Foodiebia = Foodie + Suburbia. NYC made me appreciate food in a new way, but moving to suburbia made me realize that in order to eat well, I needed to get into the kitchen.
Growing up my mom always used the word "foodie" to describe me and my dad. This was before the word developed a stigma. Before people who really liked food wouldn't ever use the word to describe themselves. Before it was a word only deemed acceptable to the wannabes. Well, I've been called a "foodie" for 20-something years now, and I'm stickin' with it.
As for the rest of my blog name (the suburbia part), that's a longer story. First of all, my name is Kathy and I live in Mountain View, California with my husband, John. But before I get to California, I will start at the beginning.
I grew up in Virginia and ate dinners at home with my family every night. Even then, family dinners were a rarity that few families on the block participated in like my family did (it was a requirement in my house), and I think now family dinners are even less common. I think it shaped the way I felt about food and what I liked to eat. We ate "normal" family food most of the time, but we also got homemade pasta, fresh tomato sauce, risotto, tuna cakes, and beef bourguignon. So I guess that's not your average family dinner fare.
Growing up in Virginia Beach I never considered myself Southern,, until I left The South. I went to college and grad school at UVA (which makes me a "double Hoo" to those in the know), which is further north than Virginia Beach, but much further south if you've ever visited. It was there that I fell in love with barbecue (the pulled pork variety, preferably made with a sweet sauce) from Big Jim's. Big Jim's catered every event that went on at UVA in undergrad and law school, as far as I can tell. Whenever I see pulled pork on a menu I always order it, and I'm always searching for Big Jim's. I developed a taste for sweet tea one summer and haven't looked back since. I didn't even realize it was "Southern" until I moved places where you couldn't buy it in restaurants. Frankly, they usually look at you funny if you even ask for sweet tea. No, I'm sorry, but "We have sugar" doesn't quite cut it.
After law school I moved to the Big Apple and got married. New York and I got on quite well, particularly the New York restaurant scene and I. It wasn't just the restaurants that enchanted me, the sweet and crunchy Nuts 4 Nuts and the soft cider doughnuts were staples in my life too. At the same time I was feasting at Tabla, Union Square Cafe, and Buddhakan, I also starting finding myself in the kitchen a bit more. New York is the king of takeout food with its delivery boys screaming by on bikes laden with plastic bags. I had my fair share of takeout dinners (pad thai with chicken, please), but after awhile you crave something homemade.
I started reading about food. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and In Defense of Food really changed the way I looked at what I ate. I've read IDoF at least three times now, which I admit is becoming borderline obsessive. A farmers market was perched on my way to work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Soon I became a loyal customer of apples, peaches, corn, and kale (well, and cider doughnuts). Then, on the weekends I started visiting the Union Square Farmers Market with a new-found diligence. We joined a fruit-only CSA and I became inundated with blueberries, plums, and cherries.
Our kitchen was tiny, as every good New York kitchen is, and I mostly just used it to roast vegetables. I usually ate hem at 9:00 PM, after a trip to the gym, while watching Biggest Loser, and waiting for John to come home from the grind. I perfected an apple crisp recipe, which is a good thing, since apples are prevalent in the Big Apple. I learned how to make BLT pasta and balsamic chicken. I invited friends over for dinner and we'd have pasta primavera. I was finding my way in the kitchen, but I was really finding myself at tables in New York. I began to stalk reservations with new veracity, calling 30 days on the nose to make New Year's Eve reservations. I would take an hour train ride to reach Levain Bakery so I could bring cookies as gifts when I visited friends. Many of the pleasures in my life began to revolve around food, and there was no turning back.
So why did we leave the food capitol of America (don't fight me on this one, people)? Well, remember when I said I was eating dinner alone at 9:00 PM while John was at work (and likely eating Chipotle night after night)? Well, New York will do that to you. When John got the job at Google, we grabbed our car from it's $485/month parking spot, pushed Maddie in, and hit the road for California.
I was taken aback by the perfect weather, the ease in which I adapted to shopping via car instead of via foot, and the fact that we could not get food delivered for all the money in the world. "Wait, there is no Seamless Web? And if there is it would show that the only two places that deliver to my address are Round Table Pizza and Amici's Pizza?" It was a bit of an adjustment. Luckily, I'd been dabbling in the kitchen for the past year or so, and now I just needed to figure out how to do more than make sweet potato hash browns, since John doesn't eat sweet potatoes and he was actually home for dinner. I started cooking dinner because I had no choice (and no job, mind you), and soon it became a passion. A turning point for me occurred the day I took and passed the Patent Bar. What did I want to do to celebrate? I immediately rushed to the grocery store, purchased the ingredients, and went home to make mac and cheese for the first time. Taking my first bite into that creamy and rich dinner, I realized that the only way to satisfy my cravings for the food from New York was to make it myself.
Now I spend lots of my free time in the kitchen. The rest of my free time is spent walking on the beach with Harper (our Australian Labradoodle), watching movies with John, blogging/reading food blogs, and scouring farmers markets every chance I get. Shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions. Otherwise, I'm back to the kitchen...