As a child, I was quite a picky eater–like any other child. I didn’t like things I had never had and whenever my Mom made something like that, I resorted to having macaroni with cheese and plain yogurt with rice. They were my two favorite things because I love cheese, yogurt and starches. But I always loved cooking; or at least watching my parents cook and the TV. My dad and I would watch Yan Can Cook and Julia Child’s every Saturday morning after cartoons. I think that is where it all started, that and I was always hungry and wanting to eat.
Once I tried all the things I thought I didn’t like and actually DID like them, I found so many other flavors and dishes to fall in love with. The Food Network became one of my favorite things to watch and finding recipes became a new hobby. I think my mom let me make one dish besides boxed macaroni and cheese– Hashweh, Arabic stuffing. It’s rice with ground beef (or minced beef meat) and all kinds of spices, served with either plain yogurt or tomato cucumber salad. Though it’s not my favorite dish, it’s definitely a go-to comfort dish I cook because it reminds me so much of home. Oh! She also let me make rigatoni pasta with red, meat sauce and white sauce. White sauce was the delicious specialty sauce my mom made for certain pasta dishes. It was legendary among my family members and mainly made during special occasions (alongside 10 other dishes). Later on in life, I found out it was a bechamel sauce, with a few tweaks my mom made.
I’ve always been exposed to Indian, Philipino, Thai, Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Brazilian, and Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean cuisine due to growing up in the Bay Area, but I never attempted to make any of it. I didn’t really get into cooking and becoming a foodie until I got to college. I continued to look up recipes, but I started trying to actually make them. I got into baking, making sauces, sauteing veggies and meat and made many mistakes. But I still love it. I also got into trying even more new cuisines and new restaurants. Every time I tried something different, I felt like I connected with a different culture, with the chef who cooked the meal, and with the people around me sharing the meal.
That’s why I write about a lot of my cooking and eating experiences. Because cooking and food take me back home, take me to different cultures and countries, take me to my loved ones and good company. So enjoy!