I was battered and fried in the South, where cornbread rules and butter is a legitimate side item. I spent much of my childhood in the kitchen. When I was a baby, my mom would put me in a baby seat and set me on the kitchen counter while she was preparing dinner. While my friends were playing Barbies, I was tagging along with my mom learning to cook. At first, I was her sous chef: making desserts, cornbread, and sweet tea. By the time I was 12, I was making complete dinners.
While I love my down home soul food, even I can be a snob about what passes as “food.” Mashed potatoes do not come in a box, cornbread does not start as a mix in a pouch, and whipped cream is exactly what it says–cream that is whipped, not high fructose corn syrup squirted through a can. That said, macaroni (not from a blue box) made with Velveeta cheese is my ultimate comfort food.
During my college days, I always had the same answer when my mom asked me what I wanted for dinner when I went home, “a hunk of meat and a potato.” After endless meals of cold cereal and less than desirable cafeteria food, I craved sustenance, and nothing symbolizes that more than a hunk of protein and pile of carbs.
These days, I consider myself a flexitarian. After spending a summer researching the meat industry and then reading Michael Pollen’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, I realized that the current eating habits of Americans are unsustainable and largely inhumane. While I love a good steak as much as anybody, I don’t make a habit of eating them regularly. Instead, most of my meals are vegetarian, and most of the ones that are not have meat more as an ingredient rather than the central focus.
I recently graduated from Vanderbilt with an MBA and have been unable to find fulfilling work. During this period of self-deprecation and soul-searching, I decided to start a chronicle of my adventures in the kitchen, because hey, nobody else has thought of that. I might even serve up some of my sarcastic wit along the way.
Welcome to The Life of Spice.