Alright, this won’t come as a surprise, I love cooking and everything food-related. Especially, eating — plain and simple. While my mother was working her butt off to support our family, my father stayed home to hold down the fort. He grew chili peppers in the backyard and loved to make spicy, flavorful meals. These aromas from my dad’s kitchen will always stay with me — If I smell something familiar while walking down the street or eating out, it immediately transports me back to dinner with the fam. Dinner was the time that we could come together as a family, vent about our day and just be grateful we have each other.
Growing up, I always wished my parents passed down traditions that their ancestors passed down to them. My family’s origins reach from England to Lebanon to Italy to the Balkans, but I never felt truly connected to any of them early on. I’ll admit I was a little confused by my cultural identity. Looking back, I realize that dinnertime was our nightly tradition and one that I am happy to pass on.
Over time, food and travel have given me an introduction to a number of cultures. I’ve been lucky enough to travel and experience first hand how food is an integral part of every culture. It’s a language everyone speaks. Sharing a bomb meal brings us together, no matter where you’re from. It connects all of us; we all share the story of food.
Food without flavor is like a story without a plot. Pointless. Spices, aromatics and herbs are the main characters in the story of food. These ingredients are not only what enhance food to create something delicious, but these authentic flavors identify a culture or region: Mire poix (the mix of carrots, onions and celery) is a very French flavor profile that distinguishes their food. Onion, garlic, red bell pepper and tomato are used in Spanish sofrito as the foundation to many Spanish dishes. Ras al hanout is the Moroccan spice blend that may vary from family to family, but they all have similarities that distinguish them from many Mediterranean blends. And of course, not only do spices make healthy food delicious, but they’re healthy in themselves. Spices like ginger and turmeric impart not only bold flavors, but also anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. And you would be surprised at how many other spices have pro-health properties. Everyone wants to be healthy but let’s be real, who wants to eat steamed broccoli and kale chips every day? In the posts to follow, we’ll give you all the tips and new ideas you need to make your culinary arsenal one to be proud of. And whether it’s using modern techniques to add an instant spoonful of decadence to a dish, or using time-worn traditional methods, we hope you’ll follow along with us.