Sunday, November 12, 2006

265,800 served

Many people have encouraged me over the years to write a cookbook, but in exploring the incredible food blogs out there like Obsession with Food, Amateur Gourmet, and Kitchen Chick, I was beginning to wonder "What am I doing here, writing my own food blog?". That is, until I started to calculate how many people I have cooked for. Discounting all the cooking I did before I left home (which believe me, was all very experimental!), I calculated that over the last 30 years I have served at least 265,800 people meals! Some chefs of small bistros and exclusive restaurants have probably not cooked as much. I have made croissants from scratch (never again, my kitchen looked like a cocaine dealer's, with white powder (flour) covering almost every surface), cooked meals of bison, goat and duckling, have cooked (and eaten) sweetbreads, and know how to cook fish that even non-fish-eaters will devour. I make eggrolls and steamed dumplings from scratch, and can cook (if you can call it that) sashimi. I can make French onion soup, South African Bobotie, Buss-up-shut (a flat bread) from Trinidad, great American hamburgers and the best damn eggnog you've ever tasted.

Maybe even more important than these accomplishments is that I have raised 6 children, one of whom himself has become a chef, who have a healthy and adventurous attitude toward food. All of them enjoy cooking and I count them among my first "play with food" converts. I have cooked countless meals of comfort food from meat loaf to macaroni and cheese that attracted not only my own kids but their friends, their coworkers, my coworkers, and countless neighbors and friends.

I know what I do well. I create a warm and welcoming atmosphere in my home, with food as a central player.
I use food as a celebration, as a way to share time and company with those close to my family. Actually, our friends have often said that we Dowds could make a party out of anything, and actually, I am proud of that.
Unlike most high-profile chefs, I have experience feeding a family of 8 on $50 a week (thank God those days are over!), can stretch a ham or a roast for 3 meals without making my children groan,and I can cook to suit a diabetic, someone on the Atkins diet, or a fussy toddler. Two hundred sixty five thousand eight hundred down and I'm looking forward to my next three or four hundred thousand.

I also know what I am not good at. My mom is a great pie crust maker, but unfortunately I didn't inherit that talent, so I give in to refrigerated dough. My Grandmother McKinney was an incredible bread baker, but my talents there are limited as well. I am a professional chef who just doesn't get paid with money. I get paid in smiles, and hugs, in handshakes, laughter and fellowship, and sometimes even compliments. that I think of it, maybe some of those other food bloggers should be worried.

1 comment:

rayvnniscool said...

We eat a lot!