Someone asked me that question today. And instead of responding, I thought it worthy of a blog post for the answer is: I was born one!
- That’s me dipping chocolate with a German chocolatier who lived near us. Marzipan was a childhood treat!
- When I was little we (the little ones) cooked trays of baklava for special occasions and make hummus at home too (fresh lemons, garbanzos, some tahini, garlic. Blend it up. Done!)
- Eating fresh fruit from the downtown produce market was the highlight of summers, back before farmer’s markets dotted Los Angeles.
- The only time I was allowed to skip a day of high school was for a nearby demonstration by Julia Child.
- I was the star cooking student, making elaborate Julia Child cakes and tarts, until I was told that I was the star cooking student which embarrassed me no end; somehow that thought humiliated me. If only I’d known.
- When I went to Europe with my sister in college we’d raid the cheese shops and instead of eating out would hole up with logs of chevre rolled in ashes along with cheap baguettes.
- I’ll never forget the day I interviewed at one of the oldest chocolate shops in LA, where I ended up working for several years. They were like my family and I proved them wrong when they said I’d get sick of eating candy. That’s when I first learned how much I love connecting with customers and sharing good sweets.Years later I started making marshmallows at home, at parties, so easy and fun. (My mom reminded me that her grandmother had a candy store in Europe! In our family lineage.)
Update: My friends reminded me of even more examples!
- I attribute the discovery of ethylene as a ripening gas for fruit to my science fair project in which I isolated tomatoes from a jar of tomatoes and bananas. I didn’t win, but I revolutionized the fruit industry (just kidding).
- My MBA thesis was on consumer attitudes toward giving chocolate as gifts, which I hope to use this holiday season to help Foodzie’s great chocolate companies.
- I diverted a train voyage from France to Italy to pass through Lyon so I could visit Bernachon, where Robert Steinberg learned about chocolate making.
- Savored volunteering in the Cheese area of Slow Food Nation
- Helped Copia with cooking classes to test the waters as far as serving customers food
- And most importantly in 2008 I wrote the new Foodzie team an impassioned email about how I wanted to help in their efforts to find and work with the best American small food producers, which I loved doing for about 1 1/2 years as their Food Artisan Relations Manaer.
The funny thing is I’m not a foodie in the way that many people are. I don’t seek out the latest restaurants and the most exotic foods. My ideal meal is a chunk of cheese, some olive oil, bread, salt and pepper, fruit. Gruyere melted on german pumpernickel with tomatoes. An apple with blue cheese. And even prunes with walnuts! (Try it! Or if you comment I may just stuff some and dip them in dark chocolate for you merely for reading my silly ol blog.)
If you’re reading perhaps you too are a “foodie.” Did that come about gradually or like a bolt of lightening?