My earliest cooking memories come from the weeknights when I could watch my father cutting vegetables on the kitchen counter. It’s funny that the strongest of my memories about my parents marriage all took place there, in that tiny box with the breakfast bar. It was there that I remember them embracing, there where I remember us all being at once. Kind of ironic, I guess. But I digress.
I would walk in, still being so small where the my eyes could barely peer over the kitchen counter, and watch my father work on the pastas and one-pot dishes that I would learn through both instruction and osmosis in the years to come. He would would share the tops of a green pepper while he continued working. I remember the smell of season salt, black pepper and the sizzling sound of heated oil. These were the images that would make up my concept of family, images that would follow me through a number of incarnations as I made the gradual journey from boy to man.
I remember very clearly the first time I went to the freezer and seeing that it was bare of easy heat-up items and Steak-Ums my mother would buy for me to ear afterschool, I dared to open a can of Nutri-System spaghetti and heat it up on my own. Small steps, people. Very small steps.
But then Pop help me make that linguini with scallops and clams with my mother and grandma on Mother’s Day. The next thing I knew I was throwing a dinner party while my mother was out of town and cooking fajitas for 20 during a cram session for the AP History exam. I cooked for Cipher, the seven person poetry group that co-founded in college, was part of the dynamic duo of myself and Big Rob J in Ford Factory (Rob even posted our menu for prospective guests). I cooked lobster and paella for my godparents, barbecued for a good 50 folks at a house party I was only supposed to be a guest at, and made it through a rather tumultous memorial day grillin in ’07 with a bum grill and a Park Slop kitchen that got way too hot too fast.
I am a cook, like my father and mother before me, and like their parents before them. And maybe now, as I have mastered on skill enough to make a living at it, and while I can’t afford to get a new camera for my first hobby, it is the culinary arts where I’m hoping to make my next stand.
So in honoring that commitment to myself I have decided that to cook one sinner party a month, small gathering mostly, events out of which I hope to add new weapons to my cooking arsenal. There will be meats, fish, vegetarian items, desserts and appetizers, all of which I will share with the world here, in this little space.
Today I’ve been cooking bones to make stock, the backbone of many an item. Who would have thought that boiling bones from lamps chops and chicken wings would result in the liquid ecstasy that take so many core items to the next leve;. After 45 minutes of boiling I poured my stock into the plastic containers and froze them for later use, the first being the dinner I’m making next weekend for my homeboy Jones and his lady. In honor their relatively new relationship, I’m titling it. The Tunnel of Love.
Here’s the menu:
Appetizer: Ground turkey brushed with chili oil and rolled in bluefish
Entree: Swordfish with a white wine risotto and grilled kale
Dessert: Whatever they decided to bring
Wine: Pinot Grigio or a Pinot Noir
I’ll give you the play by play closer to showtime. But this is just to let you know that we won’t be playing around here. If there’s enough of a following perhaps we’ll make a whole book of these. And then I can get on Food Network and start watching big-screen while I’m sitting on leather 🙂 So like they used to sing at New Macedonia communion “Welcome…Welcome…Welcome” Let’s make some meals to remember. Out