Yesterday I was chatting with my friend an amazing and talented writer about the message I wanted to convey with my first book.
It got me thinking about the very many cookbooks I owned.
I have a huge collection and love flipping through the photos and recipes of so many talented chefs. Each one puts their own spin on very similar dishes. But one book stands out above all the others. It is the one my mom gave me on her last trip to the States.
It is her own hand written cookbook… a simple black journal that no longer has a spine. Its’ pages spill out everywhere and each page is stained with flour, oil, fingerprints and smudges from years and years of use…It contains most of my mom and my Aunty Slyvia’s favorite recipes.
Granted I cook with way less butter, sugar and flour than them. I have been strongly influenced by my travels around the world and my dishes have a lot more international influences…. But the basics were all learned at my mom’s side.
I never trained as a chef. In fact I studied to be an accountant and spent a lot of my working life auditing numbers. When I moved to the US I wanted to recreate the flavors of home. I would get my mom on the phone and have her talk me through the recipes. I would keep her on the phone while I cooked asking so many questions along the way. No wonder most of my salary was spent on my phone bill.
She used to always say… if you need a recipe you cannot cook. Taste, taste and taste again…. Your taste buds will tell you what the dish needs. There are no rules in the kitchen!!!
I like to think that I am encouraging Jade in the same way to find the chef inside herself. There are no mistakes to be made. And I hope my handwritten journal will become something she treasures.
I guess I realized that with my book I hope to inspire people to get into the kitchen with their families and make memories. I want them to use my recipes as a loose guideline by to put their own finger print on each dish…
I encourage my students to experiment and hope that when they leave my classes they will tweak and change my recipes. Leave out or add their own ingredients depending on their likes and what is in season.
I want to thank my mother…. The amazing Eleanor Rosalind Goodman for making me fall in love with food, cooking, entertaining and eating. I learned from the best.
I also owe so much to Saul and Jade for being my guinea pigs as I try new things. I don’t always get it right. Some dishes are total flops. They are my official tasters and have made my books better with their unwanted yet very justified criticism.
And to all of you around the world… thanks for the continued love and support. I am eternally grateful. I cannot wait to share my books with you soon.
Till then buon appetito
Xxxx Chef MM