drunk on food

I love food. I don't mean that I'm one of those people who loves to eat whatever is in front of me. I mean, I love good food. Really beautiful, colorful, healthful, delicious food.

One time I told Abby (my roommate, not my alternate personality) that when I'm eating a really exceptional meal, I feel a little drunk. And that's not a good meal with a good glass of wine — that's just straight up incredible food all by itself. I know that sounds strange, but do you know what I mean?

When you bite into a perfect strawberry?

When you have an irresistible combination of grain and seasonal vegetables?

When your steak is impeccably cooked on the outside and just the right pink on the inside?

When you've spiced everything to excellence?

That kind of drunkenness. The first bite of something perfect. If you still don't understand, watch Ratatouille, or Julie & Julia, or better yet, read Julia Child's memoir, My Life in France. These are people (and in one case, a rat) who are in love with food.

I haven't always been in love with food. I used to avoid it, be afraid of it, manipulate it. I think this love affair has begun rather recently. This has much to do with Abby, my dear friend, and roommate since September. Abby is a pretty wonderful cook. I know because she feeds me a lot. Once I got in a terrible car accident and she brought me home lots of groceries and whipped up something wonderful. I don't even remember what it was, but it was good. I do also remember that she told me if I ate all my dinner, she'd give me a lovely fruit tart that she had bought.

What a good friend. Even on the nights when I haven't gotten in a terrible car accident, she still feeds me.

And we learn from each other's ideas and experiments. Dave is a little afraid of what I've learned, I think, because Abby rarely eats meat (except for fish).  The other night she tricked me into going to a vegan restaurant in Seattle that she'd been wanting to try for a while. Sometimes she sneaks tofu into what she makes for me, knowing I'm not particularly fond of it.

Dave, don't worry. I love you too much to not make plenty of meat when we get married.

Anyway. Back to mutual learning in the kitchen. We've been cooking with things that sound ultra healthy and snooty, but they're really delicious and good for you. things like:

kale

swiss chard

quinoa

tuna

garbanzo beans

greek yogurt

lentils

broccoli

And lots more. But those are what I can think of off the top of my head. And I think we've discovered a few "secrets," that aren't really secrets at all, but that I've been happy to discover (and of course I owe my mom for most of what I know, so I didn't really make these discoveries on my own). The secret is, there are a few things that make everything (literally, everything) better. Want to know what they are?

lemon

lemon pepper

olive oil

garlic

sea salt

Bam. Done. So delicious. I still have a LOT to learn as far as food and cooking are concerned, but I'm loving what I've learned and have practiced so far. And what makes it so fun is that you can always keep learning and discovering new things about food — there's no end to it.

In that same vein of making everything delicious, the other day I was in a debate with some friends about what kinds of food bacon doesn't go with. It wasn't really a debate, because we quickly realized that there's almost nothing bacon doesn't go with. Think about it.

bacon + chocolate = delicious

bacon + cheese = delicious

bacon + any vegetable = delicious

bacon + fruit = probably pretty good

bacon + ice cream = depends on the ice cream, but probably pretty good

bacon + beer = its a Northwest thing. and apparently it's good.

But that's beside the point. What I meant end this blog with is to say that as I've typed this, I've eaten (please imagine me saying this in Julia Child's voice) a lovely concoction of orzo, grape tomatoes, and asparagus, drizzled with olive oil, garlic, lemon, and salt/pepper, all next to a heavenly piece of salmon, pan-fried in olive oil and also soaked in lemon juice and lemon pepper. And with the first bite, I felt a little drunk (but no alcohol involved tonight), and I think that's where the inspiration for this blog has sprung.

And also, I've been listening to the Carla Bruni station on Pandora, which is delightful, and quite a good companion for cooking and eating.

Bon appetit, mes amis.