Seasons and Seasonings

I remember when friends of mine were taking college courses on anatomy and physiology (A & P). They would talk about feeling overwhelmed by all the muscle groups, anatomical structures, etc. I am sure that learning all the seasonings and spices and variations of them does not compare in complexity to what they were learning, however, by the time I was done reading the section on seasonings in Deborah Madison’s book I felt overwhelmed. I knew there were different kinds of salts, peppers, vinegars, and oils, etc. However, reading about each of them, the variety of herbs and spices, nuts, and the variety of ways in which one could make breadcrumbs and croutons and tortilla chips was making my head spin. Each piece of information I read was important for me to know. I learned about all the chemicals that are in food that I had never stopped to think about before, like bottled lemon and lime juices. I learned that the way in which some foods say they are produced could be misrepresentative, such as shelled nuts, which say they are roasted, but are really fried.
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Becoming a Cook

I have been cooking since I was a little girl. One of my earliest food memories was when I was probably three or four, perhaps younger. My mother would sit me on the kitchen floor or at the table with a pot of water and a spoon and tell me to stir. Over time, ingredients slowly were added to my repertoire as my mother’s sous chef (that is not what she called me at the time). I always loved baking with my mother. I was not so crazy about cooking with her; I developed my interest in cooking as a survival technique as she was not the best cook. However, I loved baking with her. I remember how meticulous she was. She had her dry measuring cups and her wet measuring cups and there was always a knife present as she prepared to bake one of her amazing creations like her lemon ricotta bobka cake or her rugelach. I still make her lemon ricotta bobka cake today and it still fills the house with the same aroma I remember as a child. Over the years, I have become increasingly comfortable in the kitchen.
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