October 28th, 6pm - 9pm, Palace Ballroom, Seattle, WA)
This is an entry for Keren Brown's Foodportunity Contest: The question - What's your Foodportunity? What opportunities has food brought your way, and what has the event meant to you, or what would you like it to be?
My own surprising journey with food and my own online presence is what I'm sharing.
A long time ago, and not very far away (the north end of Lake Washington), I found myself with a toddler, a husband who travelled A LOT and the decision I had made to let full-time teaching go, and do full-time mom (and all auxiliary jobs) instead. I knew myself well enough to know that I could only be great at classroom teaching or mom-ing, but not both. I knew if I tried to do both one would suffer, and then the other would suffer too.
If I was going to leave my classroom behind, I wasn't going to quit teaching. No way. Can't even do that while I'm supposed to be on vacation.
|Yes, I'm the one in the white shirt|
holding the crab.
Yes, they are strangers.
Yes, I'm explaining.
One thing I really enjoyed as a kid was the sporadic garden we had, and thought it would be fun to do the same with my boy. For starters, I figured the best move was to go out and see a really big garden in action. Which was how I found The South 47 Farm, and the Farm Tots program. We started with raspberries,
And people wanted to know what to do with green tomatoes, and summer squash, and beets and pumpkins and kohlrabi and…. Well, you get the idea. And I would try tell them things too.
Amazingly enough, it is hard to take in new information when you have one kid wriggling under your arm, and another one doing this:
So I started out searching for a cookbook that these parent could go out, get their hands on and use to answer all their questions. One that focused on cooking in an ad hoc way from farm stands, and Farmers Markets, and even the dreaded, never delay-able weekly CSA (veggie) box. I never did find the right thing.
All the books assumed a certain comfort with cooking-in-general that many of these parents just did not have. And then, some of the books had odd recipes (celeriac with apples, mustard and mayonnaise? parsnips and miso?) that would not be appealing to toddlers or even adults taking baby steps into the world of new and strange vegetables. Or the books were gorgeous, enormous, coffee-table toppers full of 20-ingredient gourmet recipes.
And some books would spend a bunch of time stressing the importance of red celery, particular tomatoes, cheese pumpkins, and lots of other things the farm I was working on didn’t grow.
But all of that research left me with a head full of ideas and opinions. So I decided to drain my head a bit and start my own little (ulp) blog.
I figured if chives thrive on neglect, cutting and occasional repotting, I thought I’d try out a few other herbs.
|Let's see... oregano,|
marjoram, the chives again,
and, oops!, weeds.
|Over wintered parsley|
|Dill and some more oregano.|
Then I got all cocky and thought I’d start gardening.
I found a class for clueless gardeners at Dog Mountain Farm in Carnation with the amazing Cindy Krepky (also a fellow scientist!)
|photo - © Dog Mountain Farm, LLC|
All this researching and digging (and cooking and eating) left me with more to share. I kept learning, kept exploring, and kept writing. And most of all I kept letting the science teacher in me have free rein.
While all this was going on, I noticed some really interesting links to my blog – the question forum for ChefSteps (the online free courses supported by Modernist Cuisine) was referencing my entry on sous vide dry bean cookery. (And now its the top google hit when you type in "sous vide beans"). My sous vide yogurt testing and onion caramelization expanded on the basic info I found on SVKitchen. Wow! Way over here, back in my corner, I'm still getting to teach - if in a limited way. And then, I got an offer to take the pile of pages and ideas I was dithering with, and turn it into a cookbook.
|Yes, you two have TONS of personality, |
but you are terrible at holding up your end
of the conversation.
And there was so much more, and I was so busy enjoying myself, I didn't even come close to taking it all in.
I’m all about helping the home cook stop fearing the weekly pace of the CSA box, or passing by the adorably tempting baby turnips
|Not exactly adobo with coconut milk says the jury, but darn tasty all the same!|