The Butterfly Effect

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I was recently and brusquely tagged for a culinary meme by Sean at Hedonia. Normally I don't ever bother with these things, but I said to myself, "Oh, what the heck?" The meme was started by Dan, who tagged Tana, who tagged Ilva, who as I noted before tagged Sean. It's making it's rounds. Anyways, I was convinced by Dan's simple prose like challenge:

My thought in this meme is food items or events that changed your foodie life. Not some “oh, it’s the first time I didn’t put jelly on a peanut butter sandwich and used bananas instead” sort of change, unless you truly feel that affected you profoundly. That’s the key - it affected you profoundly, in some manner. A moment you can look back at and say “that was a defining moment”. The questions are simple, the answers might be harder - an item, person, event, or place that had that effect on you, and why. They don’t have to be big splashy things - sometimes it’s something very small and simple that changes the way we view the world - the famed “butterfly effect” (and I’m not talking about the Aston Kutcher movie). So, to those who want to participate, copy this and pass it on (and, if you’re so inclined, do a trackback to the originating post). Here are your 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

Some people are doing all these as 6 different posts, I however am lazy...

1) Honestly, I think one of the most influential ingredients I ever worked with was the cranberry. I heart these little guys. I was lucky enough to go to a farm in Washington and see how they're raised. After learning all there was to practically learn I started to cook with them non-stop. Cinnamon & Cranberry Biscotti, Cranberry Ginger Chuntney, and Spicy Cranberry Jam were just some creations I was inspired to cook and create. This tart and sweet little garnet gem did a lot for me.

2) A dish... hmm... my mom's flank steak. Hands down. No meal I have ever had ever matches the flavor *stops to clean drool off the keyboard* that this creates. I need to learn to kick that bastard still. It is the quintessential ideal of what food should be to me. Warm, welcoming, and effin' tasty as hell. I think this was the first culinary seed planted in me...

3) Poisson Cru I had in Nevis was a meal that showed me the true diversity that food can possess. The subtle layering of flavors, the innovation one can out into food. I had accidentally stumbled into this little outdoor cafe which had little more than a tiny fridge, a grill, and little else. Like ceviche, poisson cru cooks raw fish in citrus juice, but here floral and sticky coconut milk permeated the dish, and secretly little flecks of vanilla peeked out under spring onions, and slivers of kaffir lime leaves. Only the past 500 years of spice trade and history of Nevis could shape what this dish truly was. Art.

4) I honestly can't say any one work on food has really had a lot of impact on me yet. Sure I have enjoyed quite a few, but nothing defined me yet. Ooh, no wait... How to Eat Fried Worms. I dig that book. Oh, wait, a short story M.F.K. Fisher wrote. The name escapes me, but I saw it as the very first quality piece of writing I had ever seen. I immediately after picked up and devoured every single work of hers. Tasty reads, and in part, an inspiration for this here blog.

5) MFK Fisher, you know why. But all the Iron Chefs (minus Bobby Flay and his man-tits and tight shirts). Cora, Sakai, Batali, and Morimoto in particular. They just inspire me every week to go at the whole kitchen alchemy every time.

6) *Sigh* Mom and grandma. Making chocolate chip cookies and snow ice cream in the kitchen. That was where everything started.

Yeah, my descriptions ain't all purty-like, but this ain't that kind-o-blog. There it is, and as tradition states I must tag others like Liz from Good Stuff, Robby from The Girl Who Ate Everything, Joy The Restaurant Whore, Elise of Simply Recipes, Cate from Sweetnicks, and Andrea of Rookie Cookery are now so tagged. Update 8/6/06: Also, Willa from Sorry Fugu!

Now go, reader, go and reflect!


  1. First, I love that you included me in the tag--thanks!
    Second: Puh-LEEZE tell me the recipe for Spicy Cranberry Jam!

    I really enjoyed your writing in your own answers to the meme. Ok now I gotta start thinking about mine....

  2. Thanks for the tag (and the link) Garrett! And I second Andrea on thee spicey cranberry jam recipe- post that puppy!

    Guess I have some writing to do now :D

  3. It's always the grandmother and the mother, isn't it? I haven't gotten that deep into my meme yet, but odds are very good it will be one or both of them for me, too.

  4. Andrea and Liz - I e-mailed it, but it's posted now too.
    Sean - Yeah it does, though my mom's steamed squash ruined the vegetable for me forever, haha. I still can't do green and yellow squash. They make me gag.

  5. Cool meme!...but I'm afraid I can't really do it. I'm jealous of everyone who can though. :\ The mom/grandma thing doesn't mean much in my case (no one "food" person sticks out in my life), nor any dish or meal or ...uh...see where this is going? It's pretty sad, actually. Maybe I can write an entry about not being able to fill out the meme, haha. ;P

  6. I love cranberries you like the dried ones?? I ate a whole bag of them each day when I was pregnant.


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