Monday, February 27, 2012
Introduction to In the Kitchen with Arlen
On one of those perfectly breezy New York fall days, my father was enjoying a dish of baked ziti I had prepared for Sunday dinner. From his street-view seat, he noticed his neighbor walking by the house with his six year-old son, and asked that I call them in; I immediately added two more settings and served Joseph and his son.
“You know, Nathan,” my dad pronounced to the six year-old, who glanced up in between ambitious bites. “Food is love!”
Nathan smiled, swallowed, and responded: “Yes. I know that. My daddy says that, too.”
So I guess I wasn’t the only one with a father that has been singing the importance of food as nourishment for the heart as well as the stomach. Growing up in a home with parents who voiced that philosophy has given me the great desire—and satisfaction—of cooking for family and friends. Thankfully my father’s palate has always been one that welcomed new flavors (though yes, he does have his favorites—and will be the first to tell me when something doesn't make it to his top-picks' list!), which has also inspired me—along with having two kids and a husband, taking lots of trips, teaching students from around the world, and writing cookbooks—to continue the family tradition of shared Sunday dinners, and of trying new dishes from around the globe.
Now, as foodwriter, cooking teacher, and English as a second language teacher, my interest—while still on the food—is also on the stories behind the creators of these dishes. In New Rochelle alone, a historically diverse city of about 77,000, located just outside New York City, we’ve been witnessing (and savoring!) the birth of so many new chefs, restaurateurs, and their creations.
My goal with this blog is to bring you not only some of the dishes of chefs and home cooks, but also the tales behind the recipes and their creators.
Yes, food is love. Cooking for friends and family expresses this. Enjoying new tastes and tales can bring compassion and understanding—not to mention richness —to our repertoires, cooking and otherwise. Enjoy!