Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Market Vignettes

by Kathy Davis

In a world that supplies every kind of spice and sauce ready - made, I am truly aghast by how easy it is to make everything fresh, and from scratch. My pleasure knows no bounds while shopping for fresh herbs and produce in an open market. I attribute perusing at open - air markets in Paris the reason I learned to speak French so quickly.

Having arrived in Paris the day after high school graduation, I took to the metros and also walked no less than miles everyday with my seventeen year old feet! As I headed to any of the fourteen "go sees" a day for modeling jobs, I was spellbound by the markets and shoppers ordering the cornucopia of produce. Shopping for food enabled me to think in French,for there was no translating.

The panorama of the city streets of Paris during my modeling days, was like a cultural anthropological museum replete with side - walk cheese markets, butcheries, produce, bakeries and flower markets. What a sensory explosion just to shop for a meal! I was instantly smitten with all things culinary and in time became absolutely passionate about all things related in any form.

I treasure returning to this exploratory time while shopping,chopping, stirring and making magic with the gifts that our incredible Earth has to offer. The essence of who we are is that we desire "connection" and what better way to "connect" than beginning with a wonderful meal?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Remembering My Filipino Family

by Kathy Davis

It never occurred to me when I was a little girl that not everybody had people from all over the world as a part of their daily life. I was raised in a "global" family. Various family members were from any of the continents.

One of my uncles was Filipino/Swedish. His mother, who was Swedish, helped deliver me when I was born. My Swedish Filipino cousins were like sisters for me. I would have lengthy stays with my Filipino relatives and one of my coziest memories is of the chicken adobo wafting throughout their house. There was always a rice maker on the kitchen counter contributing to the aromas of lunch and dinner. There are fun and interesting memories of my time with my Filipino! kin. Upon entering their house we had to remove our shoes and leave them by the door.It would have been a cardinal sin to wear shoes in the home! Pork and chicken adobos,chilies and stir fried veggies were a mainstay. Everyone was very lean but I did not realize at the time that their healthy, delicious way of eating had anything to do with how lean they were.I felt joyful while staying with them for everyone wore sweet and slightly self contained smiles as they moved through their day.

My very favorite uncle for whom I was the fondest was named Uncle Gene.He was an orphan and a veteran from WW1. Bald and barely 5 ft. 2 inches, he delighted in making stinky feet toast for my cousins and me. Although the toast truly was foul smelling,it tasted delicious! Uncle Gene smiled with tolerance to our naughty giggles as we ate our stinky feet toast. He wore a smile even though his circumstances were tragic from WW1 but I could sense some sadness through his smile and kindness in spite of my having been four years old.

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To this day, when I cook adobo I feel utterly nostalgic for those days in my early childhood when the rice and adobo wafted throughout the air.Those memories make me feel at home inside of myself,no matter the kitchen in which I may be cooking at the time. 

I pray for the people in the Philippines who are suffering and those who have lost their lives in the typhoon.May their safety and healing be restored.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Embracing Autumn

by Kathy Davis

As November arrives in burnished colors, smoky scents and streams of chilled air, with it comes the anticipation of of things to be celebrated. My palette desires the pleasure of truffle season, (the season for chocolate truffles is year round ) Beaujolais Nouveau and Olio Novelli, the exquisite essence of first pressed olives. For me,the elixir of first pressed green olives permeating my taste buds is one of the most joyful of culinary experiences.I can almost ingest the olive oil as though it were fine wine.It can transform an ordinary tomato into one of the most delectable experiences.

It appears as though for myself and fellow Gourmonds that the pinnacles of culinary rapture are often inherited from the ancient world.

As in the sublime gifts of Mother Nature in Autumn,so as in people. While trees reign in their majesty of hues, people are often graced by the beauty of wisdom and altruistic love in the Autumn of their lives.
Life is cyclical in its seasons and there are all kinds of seasons for reverence and for celebration as foretold by The Bible. For me, Autumn is for celebration,giving and introspection before dormancy and rebirth. The gifts of Autumn give way to a dose of healthy hedonism and gratefulness for the many gifts that Mother Nature so abundantly provides.