Me and my fresh mouth

Me and mom, circa 1962. I learned from a master.I’m an adventurous, opinionated, self-taught home cook who’s lucky enough to live in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Our growing season may not be long, but the bounty and variety of fresh, locally grown foods is unsurpassed. From April through November, I shop the local farmers’ markets and farm stands; the rest of the year, I make use of a big old freezer to extend the pleasure – and, as of winter 2009, a great new online source for locally grown food. Add proximity to the Pacific Ocean for things like wild Coho salmon and Dungeness crab, wild mushrooms free for the picking from the slopes of the Oregon Coast Range and Cascades, a growing number of local sources for organically reared beef, lamb and poultry, a smattering of terrific boutique cheese- and sausage-makers, and it’s like living in a little corner of foodie heaven.

I love eating, I love cooking and I love feeding my friends. I believe good food is one of life’s great sensory and social pleasures, and regret that our culture has burdened the whole question of food and eating with so many “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts.” Yes, I adore fresh produce, and at the height of the harvest season my cooking often approaches vegetarian because the fruits and vegetables I can buy (or occasionally grow) here are just so good. But I also love bacon and butter and cream and chocolate and wine and liquor and spices of all sorts. To my mind, food is not poison, nor is it medicine. It’s food, and it’s all good.

In the summer of 2009, I lost my sense of smell, probably due to a protracted sinus infection and overuse of nasal spray (let this be a warning). It’s been a real struggle to adjust to being unable to smell – and thus taste – many of the things that make food a joy for me. Thanks to acupuncture, it seems that my olfactory nerves are starting to wake up again, but it’s a slow process, and one that’s made cooking and eating a challenge.

My approach to cooking is casual and improvisational. When I post a recipe, I’ll endeavor to write it as clearly and specifically as I can, but don’t be surprised to see measurements expressed in handfuls of this and dollops of that if the quantities aren’t critical.

If you can live with that, pull a stool up to the counter and join in. If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Nip it in the bud  |  October 18, 2009 at 5:15 am

    Hi Pat, I came across your blogs via your Flickr site. Looks like we have a lot in common with our passion for crafting and cooking and how funny that you’re the first person I’ve come across who chose the same WordPress theme as me.
    cheerio and see you again, Nic

    Reply

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