Latitude

I switched on the kitchen-aid mixer and creamed together butter and sugar. Its repetitive whirling song was a comforting melody recounting history. The juncture brought me to the earliest germ of this journey’s progression. Baking, in my childhood kitchen, and then again in my earliest professional endeavor, connects my past with forward motion. The taste…

Like Watercolor

After spending weeks studying European cuisine, we moved onto the heat of green and red curry and the cool taste of coconut milk.  We toasted masala blends and wrapped our hands around bamboo mats to curl rice, vegetables, and fish around shiny green nori tiles.  Our study of Asian food was broad and brief, but…

Passing By

While most people enjoyed wings and nachos, I sampled handmade fettuccini and mozzarella, swordfish rolled and stuffed with pine nuts and currants, poached sea bass with white wine, tomato and basil, caponata, and dozens of other southern Italian dishes. It wasn’t an ordinary menu for Super Bowl Sunday. The food was outstanding, so it is…

Layered

We finished our tour in France with Provence, Burgundy, and Lyonnais and then moved onto Italy. On my way home, my beef bourguignon was confiscated by TSA. The glazed pearl onions, sautéed mushrooms, and lardons decorated the container of stew like modern art. I parted with it begrudgingly. Many of the dishes of France were…

Little Hands

With the start of module three, came a new instructor, new team assignments and new stations. Having completed our lessons on fundamental techniques, we moved into an exploration of flavor learning the cuisines of countries around the world. We started with two regions in France, the foods varying based on the topography of the land,…

Weathered

Despite all that could have gone wrong this weekend, nothing did. Tiny white specks wafted leisurely at the car’s windshield as we drove to the airport. It was not until we had landed in New York that Richmond became slathered in depths of white snow. While en route to class in the morning, tiny floating…

Reflections

The approaching holiday brought with it frigid temperatures and crisp snowfall. My son and I waited for a taxi at the airport for hours with our toes chilled as lifeless as crumbling stones. I kept pulling out clothing from our suitcase to add onto him yet another layer. I longed for my father, who would…

Calculus

With a car load full of heirlooms and memories, we drove from my late parent’s house to the city in the early morning hours before class. Coffee was as critical as the muscles in my eyelids to keep them open. We pulled into the garage and after a brief walk, I was in the locker…

Thankfully Undefined

Thankfully, I shared time with my family in the chaos of a meal with kids squealing and the boon of fragrances drifting from the kitchen to opposite corners of the house. It was our first Thanksgiving absent three with whom to share it, and no matter how filled the table was with stuffing and pies,…

Abundance

I have a suitcase full of food – literally. Grilled, roasted and braised meats wrapped in foil sit adjacent to my folded sweatpants. Fortunately, airports don’t have a 3-1-1 rule for proteins the way they do for liquids. While others eat peanuts and pretzels on fold out trays, I have at my disposal ancho rubbed…

Cooking Cactus 

Have you ever looked curiously at cactus paddles at the grocery store and wondered how to prepare them?  These prickly green plants are exceptionally healthy to eat. To remove the spines, lay the cactus flat on a cutting board.  Place a clean towel in one hand to hold the pepper and your knife in the…

To the Letter

“Are you hearing me?  I’m just saying. Alright?  Okay,” Chef said repeatedly in a tough city accent as she winked at us. She is fiery, unapologetic, slightly outrageous, and very warm. We are her baby dolls. We are her students, and in her class it is okay to learn by both success and mistake. I…