I was born into a family of devoted eaters. This devotion to eating led my mother to cooking – cooking dinner when she got home from work, making huge breakfasts on the weekends, laboring into the night to create French pastry just for fun. My mom’s appetite inspired her to leave the ‘50s convenience cooking of her youth behind, and transform herself into the queen of from-scratch, home made meals for us, her grateful family.
When I was a kid, I would make up excuses to get out of invitations to friends’ houses for dinner because I knew whatever my mom was making would taste better. I was well into my teens before I discovered potato buds, cookies from a tube or frosting in a can; and it wasn’t because my mom was a food snob – it was just because she wanted everything we ate to be as delicious as possible.
As she studied her double volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and served us Caesar salad, raspberry vinaigrette and flourless chocolate cake long before we saw them on restaurant menus, my mom taught us that eating well was a kind of luxury that anyone could experience with the proper combination of hunger, love and time. She was an intuitive cook, who frequently strayed from the written recipe, and when she died, she took the specifics with her. But she left us a passion for all things culinary, and a commitment to making everyone around us feel rich with the gift of good food.