Saturday, 10 February 2007

A little introduction...

Posted by Bonita

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

For years, I’ve seen the above quotation at the beginning of Iron Chef (the original Iron Chef that is!). There is also that cunning saying, “You are what you eat.” Food has always been a huge part of my life. Who am I kidding? Food IS my life. And what better way to indulge in food than by sharing it with others?

But first, a little about myself for those of you who don’t already know me! I’m 20, and I’m currently an university student studying English Literature in good old Southwestern Ontario. While I do harbour a love for literature, I also have a deep passion for food. Sometimes I can’t seem to get my mind off it: I can’t stop at a bookstore without browsing through the cooking section, I’m constantly on the web surfing for new recipes and I’ve caught myself on several occasions drifting off during lectures as I planned my weekly dinner menu.

Don’t get me wrong…I have indulged once or twice in the ever-so-popular college dish of KD (with hot dogs!), and sometimes find myself packing a peanut butter and honey sandwich (I can’t stand PB&J!) to school. However, being a student who really doesn’t have a huge budget to work nor a lot of time has never stopped me from my culinary adventures in the kitchen. Cooking and baking is not only a way of life for me, it’s an escape from my real life. For that one hour or so where I’m in the kitchen, I can forget about books, readings, papers, marks, the stress of school, and just focus all my energy on producing a delicious dish. People have often asked me why I love baking and cooking so much, and I tell them it’s a form of therapy for me. Some people pay $200/hour to have a certified doctor listen to the drama of their lives; I bake. What makes cooking/baking so therapeutic for me is that you always have an acknowledged target in the end. I know that at the end of it all, after all the hard work and effort I put into it, I’ll have something delicious waiting for me; I could spend weeks on a paper, have it all printed it and ready to hand in, and still have it be a piece of crap, never quite satisfying my need for perfection.

I believe I have my mother to thank for all this. My mother, like most mothers, is an AMAZING cook, and thus it is no surprise that I grew up in an environment where food was appreciated. My parents always encouraged my brother and I to try new foods at least once, and I thank them for that. Sure, as kids, we may have found some of the foods that we did try “weird” (and I always make the claim nowadays that I’m pretty much used to “weird” food because of my Chinese heritage). But trying all different kinds of foods also allowed us to broaden our palette and to be introduced to new and different things. It also allowed us to not be afraid of food and thus, be adventurous, daring and experimental as we grew older.

I think my love for food has strong connections to my Chinese heritage as well. Like many cultures around the world, food also plays a dominant role in Chinese culture. Food is seen as a way of harmonizing and bringing together a household and a family, and China’s own culinary history is extremely rich and complex. To grow up in such a culture certainly helps fuel one’s love and appreciation for food, especially in a food culture that features hundreds of different dishes and dozens of different regional cuisines.

Thus my reason for starting up this food blog with my brother, Andrew. It’s a chance for us to share our own love and appreciation of food with others, whether it’s inside the kitchen or not. We are both lucky to have been nurtured by parents who love and enjoy food, and a mother who loves to cook. Cooking for me is not only a way to experiment with new recipes and to treat myself to something delicious to eat; it’s a form of expression for me as well. While I enjoy tasting my own creations, nothing leaves me more satisfied than cooking for others. This blog will also allow me to be closer with my brother, who’s now a working man in the middle of nowhere. I don’t get to see him very often nowadays, nor talk to him as much, but it hasn’t diminished our mutual love for food. I always find that when we do talk to each other, we’re sharing our cooking experiments, recipes, cool finds from the market/grocery store and new restaurants we’ve tried/dying to try.

As for the title “Forks & Chopsticks”, it refers to a couple of things that are personal to us. The Chopsticks element refers to our Chinese heritage; we grew up using chopsticks, and no matter what, it will always be synonymous to food for us. Secondly, the element of forks and chopsticks represents two vastly different eating utensils: the fork is a Western invention, while the chopstick is an Eastern one. This dichotomy represents our own philosophy when it comes to food. We both enjoy Western cuisine and Eastern cuisine; what’s even great is when we get experimental and try Fusion cuisine. And that, my friends, is the story behind “Forks & Chopsticks”…

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