I’ve never been one to simply eat to live. In fact, I like to say that I live to eat! I believe every day should have a special food holiday attached to it, but since March is National Nutrition Month, I could think of no better time than now to share my love of food with all of my readers. Cooking is how I decompress. The work I do as an attorney is very cerebral and requires great thought.
Cooking is my outlet when I need to shut that part of my brain off and just do something. Creating a meal or a dish requires thought and skill, but it’s also very creative, and once you master a few techniques, it can become second nature.
If I’m in a good cooking groove, I like to try something I’ve never made before. I comb through my cookbooks or ask Fred what he has a hankering for and craft something from there. Other times, I like to buy a protein or a veggie and see what kind of meal I can build around it. In that same way, I also really enjoy grocery shopping. I love picking out my ingredients and envisioning what each item will become and taste like once it’s cooked or baked. It’s like setting the stage. The finale is when it all comes together on the plate. That first bite is always a gamble, but it’s rare that I don’t enjoy food in all its types and forms.
I wouldn’t say I’m an adventurous cook, but I’m not afraid to try something new. For example, just this past new year, I took a playful spin on the tradition of eating black-eyed peas for good luck. I minced the peas with some mint, parsley, and cilantro, and then fried the batter into fritters. It was a completely different take on an old classic, and it was so fun to watch the concoction come together and turn into a great bite on my plate.
It’s funny how foods like black-eyed peas can become so ingrained in our habits and certain times of the year. For example, I always crave hot curry when I’m feeling sick. I like to say it can cure anything! I also have a few household staples that I indulge in whenever I can. I have a great salmon cake recipe that’s the perfect addition to a light lunch or salad. I even enjoy having salads for breakfast — it starts my day on a healthy note, so I don’t feel quite as bad when I have a day when I’m eating chips hand over fist by the afternoon — and I’ll often pop one of these salmon cakes on top for a bite of protein that tastes amazing, too.
To be completely honest, for as much as I enjoy them, I can’t even say those salmon cakes are my favorite food. In fact, I’m not sure I have a favorite! I enjoy Asian-style meals because of the diversity in the spices, but I also enjoy a classic American burger and fries. I would be just as satisfied with a meal of red wine with my tahini dip and vegetables as I would with a gourmet plate from a restaurant. We have a few local places we frequent, too. We always enjoy going to Peter Chang or the Amber Ox, where Fred gets his beer and I enjoy a classic burger with a dirty martini.
For me, food is medicine. Taking the time to thoughtfully curate it is self-care, and fueling our bodies with good, healthy food is just as important as enjoying a slice of pizza or some chips — if it makes us happy. Food is beautiful, and for that reason, I refuse to pick a side. I just love it all.