This might be worse than trying to write a dating profile. How do I possibly convey any of myself in this intro?
Well, I am a thirty-something living in LA. I've left California for both the East Coast and Midwest, but California has always pulled me back. One of the big reasons why is that I truly believe Los Angeles is the best food city in the country. From staples like in-n-out, to thousands of tiny ethnic restaurants often run by immigrants (like La Cevicheria), to the modern places really changing the game (like Sqirl)--nowhere else in the country can compete.
I think LA helped me really discover and cultivate my love of food. Growing up, neither of my parents were incredibly intricate cooks. They took immense pride in making sure my siblings and I had enough on the table (because they did not have that luxury growing up), but they also did not have the time or energy to really explore with food.
Back then, I thought I hated all vegetables and refused to eat them. Looking back, I realize this is because the vegetables I knew were perpetually overcooked, flabby, and waterlogged. As an adult I had to learn to eat my vegetables, and in order to do that I had to learn about vegetables and how to treat them.
So instead of learning from my family, most of my food education really came from TV. Some of my earliest memories TV shows that absolutely drew me in were Rick Bayless' Mexico: One Plate at a Time and Ming Tsai's shows. Eventually, I became completely obsessed with Alton Brown, particularly Good Eats. I just really connected with the scientific way Alton thought about the food, and how he explained the reason for why we take certain steps when we cook. Along the same lines, America's Test Kitchen has also had a huge influence on me.
At the end of the day, I think what I love most about food is the way it can help people connect and can bring people together. Although I love to eat, and love the process of baking or cooking, there is no greater moment than seeing someone you care about enjoying something you put time and effort into. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I haven't always had the helthiest relationship with food.
I definitely have a very emotional connection to food, and often run to food for comfort. For my family, food was one of the ways to show love: from my parents making sure we had enough on the table, to aunts and grandparents gushing over you and almost force feeding you to make sure you weren't hungry. This great connection with food often conflicted with a very intense hatred for what I thought food meant to me--I hated how much I liked it because it was what made me fat and, in my eyes, less than.
I don't think a small kernel of that will ever go away, but I am sure as fuck trying. I know I am awesome, and my weight has no bearing on that. I now try to embrace my love of food and work towards having the healthiest relationship I can with it. So, join me as I cook, bake, and eat my way through life (and enjoy it as I do).
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