The Six Recipes of My Life

January 17, 2014

The Protojournalist blog on recently ran an article asking readers to submit a playlist of the six songs that sum up their lives until now, along with an explanation of what each song signifies.  Some people's playlists may be featured in future posts, so I sent in my six songs (We Didn't Start the Fire, Billy Joel; Help!, the Beatles; It's Friday I'm in Love, the Cure; Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Greenday; I Will Follow You into the Dark, Death Cab for Cutie; and River of Dreams, Billy Joel again).  Although I doubt that my playlist or life story is interesting enough to get me featured, it was a fun writing exercise and it got me thinking about summing up my life to this point in recipes.

1. Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies* "Your mom," someone once told me, "makes a mean cookie."  For as long as I can remember, there have been homemade cookies in my mom's cookie jar.  Although peanut butter, oatmeal, sugar, and molasses made appearances, the standby was chocolate chip.  I will always be grateful that my mom passed her love of baking on to me and that she always let me eat a spoonful cookie dough despite the raw eggs it contained.  The best things in life come with a little risk.

2. Mom's Venison Stew A nod to my childhood in northern Minnesota, with a father who enjoyed hunting and a mother who had to come up with a multitude of ways to use the resulting venison--we were eating sustainable, local meat way ahead of the curve.  Plus, a warm bowl of venison stew is a perfect dinner on cold Minnesota winter day.

3. Pasta with Fresh Sauce The beginning of my foray into mostly-vegetarian cooking with fresh ingredients. This recipe marked a turning point when I realized that I could cook something delicious.

4. French-Style Bread I spent a year baking every recipe in Beard on Bread and blogging about the experience.  I learned a lot about baking bread, but perhaps even more importantly, I discovered how much I loved blogging about food.  The rest, as they say, is history.

5. Kale Chips Subscribing to a CSA has changed the way I cook and eat.  I make an imperfect effort to eat local produce (since I live in Minnesota, this is difficult to impossible for at least half the year).  My effort to try new types of produce have been more successful.  Our CSA has introduced me to kale, garlic scapes, poblano peppers, tomatillos, leeks, eggplant, and spaghetti squash, and gotten me to cook more with vegetables I was already familiar with, like zucchini, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, and butternut squash.

6. Ethiopian Yellow Split Pea Stew My cooking style has gotten more adventurous, with a increased willingness to try new ingredients, flavors, and techniques.  My proudest moments have been winning the Whole-Wheat Irish Soda Bread contest at Irish Fair, learning to make lefse, and cooking Ethiopian food.  I'm not sure where my culinary journey will take me, but I'm pretty sure it will be delicious.

What recipe "playlist" sums up your life up to now?

*Embarassingly, I have never posted a recipe for these, because my mom still makes my chocolate chip cookies for me.  Yes, I'm spoiled. (Edited September 10, 2014 to include a recipe link, after I finally got around to making a batch of cookies myself)


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