This Grand Adventure: Chelsa-Bea: So, Why Write About Food?

August 12, 2013

So, Why Write About Food?

photo via a.fornum

My husband says I should have written this post months ago, but to be honest, I figured it would come out in my writing somehow. He says I need to tell you exactly why I write about food. I mean, I don’t know that I can truly call myself a food blogger but if that is, what this is becoming, then I figured I might as well tell you why.

Food has always been one of the most important elements of my life. I am sure you are thinking, all right girl, cool but food is important to everyone. Okay...I get it, food is important to everyone, but food is important to me in a way that, well, is bigger than most things.

I don’t have a desire to be a chef, although I did contemplate going to the Culinary Institute for a hot minute before heading to college. And then for a while, I didn’t cook at all because I think I was intimidated by the idea that it was too domestic or that it wasn’t “cool” or something ridiculous like that. I think I fought how important it was to me for a long time.

My biggest pet peeve in life is spending money on bad food. And, I’m not talking about McDonald’s or even the occasional piece of Eddy’s White Bread, I’m talking about bad-tasting, ill-seasoned, and disappointing food. Whether it’s $1.50 or $300, if it doesn’t taste good or is just inadequate, I can’t think of anything more annoying.

I’m not a self-proclaimed foodie and I would probably argue that I’m not a food snob. But in reality, I am probably very much both of these. So, who is to blame for all of this, you ask? That would be my dearest mother. Yep, she is the culprit. Get this straight though, I am not complaining about that. I actually think it’s one of the greatest gifts she could have ever given me. The appreciation, desire and love for really great food.

I remember being so frustrated by her as a child. When everyone else got pudding-packs in their lunches. My mother would put homemade pudding in a glass ramekin for us to take to school. Now that I look back, what an amazing and wonderful mother she was. The thought and energy she put into our meals and exposing us to things that most people don't dream of eating or even know about until much later in life, I am now very, very grateful for. But at the time, I couldn’t quite see past the fact that she wouldn’t allow us to have Squeeze-It in our lunch.

You see, my mother has always loved food like it was her third child. And in some ways it was. My mother is an original Martha-Stewart wannabe, we’re talking 1980’s original Martha. She is so talented and fearless to try new things.  She is 10,000x’s the cook that I will ever be. For a short time growing up, my mother owned her own catering company. Oh and then she took some courses in wine-making and in general she made the best Sunday dinner of anyone I know.

My parent’s put a lot of work into showing my brother and I what good ingredients really are. I feel lucky to have been exposed to so many unique and truly fresh elements. On top of my Mom being an amazing cook in the kitchen, she was also a semi-professional gardener and my dad an avid outdoorsman. Whether it was fried duck, smoked goose, huckleberry pancakes, pan-friend trout, grilled elk burgers, or morel mushroom soup, my parent’s took the Idaho outdoors into the kitchen.

I am lucky. I know. I’ve been exposed to a lot and I am very grateful for that. So, back to the point, why write about food?

Because it makes me incredibly happy. Because I can’t think of anything more fun or entertaining than sampling and creating new dishes out of simple ingredients. I can’t think of anything I love more than being in the kitchen, or on a patio, porch or a stoop, or at a football game, or around a big table, or at a beach or on a ski hill or on a river, and enjoying food with those I love. Food brings people together and that is why I love it.

I know that many of my friends and family may actually be better cooks than me but the truth is I just love food. I love food for what it is – sustenance. But I love it more because of what it does and what it means. It brings people together, letting them share and talk and enjoy. I love the flavor and the sweetness and the overall design and display of food.

Food is the one thing that has always been able to cross boundaries, if it’s sharing a pizza with a new college friend, or having wine and cheese on a patio, or making hamburgers on a friend’s back porch in the summer, or making a big pot of chili to share at a football game, or cold fried chicken while fly fishing. Food has a way of making memories and bringing people together in a way that nothing else can. I love food for it’s complication, it’s simplicity, it’s design and color. I love food because of what it does. No matter, what walk of life you may come from, everyone can relate when it comes to food.

I don’t consider myself any type of expert, or even remotely a chef. I just know I love food. Food allows me to be creative and explore in a way I didn't know I could. I may not be creating something new but I am constantly learning and I love that.

It can serve as the perfect excuse to get together with a close friend. It can calm you after a stressful day. It can remind you of the past, or get you ready for an upcoming season, whether it's tacos in the summer or soup in the fall or turkey around the holidays. Food can be the perfect punctuation to an amazing event, like a graduation. We often allow days to pass us by, as if today isn’t the most important day of your life. I grew up in a household where today is important. And food allowed us to get together, talk, laugh, cry, and sometimes belch. It is truly a universal language and fortunately, or at least I think so, I speak it. So, that is why I write about food...because it makes me happy.

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