The categories are selected for me, and the descriptions alongside describe my choice for the category, and how that choice has profoundly affected my life. If you don’t understand, you will in a moment. Here are the categories:
1. An ingredient
2. A dish, a recipe
3. A meal (in a restaurant, a home, or elsewhere)
4. A cookbook or other written work
5. A food “personality” (chef, writer, etc.)
6. Another person in your life
1. An Ingredient: I’m on the first topic and already I can see how difficult this is going to be. How can a single, humble ingredient define my life?
I’m selecting the humble Aubergine. It was possibly my first early holidays to the Greek islands that inspired me about good food. From simple Aubergine dips made with mayonnaise, to Aubergines stuffed with minced lamb, this is probably the first ingredient I really got excited about.
Possibly it was that my Mother never used one throughout my entire childhood; this was one of the exotic looking vegetables sitting on the rack in the supermarket that I had never sampled.
2. A dish, a recipe: One of the most simple dishes to cook was also one of the first ones that caught my eye – the simple Moroccan Lamb Tagine (which I ate at the excellent Meltons restaurant in York, many moons ago). This was delicious one pot cooking, and a great entry point into a lifetime of food love.
3. A meal: I’m skipping this one. Sorry to the originator of the meme, but a dish/recipe and a meal are the same thing in my eyes, at least as far as inspiration is concerned.
4. A cookbook: While it’s not all that old, the book that changed my idea of exactly what constitutes good food was probably the first book by Jamie Oliver – Naked Chef. Previously I believed that to be good, recipes had to be complex. This introduced me and a whole nation to comfort food and simplicity.
5. A food “personality”: Without a doubt, this is Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. Without watching his first series of The River Cottage, I would have not established my love of both wild food and seasonal produce. To this day, I still buy all his new books and read them eagerly, learning new things each time. Incidentally, his new book “Hugh Fearlessly Eats It All” is out now.
6. Another person in your life: But of course, I must choose my wife. While my interest in food was already well established by the time I met this lady, I hadn’t realised the delights that Polish food could offer. Such varied cuisine such as Barszcz, Bigos, Sernik and more were waiting just around the corner for me, and I hadn’t even known that they were there.
My Wife also introduced me to the joys of picking your own mushrooms, which works perfectly with my love for wild food (as readers of this site will know about).
As is customary, I should now tag another 5 people to complete this same meme. I feel I should point out to anyone who is tagged however, that there is no pressure to do this – either do or don’t, I wont be offended. Here are my tags (based on other Foodblogs I read and enjoy)…