Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

Tortiere Grandmere


I’ve been dreaming about getting my hands on my French Canadian grandmother’s tortiere recipe for years, possibly decades, now that I come to think of it.

But it wasn’t until they moved Mamere from one nursing home to another earlier this year that someone finally found a copy of the original to send out to all of the kids and the kids of their kids.  I’ve been itching to make it ever since, but the idea of a hearty, meaty pie didn’t really jive with our warmer than usual Ontarian fall.

So, now that it’s starting to be cold weather eating season, it seemed more than appropriate to give the old girl a whirl.  What you see above is a rather decimated version of Antoinette’s tortiere; I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a picture for myself until after we’d already dug in.  No matter.  It will wow you all the same.

The original made 4 pies, but I have scaled the recipe down and added bay leaf for a little extra whiff, other than that, it is as she wrote it down, many years ago.  Bon appetit!

Tortiere Grandmere


Gimme My Burrata!

Beets, Burrata, Etc

When the Everyman and I were in Chicago recently, we went to a restaurant called The Publican for dinner that we’d heard amazing things about.

One of the items they had on their menu that I absolutely had to order was a chilled beet and burrata salad, because a girl can never have too much burrata.

Imagine my dismay when the plate set before me was covered with daubs of ricotta cheese instead (and I like ricotta!)

Receiving no explanation as to why there was no burrata, I half-heartedly ate my salad, all the while inwardly sulking over the missing cheese.  Had the place been less packed and frantic, I would have said something about it, but it hardly seemed worth the fuss at the time.

Since then, I’ve been unable to get that combination off my mind.  So, after a trip to Cheese Boutique this week, I decided to recreate it myself.


Like A Modern Day Willy Wonka


It’s been a while, I know.

Which is why I thought it was high time to pass along some poorly lit food porn photos.

You see, last week I had the opportunity to dine at Alinea in Chicago.

I’m not going to let all the goodies out of the bag yet, but I had to share this photo of one of the (more visible) sweeter courses on our tasting menu.

The reddish disc in the background was called a raspberry transparency, which was a lot like a fancy stained glass fruit roll-up.  The tube in the foreground was filled with hibiscus jam, vanilla creme fraiche and bubblegum flavoured tapioca pearls and to eat it, you grabbed the tube and sucked it back in one big gulp, before it started shooting out the opposite end.


Score One For The Veggieheads


The general success of Meatless Mondays around here has inspired more than a few changes in our day to day life recently.

For starters, the Everyman (entirely of his own accord) suggested to me last week that he would be fine with going meatless twice a week (who knew it could be so easy?)  I suppose that is a testament to the justice I’m trying to do to vegetarian fare and fresh produce in general for him to say so, but I was surprised nonetheless.  I’ve since decided that we will do a second night each week, but this one is not going to be a fixed evening and will just float in whenever it feels like it fits.

Another such change was our willingness to check out L.A.B (aka Live and Breathe) on Sunday, which is Toronto’s newest temple of molecular hijinx fused with a heavily vegetarian flair.  Of the 2 chefs at L.A.B, Howard Dubrovsky is reportedly a vegetarian, (as was our server for the evening) and you could tell they were both eager to share their enthusiasm with the dinner crowd.  I’d first heard about L.A.B several months ago via a preview party I’d read about and to be honest, at the time I wasn’t overly excited about it (other than being happy for one more non-Italian option in Little Italy).

Having read the reviews in The Star and The Globe though, I was intrigued enough to want to give it a whirl.  I’d intended to check it out on Victoria Day weekend, but as luck would have it, they were closed.  The Everyman suggested a visit this past weekend (I suspect partly so he could get out of an impending trip to Ikea) but I was inwardly concerned that he wouldn’t enjoy the brazenly molecular flair.  As it turns out, I needn’t have worried.

When we arrived at L.A.B the eye-poppingly graffitied space was sparsely populated (normal for a Sunday, I expect) with diners situated around the perimeter of the 28 seat room, and chef was working on a slightly elevated pedestal behind the bar, though truly it looked like a stage.  Once we settled ourselves in, we were offered a cocktail list from which I chose a faux-jito of muddled mint, blackberries, pomegranate and soda, and the Everyman selected a Kentucky cooler (I believe that’s what it was called anyway) which blended bourbon, red wine, apple and spices into a heady, deeply hued sipper.  On the merit of the drinks alone I was convinced that all signs pointed to deliciousness.


And I Killed Some Prawns, Just To Watch Them Die

See The Whites Of Their Eyes

As someone who developed a fairly serious allergy to most varieties of shellfish during the past few years (severe enough that I now carry an epi-pen) I don’t often consume much in the way of shellfish.

But last year, after eating smoked prawns at The Black Hoof, I fell head over heels in love with one of the few crustaceans I’m still capable of eating.  BC spot prawns are generally sold fresh (read: alive) and are only available for a few brief months each year, starting in May and usually stretching through to July or August.  I can’t quite explain it, but there is something so much more creamy, sweet and delicately briny about spot prawns than any other shellfish I’ve ever sampled before.  Being that they also don’t induce anaphylaxis in me doesn’t hurt either.

I’ve tried in vain to find them frozen on several occasions, only to come up empty handed.  A few weeks ago when I searched for them at the St Lawrence Market, 2 out of 3 fishmongers had no idea what I was even asking for and the third outright said they didn’t carry them.  Faced with being at a loss for a second season in a row, I half-heartedly reached out to the obsessives on Chowhound who were surprisingly adept at pinpointing several places in the GTA that could help a sister out (I’ve had mixed success with reaching out for help on Chowhound, so I honestly wasn’t expecting much).  Most of the suggestions were out of the way for this non-driver, in the burbs of Scarborough and such, but one happened to be right downtown.  The T&T Supermarket on Cherry St even had spot prawns advertised in their circular, so I emphatically coerced the Everyman into letting me take my practice drive for the day over to said grocery store.

Once we got there, we found a large tank at the back of the store teeming with the vibrant pink beauties.  The tank was overcrowded though, so the spot prawns didn’t seem as lively as I had expected them to be, though they were certainly still alive.  Asking for 2 pounds, the fishmonger deftly scooped them out of the tank with a net, which set the previously docile prawns to wildly thrashing about.  Once bagged and tagged, I didn’t waste much time before exiting the store and returning home.  Live stuff generally doesn’t stay alive for long when trapped in a small plastic bag.  As a last ditch effort at giving me the finger, the spikiness of the prawns managed to pierce a hole in their bag unbeknownst to me and leak seawater all over the floor mat of my car.  Note to future intrepid purchasers of live prawns – always place them into a cooler or some other hard bottomed storing device when travelling, so as not to suffer the same fate, unless you enjoy washing floor mats for fun.

At home, I had no concept of how to prepare live prawns, and after turning to the internet I was faced with the realization that I had to rip off their heads.  The picture above is what was left of the prawn heads once I accomplished that task; an experience I found more than a little chilling since they were still moving about.


Not Too Late To The Party

Leaves Of Plenty

Though it’s not yet May, this year I’ve often worried that I might have missed the window for Ontario ramps and wild fiddleheads.

With a warmer than normal March and April, these edible delicacies have been popping up much earlier than usual, which leaves me without farmer’s markets to buy them from, since all of the markets in my area don’t start up until mid May or June.  Last year we found them at The Cheese Boutique several times, but given my tendency to grossly overspend every time I cross their threshold, I wasn’t keen on the idea of heading over there just to get a couple pounds of ramps.

But then, on the way home from the Green Living Show yesterday, the serendipitous happened.

As I was walking along Dundas West, huddled against the wind and the rain, I noticed a lone sandwich board announcing a grand opening.  It turns out that Provenance Regional Cuisine has rented out some space in the existing Palmerston Cafe and is now a mini pop-up style grocery store.  I walked in to investigate, but since the Everyman and I were about to hurry off to a Cowbell brunch, I only made the most cursory glance of the products on offer.  Promising the counter staff that I would return, several hours later the Everyman and I did.

And what a bounty we found.  Not only is the place gorgeously curated, but it finally offers a place to buy local, sustainable meat that’s only a 3 minute walk from our house, as opposed to the 20 minute jaunt it takes me to get to The Healthy Butcher.  After a few minutes I managed to procure a bundle of ramps, as well as some homemade crostini, dried cranberry beans, sweet potato flour and more.  With the ramps firmly in hand, all that was left was to devise how to use them. (more…)

The Butcher, The Baker (The Candlestick Maker?)


Last month before my birthday, the Everyman admitted that he was at a loss for gift ideas for me.

Since I’m the type of person who will generally buy anything I need for myself as I happen to need it, at first I couldn’t think of anything to tell him.  Aside from that, I hate suggesting to people what to give me, because a) it ruins any semblance of surprise and b) if you want to buy me a present, you should know me well enough to pick something out on your own, otherwise you shouldn’t be giving me a present in the first place.

But, as the date continued to approach he didn’t seem any closer to coming up with an appropriate gift, so I threw out a couple of thoughts, one of which was to attend a butchery session at Cowbell.  I did want to go, but I wasn’t really expecting him to take me up on it because it would mean there wouldn’t be anything for me to open (which is what I find most fun about presents to begin with), but shockingly, he did.  He even opted to leave the gift open ended, so I could choose the butchery session that most appealed to me because they offer classes in just about every kind of animal the restaurant uses on a rotating basis.

For those who aren’t in the know, Cowbell is one of Toronto’s premiere local food bistros, who not only preach nose to tail, but practice it as well by buying whole animals and employing an in-house butcher to break them down in the restaurant’s basement.  Since they bring in a whole animal nearly every week, approximately once a month they offer a class where you can follow along as butcher Ryan does his thing.  There was a class being held on my birthday to break down a red deer (one I would have loved to attend) but we didn’t find out until it was too late (while we were there the day of for my birthday brunch).  Several weeks later we visited with the Everyman’s brother and wife for dinner, and when we enquired we were told that the next session was going to be a Tamworth pig.  It sounded interesting (and we love pork), so the Everyman signed the 2 of us up.

Fast forward to this past Sunday, when we (and the other participants) assembled in the dining room at 7:30, while the restaurant was offering Sunday roast dinner.  After being introduced to Ryan, we were led on a tour of the restaurant, making a quick stop at the kitchen to meet that nights’ staff, though unfortunately chef Mark was not in attendance.  After the brief hello, we descended to the basement to get started.


One Upping Rusty And Jerome…

The R&J

As I’ve surely mentioned here many times before, I’m a huge fan of breakfast.

Unfortunately, the Everyman is not, and mostly prefers to eat his first meal of the day around noon-ish on the weekend, which typically leaves us at a frustratingly inedible impasse.  Due to our differing opinions on the matter we don’t go out for brunch all that often, either.  Our first few visits to The Hoof Cafe when it opened were a noticeable exception, but that was mainly because the Everyman trusts Grant and also knew he could get un-breakfasty items if it came down to it (and it often does).  After we went to Cowbell brunch for my birthday, the Everyman was visibly smitten with the Rusty and Jerome I ‘d ordered (pictured above in its combo plate of apple pear compote-topped waffle, meatloaf, beans and sausage, bacon, toast and eggy glory) and beermosas too, but the simple fact is no matter how good the food is (and it IS fan-freakin-tastic) some days you just don’t want to travel across town to eat.  We’ve returned for brunch several times since then, but I still occasionally get intolerable cravings for breakfast that won’t quit in the interim.

One such yen hit me with full force just the other day.  Being that it was the middle of the week, it was unlikely that I would have the chance to go out for brunch the following day, so I contemplated the next best option; breakfast for dinner!  Growing up, I had a friend whose dad would make breakfast for dinner one day a week, and whether it was pancakes, waffles or eggs I always loved eating dinner at their house on that day.  We never really did anything like that in my home, so dinnerfast felt a little bit foreign and strangely like luxury.

After rummaging around in the fridge and finding the remnants of a carton of buttermilk, I began searching the internest for a decent buttermilk pancake recipe.  My gaze immediately gravitated towards this, but was also enticed by this, too.  Knowing the Everyman as well as I do, I was certain that if he chose the buttermilk pear option I’d have to find a suitable side dish to go with it to counter the sweetness, since he’s not a great lover of sweet breakfasts especially.  As I wracked my brain over possible complements, out of nowhere an idea came to me.  Why not make a salty hash with his favourite meat (prosciutto)?

Once I ran the options by him, he immediately began salivating over the potential of what we began referring to as who hash (a la The Grinch).  When we arrived home from work I mixed up the pear pancake batter so that it could rest, and began grating potatoes and onions and dicing prosciutto.  The whole meal came together quickly, and before I knew it I was serving up a beautiful puffy pancake that resembled an upside down cake with a side of crispy, crusty prosciutto speckled hash.


The Lexicon Of Food Snobbery

Ah, eating.

Aside from the simple act of breathing, there isn’t really any other consumptive requirement that equalizes society more (because we all have to do it or else we die).  So, it seems only logical to me that as a species we should be more than a little preoccupied with the W5H of our food.  If essentially (we’re talking extremely drilled down here) nourishment boils down to a matter of life or death (do I have food enough to eat or will I go hungry?) why wouldn’t you want to concern yourself with it to the nth degree?  If you were to ignore the question of food for long enough, it’s possible that your own survival would be at stake as your body began to starve.  Yet for some odd reason the people who do consider these things aren’t the norm, and instead are labelled foodies; an insipid little word which inspires disdain even amongst those who would fall into such a category.  As such, foodies have become culinary outliers, a fact easily proven by watching the eyes of non-foodies glaze over whenever someone who appreciates food discusses the intricacies of their favourite edible creation in their vicinity.

There’s an inordinate number of people in the world who would consider me to be something of a food snob based primarily on the fact that I am very selective about what foods I will allow into my body.  But I’m not a snob; far from it, actually.  It’s simple, really.  If it doesn’t taste good, it’s not coming in, that’s all there is to it. Why is it that having passion for any subject has become synonymous with snobbery? I’m not as big a hater of the word foodie as most people either (obviously), but I generally try not to frame myself through definitions of character or personality.  I grew up in a house, in a place, in a family that professionally and socially cooked and placed a high value on food and kitchen table camaraderie.  Subsequently, I was nurtured and engaged in food myself, and to this day not only do I love to cook but I relish eating, too (surprisingly, I don’t love to eat nearly as much as I love to cook, though).  To me that’s normal and not something I regard as smacking with even the slightest bit of pretension.  Rather, I think of food and cooking and eating as elemental, because it unites us with our forebears via its commonality.

While I may not eat some foods because I don’t think they taste good (the vast majority of processed foods would be a perfect example) I don’t believe that being discerning is sufficient grounds for being labelled snobbish.  My brand of food fascination is a blend of a quest for authenticity over watered down fare, tempered by occasional bouts of obsessive compulsive behaviour.  Case in point; I can be just as easily satiated by a $4.50 baby cow sandwich from Commisso Bros. as I have been with the $275 a head tasting menu at Eigensinn Farm – it really just depends on the situation.  The cost of food is irrelevant when you consider the rich tableau of atmosphere, companions and occasions that formidable memories are born of.  For instance, in Chicago I desperately wanted to visit Alinea, but it was something that time just wouldn’t allow.  It would have been a meal costing several hundreds of dollars I’m sure, but the cheap and dirty food from Fat Willy’s Rib Shack that formed our last taste before getting back on a plane was just as appreciated as Alinea would have been because it too was prepared with passion.  In that respect I’d say I’m closer to a culinary egalitarian, really.  Put simply, I enjoy good food.  Whether I cook it for myself, or I pay someone else to cook it for me, taste integrity is unanimously the mitigating factor in what I choose to eat.  Though realistically, as much as I’ve come to enjoy restaurant food, 99 times out of 100 I’d much rather cook something for myself because only I understand precisely how I want that something to taste.

In fact, I personally believe that people who choose not to cook are the true snobs, because paying someone else to do something you don’t want to do reeks of superiority.  At some point during the 1950′s, cooking went from being perceived as a nurturing part of a decent home life to being painted as an intolerable chore.  Cue the montage of ads about liberating women from the drudgery of their kitchens by replacing home cooked foods with frozen dinners and ready meals to make my point for me.  Or this quote from a recent article in The Toronto Star For me in recent years, cooking has been a bit like dentistry: I hear there are people who still do it themselves but it just makes me shake my head sadly.” (I know it comes from an article about the Slap Chop, but I find such a sentiment disheartening still). I’m not going to disagree with the fact that cooking and preparing food from scratch is hard work.  You’re reading the website of a girl who cooks her own food, bakes her own bread, cures her own meat, preserves her own jams and churns her own butter, so believe me when I say I do understand.  But look instead at what’s been lost.  Society has become so far removed from the taste of real food that manufacturers can layer on salt and fat and sweet and chemicals just to make their food seem palatable because most people are unfamiliar with how delicious unadulterated food can be.

Paying someone else to prepare your food (either via restaurant or the shelves of the supermarket) is rife with undertones of servitude.  With the obvious exception of celebrity chefs, cooking is still considered one of the humblest professions out there, staffed mostly by uneducated masses.  And before you start to disagree with me, consider for a moment what other profession requires you to work 80 or more hours per week on your feet for such meagre and thankless pay?  Or think on the fact that many of the unsung heroes in a kitchen are immigrants who are just thankful to be gainfully employed, even without the benefit of sick days, vacations, etc.  Cheffing is hard, brutal work that many attempt but few prevail at, and it certainly is not an industry for the weak.  Yet, why don’t we acknowledge their legitimacy when we’re basically putting ourselves into their hands by outsourcing our food to them more and more each day?  Again, it sounds like snobbery to me.  The clincher for me is that more often than not, the people who cook mid to high end food do not make enough money to even patronize the places they work at themselves.  How’s that for irony?

At a time when The Food Network feels it needs to add a whole other channel to accommodate a demand for additional programming, it would seem that what we eat should be a more important topic than ever.  Instead, it’s been shown that more people love to watch food television than actually cook anymore, with the backlash of artisanally-minded people like me still somewhat in its infancy.  But it doesn’t have to be.  Taking food into your own hands is not an indicator of snobbery, it’s an opportunity to exert a modicum of control over what you want to eat instead of letting Big Food (or anyone, really) decide that for you.


The Soul Of Comfort Food

Cornbread; Ain't Nothin' Wrong With That!

When I was younger, comfort food took on many forms.

Being half Trinidadian, if my mom was cooking it often meant some sort of roti and curry preparation to warm our hearts and bellies.  After my parents split and my dad took over the cooking for our household, it was a Sunday roast chicken redolent with paprika, garlic, onion and pepper with a side of fluffy stuffing.  Once I was considered old enough to cook on my own, my foods of choice were often plain, bland and white, including tall glasses of cold milk, hot buttered rice and large piles of creamy mashed potatoes – clearly my love of starchy white carbs was cultivated at a young age.

These days comfort food in our household usually means homemade macaroni and cheese (prepared with creme fraiche, parmagiano, manchego and chevre instead of nuclear cheese food), baked panko crusted sriracha nuggets or my aunt’s Christmas morning poached chicken salad that the Everyman fell in love with while we were there for the holidays.  While the spirit of the dishes remains the same, the ingredients and methods have certainly gone more upmarket to account for our more refined tastes and preferences than what we would have settled for as kids.

The one comfort food genre that I’ve never really dabbled much in was Southern food.  I like cornbread, fried chicken, BBQ and all the other stereotypical fare as much as the next person, but I generally don’t make much of it at home.  But between this article about Hank’s new Southern dinner menu and the return of more wintry weather recently, I was suddenly craving something heartier and more rib-sticking than normal. Over the years I’ve enjoyed all of the components of the dish I made last night separately, but I never bothered to put them all together as one before.  It’s far from authentic Southern or Caribbean fare but dang, it does taste good.

To begin I soaked half a pound of red beans overnight, then simmered them in several inches of water until they were mostly tender.  In the meantime, I sautéed several links of a homemade spicy poblano sausage I had in the freezer with some chopped celery, onion, thyme, cumin and cayenne until the whole upper level of our house was nose-tinglingly fragrant.  Once the sausage and veggies were well browned, I added a handful of frozen stock cubes and scraped the bottom of the pan with a spoon.  At this point I put on water to boil for a pot of brown rice.  Draining the beans in a colander, I added them back to their pan with the remaining sausage/veggie/broth mixture as well as a few fresh bay leaves, then covered and simmered again.  In the interim I mixed up a cornbread batter and slid it into a preheated blackened frying pan.  Once the cornbread was mostly cooked through I grated a large dusting of peppered pecorino on top of it and returned it to the oven to brown.  When everything was ready I served the sausage and bean mixture atop a mountain of brown rice with a wedge of crispy cornbread on the side.


Cowbell, To The Power Of 3


Today I am leaving you with a picture of a recent vegetarian supper I concocted out of couscous, lentils and roasted root vegetables in a tarragon cream.

The reason for this is that I am currently coming down from a meat hangover after having been to Cowbell twice in the last 36 hours, and needed something lighter and plant-based to inspire me.

We visited for dinner on Saturday night and enjoyed a meal of all of the usual delicious suspects, including the charcuterie platter, a consomme, some red deer and variety pork dishes, and a pot of chocolate rillettes.  Chef was kind enough to serve our dinner himself, and at the end of the night he even brought out some wonderful ice wine and wished me a happy birthday.  It turns out his birthday is also this week, so I wished him many happy returns.

On Sunday morning we came back nearly 12 hours later to enjoy the mother of all brunches.  I ingested what they call the Rusty and Jerome, which is a TV tray laden with just about every item on their brunch menu, including a melange of bacon, toast, waffles with fruit, meatloaf and gravy, eggs and baked beans and sausages.  It was quite the impressive feast, and I enjoyed it all the more when they brought it to our table and assumed the Everyman had ordered it.  Instead he had a Belgian waffle with the aforementioned fruit, a side of home fries and a few links of chorizo.  After behaving like a pair of gluttonous beasts, we left Cowbell once again and continued on with my birthday, albeit in a food-addled stupor.

The third instance of the equation is actually part of my present.  The Everyman and I will be participating in one of their private butchery classes (I just have to pick which one) which basically means that I received the gift of 3 Cowbells for my birthday.


New Beginnings


Tomorrow is my birthday.

So, it seems only fitting that as I prepare to spend another year in this skin, I should reflect on what it is I’m planning to do in the coming months, particularly in relation to gardening.

With the exception of the various forms of root stock I ordered (potatoes, sunchokes and asparagus) all of my seeds have arrived.  I spread them out on the kitchen table last night and simultaneously felt surges of fear and excitement.  There’s something rather exhilarating about the potential of this year’s garden with the many unknowns I’m introducing into the equation, but at the same time I can also see the immense amount of work all of the seed packs represent.

Of course, the few months between receiving the seeds and actually planting them into the ground is excruciatingly painful for someone as impatient as I am.  There is the distraction of starting the seeds in the basement, but that is just a temporary solution, which is why I invariably end up going back to the seed catalogues that keep showing up at my door and ordering more.  In fact, immediately after I placed the orders for all of the seed packets that you see above, another Richter’s magazine (ironically) showed up, attempting to entice me into purchasing again.  To date I haven’t caved, but only because I’m not sure whether I realistically have room for all of the things I’ve already bought.  Regardless of that concern, I’m sure before May rolls around there will be a few more seed orders arriving at my door.

As an added bonus, the company that sent me the seeds on the very left (Heritage Harvest) included a free package of tomato seeds with my order, and I’m very intrigued by them.  They’re called Henderson’s Wins All and apparently this heritage variety grows grotesquely massive 2-3 pound specimens.  While some of you may be aware of my fascination with all things tiny and squee, I’m also (surprisingly) amazed by those biggest vegetable ever contests that people hold every harvest season.  Between the Sicilian Saucer (another 3 pound beast) and this new Henderson’s I think I’m going to have giantesse all wrapped up this year.  I’m expecting it’ll be a very Alice In Wonderland-esque garden with all of the tiny cherry tomatoes being dwarfed by these 2 oversized plants.


Silencing My Inner Critic

I grew up in a restaurant family.

While other kids got to have play dates and scheduled outings with their moms and dads, I enjoyed an absentee relationship with mine; 2 of 3 being terminally addicted to their kitchens.  In the years that my parents were together I barely saw my mom because she’d leave for work while I was still at pre-school and not return until 2 or 3 in the morning.  After my parents separated, my mom and stepdad were too busy chasing their restaurant dreams to worry about things like family all that much, so I lived with my dad and only saw them a couple times a year.

Despite many wonderful things I learned and was inspired by during my time in their restaurants, the one thing that continues to irk me to this day is the overly critical nature that they’ve imbued in me.  It was never more evident in them than on the rare occasions when we would go out to eat as a family.  Rather than enjoying the brief time we had together, they would categorically pick apart whatever we were eating, regardless of whether it was a cheap trattoria or a fancy French bistro.  They’d then move on to analyzing whether they could make a particular dish better, and consequently discuss how to do so.

It drove me nuts.  Had I been older it probably would have driven me to drink, but at that young age all I could muster was a withering roll of the eyes.  I didn’t see them often, so all I wanted was to make the most of our time, but they never let up.  For years I vowed I would never be like them, determined to be happy with whatever was set before me, instead.

But, over the last few years I’ve found their somewhat unsavoury trait rearing its ugly head more and more in my demeanour.

Between working in their kitchens and stints at culinary school I’ve had plenty of time to develop an overly picky palate.  In a lot of ways it’s been for the best; I’ve gained a certain level of disdain for junk, fast and pre-packaged food-like substances in favour of slow (or what I like to call real) food.  On the flip side, it also makes friends and lovers (unnecessarily) nervous wrecks when feeding me, and coworkers assume I’m some sort of snob because I choose not to eat their hydrogenated oil filled crap or corn syrup laden goodies.  Even though I’m relatively quiet about my beliefs and standpoints on food (preferring to internalize rather than proselytize) most people assume I’m some sort of elitist crank or cow hugging moon maiden, anyhow.  That I don’t care what anyone thinks of me or my habits seems to stymie them all the more.

I often try to rationalize that I’ve only taken on the best parts of this annoying habit from my parents.  Instead of critiquing things for how bad they might be, I strive to only indulge in tastes of ridiculously good food because I think it satisfies your body, soul and cravings more.  Of course, that’s a mantra that’s easier said than done…