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Monday, March 21, 2011

The Beginning is the End is the Beginning.

Consider this my mission statement....

For the longest time I have considered myself a good cook.  People tend to like what I cook.  People tend to eat what I cook.  People tend to talk about what I cook.  I always found this to be the driving factor for my next dish.  Maybe if they liked the one before, I could "over the top" the next dish and they would talk about that one even longer.  After a while, I found out that my cooking was very limited.  I could churn out a mean stuffed manicotti.... wow.  I could barbeque chicken... amazing.  Then my wife and I (as "foodies") would go to these restaurants and eat fine dining and be absolutely blown away!  All of these new ingredients that you couldn't find at your local Wal-Mart!  Creative and inventive ways to turn a piece of chicken into a masterpiece!  Flavors that exploded and changed!  That's when I knew in the greater scheme of things I knew nothing.

But it turns out I had a pretty good "base".  My roux was in the light brown stage.  I still can't break down a whole chicken without it looking like something a car has hit.  I still burn meals.  I still used canned beans in my chili.  But I can also make risotto from memory.  I can make a mean braised chicken thigh dish that would put most restaurants in this town to shame.  And that chili is getting broken down and rethought every time I cook it.

The point is, I want more.  I want to band together with other foodies and share my experiences and experiments with the world.  I want to learn new techniques from people instead of from "The Joy of Cooking".  I want to create the food that I love to eat and share it with others.  Hopefully this will come.  Hopefully others will join me in my quest.  Over the next couple of months, I plan on getting back to my roots.  I grew up in a small town in south Alabama that conjures up visions of sitting on the porch shelling peas with my grandparents in the summertime and making homemade ice cream as a reward.  I want to get back to that.  I think it's absurd to pay five dollars for a bottle of dried herbs that have some unknown expiration date.  I pay good money for tomatoes and peppers that sit in the crisper and go bad and then go in the trash.  I want to know what its like to go into MY garden and pick MY peppers and MY tomatoes and MY herbs and make a fresh salsa.  I plan on planting my own backyard garden before Good Friday (because I've heard that's when farmers say the best time to plant is) so the building and planting will be chronicled over the next month or so.  I also plan on seeking out the local farmers and growers and creating dishes from truly fresh ingredients.  All of this and so much more!  Huge plans!

Other than that, if it's food, it's going up.  Local restaurants serving good food, great finds in beer (now that the gravity laws have been raised in Alabama!) and wine, how-to's, what not's and must haves.  I'm open for suggestions.  I'm open for criticism.  It's the only way to get better as a chef.  Challenge me.  I stared at the produce section this weekend for 10 minutes with a package of chicken thighs in hand, trying to come up with something new.  The end result was a braised chicken thigh with parsnips and green apple, wilted cabbage, and stone ground cheese grits!  It was delicious and totally crazy.  I'm just saying...

Thanks in advance and hopefully, we will all learn a little something from each other.

2 comments:

Rachal said...

Hey, I think it's entirely cool that you "broke down" and made a blog, especially a food blog! ^-^ I want to make a blog that's anonymous for the sole intent of being mean, or not. But seriously, this is pretty fantastic...I should tell you how I make my bbq sauce, and have you help me figure out why it's salty...then again, I can't give a recipe to anyone, I can tell people ingredients all day, but I never actually measure anything ^-^ Well, the page is added to my faves, just post a reminder on fb when you update it :)

Aaron Oeth said...

This is awesome and I think we're in the same boat. Culinary school is NOT in my future. Being an Air Force Cook is about as far as it will go. I love to cook and I love experimenting in the kitchen, but there comes a point where we all plateau. We simply can't get better without others. I make things a certain way and people seem to like it. You make things a certain way and from your pictures, I think I'd like it! I can't wait to comb through your blog and learn from you. Thanks for your honesty and for sharing.
-Aaron
ProAmKitchen.blogspot.com

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