The what, and the why

So, if you have looked at my past posts, you will probably have the impression that food is a pretty big part of my life. That would not be an incorrect assumption on your part. I am human, and therefore eating is one of our more basic needs. Of course, that kind of oversimplifies things a bit. So, let’s go back a bit…

The year is 1977. I am four years old. Doing what most four-year olds do, absorbing the world. TV is of course a huge part of the world for all of us. This is before cable, and Food TV, and soccer, and school, and girls, and cars, and all of the other things that the world has to offer a growing boy. One afternoon, I am watching Channel 9 (our local PBS station), and who should appear? Julia Child! She was passionate about food, and that caught my attention. Around that same time, mom was probably in the kitchen making dinner for our family. It was around this time that I remember telling my mom that I wanted to go to Le Cordon Bleu, obviously I had no idea what it actually was, or what would actually be required. I knew Julia went, and I wanted to go too.

Around this same time, the local paper ran a series that was designed to get kids interested in cooking. Obviously, I was in! Every Wednesday the paper ran a recipe, and a story. I ended up baking a loaf of whole wheat bread, making butter (and a huge mess, because I didn’t know when to stop with the mixer.), and flan. I’m sure there was more. After that time I basically continued cooking when I could, and often made dinner for our family.

When I was 14 I got my first job, at a local BBQ restaurant. I washed dishes and bussed tables. It was a nasty job, and hard work, but at the end of each week I got a paycheck. It wasn’t much, but what did I need at 14?

After I graduated from college, in 1996, I had plans to continue my education at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences. Things happened, and my plans were changed. I ended up finding the Food Network, and exploring food more deeply. I also started working at a music store, selling guitars, and basses. I also started thinking about cooking for a living, and actually going to culinary school. I was given a copy of the “The Professional Chef” for my birthday, and while drinking tried to figure out why I needed 40 pounds of mashed potatoes. I was probably a bit drunk. In 2004, I got laid off from the music store, which was probably one of the best things that could have happened. Later that year I started working for a major catering company, and before long I was working as a cook in one of their locations.

I started washing dishes, and doing anything I could to learn whatever I could get someone to show me. The Sous Chef saw that I had an interest, and was willing to learn and work, and talked to the chef. Eventually I ended up working the Pantry station. That is the cold food station. I learned to make dressings, and all of the basic things that I needed to know to work in a kitchen.

After some baffling health issues, I decided to try a gluten-free diet. My sister was diagnosed with Celiac, a disease which causes an immune response when gluten and similar proteins are consumed. This means that wheat, rye, and barley must be eliminated from the diet. This is not as easy it sounds. Gluten can be found in all kinds of prepared foods. Very often when I run across items at the grocery store I find myself wondering why it needs to be there. I’m not a food manufacturer, so I don’t know.

Which brings us to what I am doing with this. My idea is to present some basic cooking ideas. If you are gluten-free, great, and if not, that is fine too. Any recipe I have will be gluten-free. I’m going to work on modifying things that would normally be out of a gluten-free diet, and we’ll see what I can come up with. Since I have been cooking professionally for the last 5 years I may have some insights and tricks that may be useful to all of us. My home kitchen is 100% gluten-free, now that I have given my mom a couple of frozen pizzas that have been sitting in the freezer for the last 8 months! I will pretty much try anything once, and hope you will too. I’ll let you know what is on the menu as I come up with it. For now, eat something, would you?

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2 responses

  1. Michelle Hedges

    I like your story. The cooking part is very similar to my husband’s. Have you found relief with your gluten free diet?

    April 11, 2010 at 10:42 pm

  2. thepantryraider

    I feel so much better than I did. Its hard to believe. There are times when I really do miss being able to just grab something and eat it. There are consequences, and I know them, and do not want them.

    April 11, 2010 at 10:48 pm

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