I learned some cooking while I was growing up. I took lessons at school, I started suppers for the family, and my parents and extended family really knew how to entertain. But really, it was as a young mom watching the early cooking shows that I got excited about being in the kitchen.
Watching those shows helped me make a shift from suppers of microwaved peas, roasted chicken, and rice. As my skills and confidence grew, I added formal cooking, baking, and decorating classes, then followed them up with courses in nutrition. I’ve taught cooking classes and catered, I write a monthly food column for a magazine, and last year I published a food journal.
I am immersed in food, but being surrounded by it comes with challenges, not the least of which is that I love to eat at any moment. It’s not always healthy stuff I’m after, but as an insulin dependent diabetic, I must think about every item I put in my mouth. I need to prep food and leave it in the fridge so it’s more convenient than sugary options I see everywhere, count carbohydrates, manage my schedule, and plan for emergencies.
Food is a part-time job for me, just as it is for the other diabetics in my family.
I’m often curious about food. I’m sure I’m not the only person who finds it strange that we need to label a “health food” section in the store. Or that an apple we buy today only has 20 percent of the nutrients of an apple 40 years ago.
There are a lot of confusing messages about food out there, too. Drink milk. Don’t drink milk. Don’t eat many eggs. Go ahead and eat eggs. Avoid gluten. Don’t eat carbs. Drink 8 glasses of water a day. Drink 16 glasses of water a day. Don’t eat sugar. Don’t eat sweeteners. Eat more fish. Eat chicken only if it is free range and organic. Eat butter. Don’t eat too much fish. Don’t eat butter. Don’t eat margarine…and the food shows, apps, and websites can just add to the confusion.
I’m happy to continue along as a student of all things food. My curiosity is why I love to speak with people who work in the food industry whether they are chefs, line cooks, nutritionists, dietitians, nurses, doctors…they all get grilled by me. I’ll continue to watch food tv and search the web to discover great new recipes. I’ll keep playing with food, and learning as I go.