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Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Food Geek Is Born

So there was a discussion about PBS shows we watched as kids at work. Then there was the weird random follow up conversations in random places which then lead me to thinking about the sources of my interests. Cooking came from my Grandparents to start with. I was taught beginning when I was 4. My first dish was scrambled eggs and I made a mess because Grampa made me nervous. And I got recipes and cookbooks for gifts periodically as I grew up. But then there was PBS.

At the same time I discovered Dr. Who, I found this man, Jeff Smith.

My first cooking teacher. Dad and I watched him every Saturday. I'd made a mention of him on Wordpress and it was recommended that I keep in mind links. So I found links. Which lead me to what amounts to an half season's worth of episodes which take me right back to being in high school.

If ever there is a time to recapture a little of the glory of those days, it is when you approach your period of mid life crisising so that you can maybe do things a little different than you did the first time. For instance, I hid who I was in high school. Lots of years an lots of advice later I am not hiding. And I am telling you guys to come out and be yourselves. Hiding is bad.

Let me tell you a story.

I hid my interest in food for a long time. Classmates were comfortable with me being an artist but not too comfortable with me being interested in as many "grown up" things as I was. So I didn't talk about the Frug (pronounced; froog). I'd been watching him since about 7th grade. And to show you how dedicated I was to hiding from my classmates, I declined invitations to go out, blaming a babysitting gig, so that I could stay home with my dad to cook. Dad decided that I should put this education to use. We would watch the Frug and then shop for the ingredients to make some of the meals I'd taken notes on. It took about 6-8 episodes to come up with the recipe that we figured we could afford to try.

In 12th grade my best friend started to threaten me with an education on cooking. I'd been cooking for the family for about 3 years at that point. About a year after high school she earnestly began to teach me to cook. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I already knew. So for the last 25 years she has taken credit for the work that this man did and for the patience that my father had in letting me have control of the kitchen on the weekends that I didn't work.

If you want to learn how to cook he is a good place to start. Information, humor, grace (there is no yelling) and context for everything that he talks about. Rachel Ray and Martha Stewart will break down the recipe and get the food on the table. But the Frug will get the food into your soul.

As the Frug ended his show, I shall end this post: I bid you peace.


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