). If you're looking for the super different, try a thrift store like Salvation Army or Goodwill. They have a bit of glass available, just run it through the hottest cycle your dishwasher has. After you have the containers and your idea of things, get to cooking!

If all of this just sounds like a lot of work to you, or if you're worried your efforts won't match your ultimate goals, there is an answer.

This is the man behind the movement.

Food forward friends, rejoice! This incredible gifting service takes all the stress out of gifting and puts fun back in it's place. The process is incredibly simple, too. You can even sign in through Facebook to make shopping for your friends even easier!

So, you pick your gift recipient and how much you would like to spend on their gift. You then answer a series of interesting questions based around the recipient's personality. After calculating all the information, you're given an incredible list of unique and interesting items to create a custom catalog out of. You pick the items your friend gets to choose from. You also choose the cover to their custom catalog and can personalize it with a message on the inside cover.

It doesn't end there, either. Catalogs are shipped to you, or directly to the giftee, wrapped in Japanese rice paper and sealed in handsome and sturdy envelope. The whole presentation is really impressive and the end result is something that really warms a person's heart.

But don't take my word for it, try it for yourself.  How does this apply to food? That's part of the information process and the food gifts through this site will blow your mind.

Airmailed truffles? Yeah, they have that.
Incredible knife sets? Of course.
Collapsing, portable grills. Hand made rare wood cutting boards and serving dishes. Fine china. Exotic teas. Beautiful wines. Imported olive oils.

Need I go on? No, you should just check it out for yourself. It's so worth it and you'll be hooked from the start. I promise. There is so much more than just food related gifts, too. Fine art, artisan jewelry and

This just in, Wantful now allows users to buy their products directly from them. Why not spoil yourself while you're shopping for that in-law that always seems to have everything they need?

In the end, the holidays always remind us of how good we can have it. Surrounded by family and friends, and most of the time a bountiful table, it is easy to be reminded of how beautiful our world is.

May your table and the love in your life always be full and delicious. xo

Friday, November 16, 2012

Plenty of fish- not all worth eating.

So ... I'm in love with Sander's Fish Market. They have a "fish truck" that travels around the state, making frequent stops in the Concord area, including the Summer and Winter Farmers' Markets in town.

Every Friday they hang out in the parking lot of the Everette Arena, from 10am to 4pm. Talk about having a direct line to the freshest catch in the area! I placed an order for a party of 10 coming up this weekend and there it was waiting for me, tucked nicely in a fish-tub and looking stunningly fresh and friendly.

Photo taken from Wikipedia "Cod" page.

I have a lot of clients that struggle with fish. Some hate eating it- many won't venture to try it at all- while still others love it but struggle with new ways to keep fish interesting. I hear ya'. I love fish. Huge fan. Wish we ate more of it. What I tend to struggle with is knowing which fish available to me is the one worth eating.

Don't worry. There are ways to get around this mental block.

Courtesy of Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium comes to the rescue. I've been preaching this Seafood Watch Guide for years. In fact, I've given a lot of the printed ones away. That was, until they came up with a phone app. The genius lies in having specific guides for different areas of the country. It really is a gem and worth keeping around if you're the food buyer in the family.

So, you have the tools. You found the fish. It's T minus 2 hours until dinner time and you don't feel like just squeezing lemon over the damn thing again.

What to do?

Well, what kind of fish is it? Cod? Hake? Perch? Salmon? Swordfish? Tuna?

Consider the texture of your fish before going further. Steak fish handles grilling and pan searing incredibly well. Their tougher textures lend themselves to a bit more abuse than their weaker counterparts.

Salmon? My favorite way to eat that stuff is straight up raw. It melts like butter in your mouth. When cooking it, I try to cook it just shy of done, to retain that fatty texture as much as possible. Slather it with mustard (dijon or heavy grain). Trust me.

White fish is as blank as an artist's untouched canvas. My personal favorite is to pair any white fish with tomatoes and white wine. Garlic, capers, olives, all of these help, too. Remember, white fish takes all of a few minutes to cook through. I like to check in five minute increments, using a fork at the center of a fillet and gently twisting in either direction. When the flesh budges and starts to flake, you're done. STOP THE COOKING PROCESS RIGHT THERE!

When in doubt, give poaching a shot. Putting a crust on fish is awesome, too. Like, ground almonds, some bread crumbs, garlic, butter, herbs, mixed to a paste. Shmear that on there and bake for a bit, broiling the top if you want it crisper.

All I ask is that you give fish a shot. It's well worth it for supporting our local fishing companies, for encouraging the preservation of native species and protection of their habitats. For the Omega 3s and the delightful variety fish can bring to your diet.

Don't be shy, cast your line and see what you catch.

I think that's a delightful metaphor for more than just eating. xo

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What we've got: Part Deux

And what haven't we got this time of year? We've got storms, cold weather, holidays fast approaching. It's enough to induce vomiting.

Here's hoping these next few tips can help you avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder in the coming months.

Problem #3: Storms. All manner of them.

New Hampshire is a delightful mix of self-reliance and Yankee-ingenuity. We can do it ourselves, thankyouverymuch. Until the power goes out. For two weeks straight. Now, let's just say most everything in your home is run on electricity (including your range and oven). Such is the case where I live. By week two, you've already eaten what you can from the dying refrigerator and are staring down the non-perishables because let's face it, eating at a restaurant isn't an option 14 days in a row. Here is one recipe that our family eats even with the lights on, and all of it is shelf stable.

White Bean Pantry Salad

One 14 oz can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
One 8 oz can Tuna or Salmon, drained
1/2 or 1/4 red onion, diced
1 tsp tarragon

1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbs White Wine vinegar -or- Lemon juice
4 Tbs Olive Oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
Pinch of sugar

So, all of the salad components can survive out of a fridge and this requires no heating or other prep outside of dropping stuff in a bowl and mixing it. Combine the first 4 ingredients and stir gently. Then, combine the following ingredients in a separate bowl- this is your dressing. Combine everything and enjoy. I recommend finishing all of this- if your fridge is down, there's no saving the leftovers.

Problem #4: Baby. It's cold outside. Like, wicked cold.

Single digit temperatures are not far away. With this setback we are faced with interesting personal obstacles. We crave fat and carbohydrates- an ancestral drive that hearkens back to our cave-dwelling days when an extra layer of fat made the winter easier to survive. Can we have our comfort food and not gain the Winter 15 at the same time? Maybe. Here are a few tricks for holiday foods that help keep some calories at bay ...

Mashed Potatoes: Use chicken stock instead of milk or cream (butter really is a must, though). Then, add lots of seasoning- garlic, chives, etc.

Cranberry Sauce: I can find no fault with this, assuming the stuff doesn't come from a can and doesn't contain stiffing amounts of sugar. Lots of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E ... you can learn more here:

Green Bean Casserole: Skip the soup. A basic white sauce with fresh ingredients and low fat milk will get you where you want to go. Add mushrooms, herbs, and love. Crispy onions can be welcomed with open arms, so long as the Campbells company isn't part of your recipe.

The rest is really moderation. has a fantastic crop of comfort foods done right. You don't miss the fattening parts. They have a great test kitchen, if I can say so. I refer to them often when I'm craving a comforting dish, but I want a healthier way of going about it.

As for that Seasonal Affective Disorder- it's a real thing. Us New Englanders are chronic sufferers. Here's what Web MD has to say about it. I like to think that bringing some sunshine into your diet would help to keep a lot of these symptoms at bay. This year, I'm seeking out buying a case of oranges from Florida. The local middle school used to sell them, but they have since ceased. So, I went out into the interwebs and found a few places that might work. Here's hoping they help you, too: - you can get anything here.
Hale Groves - lots of nice gifty things here.
Countryside Citrus - cute site, lots of variety.

I Googled "oranges by the case" and these are the best options I came up with, though many more exist. If you know of any better ones, please let us know in the comments section.

I've gone on long enough for my second installment. Expect more soon.

I hope this cold weather finds you wide-eyed and childlike. May the season give you nothing but love and excitement. xo

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What we've got: First installment.

What we've got, is a whole lot.

I mean it. When it comes to our work and family lives we all have a lot on our plates. I wanted to take a minute to touch on some tactics that might make tackling life a bit easier for you ... well, as far as food goes. I can't help you with much else. All of these issues are similar to those I encounter with my clients. Most of these solutions require your time. If you don't have any of that to spare, I'm happy to come in and help finish the job.

Problem #1: Babies.

Okay, babies aren't a problem. They're wonderful! But, they require a ton of attention, energy, and care. New moms: I see your panic. If this is your first baby, I can imagine all the stress that goes in to raising your first being. Lots of moms end up relying on store-bought baby food. It certainly cuts down on time, but it can get really expensive. Plus, do you really know where that food was prepared and exactly what goes into it?

Why not make your own? There are only a few rules to remember:

*Always serve food no warmer than body temperature.
*Avoid nitrate carrying foods until after 3 months of age: beets, carrots, green beans, squash, and spinach for example.
*If you're worried about nitrates, buy frozen vegetables and fruits first.
   **When in doubt, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics for resources ( or is a great spot to learn how to keep you and your baby safe when it comes to food.
*Cook food until it is soft.
*Never sweeten baby food. Babies are sweet enough.
*Don't be afraid to use spices! This will help you deal with picky eaters later in life. Trust me. They can handle it. Just avoid the really hot stuff ... like hot sauces and habinaro peppers. That just seems like a bad idea anyway. You're the one that has to deal with diapers.

If you have a food processor, you're already ahead of the game! Though small blenders like The Magic Bullet work well. If you want to go all fancy, you can buy legit baby food makers in a lot of places. They have handy storage stuff, freezer kits, it's a sweet deal. If you're expecting, why not register for one? Then, when kiddo is grown up, pass it along to a friend.

Problem #2: The Fussy Eater

I'm really throwing down the hammer, huh? Kids are great, it's picky eaters we have trouble with. You just want them to eat right! And they won't do it!

Chicken nuggets are not a bastion of nutrition. So, how do we conquer the dinner table? Hide stuff ... reinvent the usual favorites ... oh, there are ways.

Usually if a child doesn't like something, it means they don't like the texture of it. Think of it ... they love the crunchy, creamy, smooth stuff ... not the grainy, chunky, different stuff. That's how most of us adults are, too. So, if you want to create a meal your kids will at least try, work on the texture of things first. There are countless resources for mothers with picky kids. An organization I love, Cooking Matters, is a great resource for healthy recipes that kids will gravitate toward. It's their job to get kids to be excited about nutrition and they are very good at what they do. For example:

Do your kids love chicken fingers? This is a great recipe to get them to enjoy them without turning to the processed stuff:

Cooking Matters Baked Flaked Chicken

You will need:
Chicken tenderloins
Corn Flakes
Garlic powder
Salt and Pepper
Canola Oil spray (like Pam or the generic brand)

Okay, first pound those corn flakes into corn crumbs- I like putting them in a big ziplock and smashing them with my fists. It's a lot of fun. Then, set up your assembly line: a bowl/deep dish of flour (seasoned with garlic powder, s & p, and paprika), then a bowl of egg wash, then a bowl of the corn crumbs.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with some canola oil. Send the tenderloins down the line, first in the flour, then in the egg, then the crumbs, and arrange them on the baking sheet. When they're all set up, do one more spray of canola oil over the top, then bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

Bam. You have a new family favorite that tastes crispy without frying!

I could go on and on- and I will- but this is a fairly long read for now. I'll be working on another installment for the end of this week. Do you have a food problem you want addressed? Add it to the comments section and I'll see what kind of magic I can work!

Thanks for reading. May all your food frustrations turn in to lessons on how to enjoy life. xo

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A bit eggie

Mark and I got two new birds at the Deerfield Fair this past weekend. We couldn't help ourselves. Of our original 7, only 3 remain, and only two of those lay eggs. We needed to bring in new recruits. I've given them show names, like the others, but have affectionately started referring to them as Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Behold, Dilma Rousseff and Angela Merkel. They join Benazir Bhutto, Eva Perone, and Christiane Amanpour. Thing 1 was originally Maya Angelou (a favorite woman of mine), but her name wasn't in keeping with our line up. Maybe next time.

So, these ladies are Anconas. That means they're great layers ... a breeder told me they're black Leghorns. I don't really know what that means.

What I do know is they'll produce anywhere from 200 to 300 eggs per year. That's at least 1 per day from each of them. Our Americana and our Chantecler have both been giving us an egg a day for two weeks now. Looks like we're in egg heaven!

Now, what to do with all the eggs? Egg sandwiches are a morning favorite, as is brunch for breakfast. The roommates made this killer dish the other night with poached eggs on top!

Poached eggs aren't easy for a cooking novice. They take patience and the willingness to screw up a few times during the learning process. But once mastered, ohmahgoodness there is little that is better than a runny yolk.

How does one poach an egg? It's pretty simple:

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then lower the heat to a dull simmer.
Some folks add vinegar to the water. There's a legend out there that this helps the egg coagulate when dropped in the pot. I don't know if this is true or not, but I will say I've never poached eggs without it. I've only used just a dollop, never more than a few tablespoons worth.

Be sure your eggs are cold- right out of the fridge. Break them one at a time into a small bowl, then lightly place them into the water bath.


When the whites become opaque and the yolk starts to cook, use a slotted spoon to pull the eggs out of the water. It's handy to keep some paper towels in your other hand and drain some of the water off your egg.

Place on pasta, hash, roasted veggies, pizza, hamburgers, anywhere you need protein and nature's perfect sauce: runny yolks!

Turns out you can poach just about anything in just about everything. Tomato juice, stocks, milk ... if it's liquid it can poach. Try poaching your eggs in something new and exciting. Be advised- eggs will change color depending on the poaching liquid. 

Also delightful: meringue. Light, delicate, difficult. For some. Well, for most of us. I can't tell you how many times I've failed to create stiff peaks out of egg whites and sugar, but fear not! There are easy ways to figure out what you're doing wrong. It's never the egg's fault.

Basic Meringue Recipe

Three egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar or 1 tsp salt
3/4 cup fine grain sugar

Stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer
Big 'ol bowl

First things first: that bowl better be clean. Any grease or residual shmear that might be in the bowl will inhibit the growth of lustrous egg white peaks. I've made this mistake before when making mousse. In a fit of chaotic frenzy I accidentally whipped the cream first, not the eggs. Not thinking, I went seamlessly from one task to the other ... and had to toss a bunch of egg whites, wash the bowl, and start all over.

I'll never make that mistake again.

So, whip your egg whites until they start to foam. That gets a bunch of air in there and a place for sugar to take up residence. Once foamy, up your speed from medium to medium high on your mixer and add in your sugar just a bit at a time. That way the sugar dissolves evenly. I don't have a problem with gritty meringue, but some do. The picky ones. I know you're out there.

An important note: If you mix your egg whites too far, the proteins will start to separate. They will clump together in bunches and start to look dull and listless. If this has happened to you, throw the lot out and start over. Seriously.

Once your peaks are formed, you can stuff a bunch of the meringue into a clean gallon plastic bag and snip a hole in one corner, using it as a piping bag. You can pipe lovely clouds onto a parchment lined sheet and bake these suckers at 200 degrees or so- that way they won't brown.

You can also use this stuff to top a custard pie before it goes in the oven ... I made lemon meringue pie for my mother-in-law's birthday once. I think we all agreed it came out just fine.

You can also add various extracts and food coloring to get those delightful shades proudly advertised by French patisseries downtown. 

Add melted chocolate. Holy moly. Then add cayanne pepper. Mind. Blown.

Here's an awesome mousse recipe for you .. the one I use all the time:

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
3 egg whites (use the yolks for some other application, like dinner)
tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fine grain sugar

So .. meringue your egg whites using 3/4 cup of the sugar, as listed above. Allow meringue to chill while you then whip 1 cup of the cream, adding the remaining sugar and the vanilla in the process.

Take the chocolate chips and melt them in a microwave safe bowl. It usually takes only a minute, stirring every 30 seconds.

I then temper the hot chocolate with the remaining 1/4 cup of cream. Next up, fold fold fold fold. Fold the chocolate into a quarter of the egg whites. Then fold that into the whipped cream. Then fold in the remaining egg whites.

Spoon into mugs or small bowls. Top with shaved chocolate, berries, guilt, shame.

Just kidding. It isn't *that* bad for you. Is it? It certainly tastes lighter than any other dessert I usually opt for. And that's what matters: how you feel in the end.

I think that's long winded enough for one blog post. Your homework this time is to seek out some local eggs. When in doubt, compare a local, farm fresh, egg to one from a large scale producer. I think you'll see a huge difference in yolk color, size, taste, and overall satisfaction.

Trust me. It's worth the extra money and effort.

May your meals be sunny-side-up moments in your busy life. xo

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Well cultured

Do you know what this is? There's kielbasa in the background, but in the foreground? It may look strange (even disgusting to some), but my friends that gravy smeared pile of fries isn't some stoned college kid's answer to the late-night-snack question. 

It's poutine (pronounced "puts-in" where I come from). This French Canadian delicacy is an amalgam of  French fries, turkey gravy, cheese curds, and sometimes pieces of turkey, though turkey a poutine does not make.

It wasn't until my early twenties that I started to realized that New England, specifically the Northern portions of New Hampshire where my family hails from, actually can claim regional and culturally based cuisine. Like living down the street from the Eiffel Tower ... it is easy to take for granted what is right in front of you. For a long time I took for granted that I had a food culture at all.

That was a perfect segue into what I really wanted to talk about in this post. Not heart attack inducing entrees, but food cultures. 

Now, food culture can be an incredibly broad term. Americans have a food culture that is different from Thailand, France, Spain, Morocco, etc. However, the concept can be used with even more precision. Tennessee's food culture is a far cry from New Hampshire's. And even further, Berlin and Concord can feel alien when examined on a food culture basis. Get into people's homes- eat dinner with them- and you find that the gap gets wider still. Each of us is born into a food culture that shapes not only the food on our future plates, but the significance that food holds in our lives.

It's kind of a big deal.

So ... my food culture. Well, you could probably assume from the beginning of this post that I am French Canadian. My folks were born in Berlin, NH and as with lots of families that originated in and around the Great North Woods, hunting and fishing and all around foraging hold a place at our table. My mother always had a garden when I was little and was adamant that my sisters and I learn to feed ourselves and to feed others. There was always more than enough food on the table and the processed stuff rarely found its way into our cupboards. Food wasn't just for fuel, it was for celebrating; a way to show someone you love them.

With this set of rules there are also recipes woven in to the fabric of who I am today. My mom's Bouliabaisse,  Roasted Beet and Potato Salad, Summer Fresh Caprese, Feel Better Chicken Soup, Morning Hash made with the previous night's leftovers, the perfect egg sandwich, the list goes on and on.

My husband's family has added to this familial food culture of mine. Everyone brings something to the table- a meal is meant to be shared and enjoyed together. Grammy's handwritten recipe books are treasured and serve as a road map to a family history's worth of meals. Christmas Cookies, Sugar Pie, Grammy's famous German Chocolate Cake, Baked Haddock, Jello Salad (which my husband and brother-in-law affectionately call "Booger Salad", since it is made with lime flavored jello).

There's a lot of joy in these memories and flavors, but food cultures can create problems for us as well. Unhealthy relationships with food, fostered by personal experiences or the rules we were raised with, can create battles with weight and nutritional deficiencies. Over-eating, under-eating, limited diets, food allergy battles; these can all be side effects of the very same things that bring so much joy to our lives.

I am learning that becoming deeply in touch with my personal food culture allows me to maintain the good points and hopefully move on from the bad ones. It is a constant work in progress.

I think I will give you some homework. Think about your own personal food culture. What value did your parents put on food. What foods were off limits? What foods were celebrated? How have your family's attitudes about food bled into your adult life? Have they affected you positively or negatively?

If anything, this is a great examination into who we are as family members and as individuals. If anything, we gain more insight into who we are ... and that's never a bad thing. 

I would love to hear from you about your favorite aspects of your personal "food culture". Is there a recipe you can't live without? A "food rule" that has helped shape who you are? I would love to learn more.

In the mean time, feast with your family. You'll never regret it. xo