When did you realize you were a foodie?

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Chef Extraordinaire
Aug 19, 2004
My mountain
when did you realize you were a foodie, that is to say when did you first remember loving food, and it's preparation? for me it was on sundays as a kid. sundays were for feasting...
When I was young, my best friend Gregg, who was a typical Italian American boy from North Jersey, and I would eat at each others house for dinner on the weekends. He loved to eat at my house on Saturdays, with my big Irish/Norwegian American family all around the table, each of us discussing the matters of the day and enjoying our "portions" of
the family dinner. It's not like we were starving, but my mother had usually made just enough to feed everyone, not much extra. Gregg would politely eat his meal, answer my father's questions with great respect, and shyly smile at my sisters (I only have 4 sisters, but it seemed like 12). Gregg would always show me up by asking for permission to leave the table, and clean up after himself and wash his plate. I never understood why he liked to eat at my house so much, but now thinking back, it is perfectly clear.
On Sundays, I got to eat at Gregg's. I had barely made it through the week on crumbs and water (only kidding, my mother would kill me), and with God's will, I had made it to Sunday. Sundays were for feasting. Just after church, I would race home, Gregg in tow, and change out of Sunday clothes and back into ones more suited for destruction.
We had about an hour to kill before the gates of heaven, or Gregg's Mom's kitchen, would spill forth with all of the bounty of the angels. Antipasti, salume, cheeses, breads, pickled stuff I still can't identify but ate with impunity, all for the taking.
Then homemade pastas, huge homemade ravioli the size of your head, and the Sunday gravy. Oh, the Sunday gravy. Pieces of pork ribs, sausages, veal, meatballs, and garden veggies all bubbling in a wine-infused tomato sauce. Yes, a wine/meat/veggie/tomato marinara was called gravy. Get over it. You didn't mind the burns on your fingers when
dipping buttered bread into the gravy, or the slaps upside your head. I couldn't believe people could eat like this; just how many relatives were coming over. 100! 200! I had reached nirvana and I wasn't leaving until I couldn't see my feet. It still didn't end there. Just when I thought I had set a new record for gluttony, and figured I'd better bring a pillow to the confessional, the desserts came out. Cannoli, cookies, chocolates, tiramisu, canneloni zabaglione, frutti di bosco,
tartufo, tortoni; OMG. These are my people. I was sure I was born into the wrong family. I love my family, but I was sure that this is why we are put on this earth. We were even allowed to try a sip of homemade wine or even grappa when Gregg's mom wasn't around. Wine, The Great Babysitter.
Every Sunday was like this; holidays even better. I would eat like there was no tomorrow. I would go home Sunday night with a giant belly and a bruised face. Italians have a way of nearly lifting a child off the ground by the cheek if he does something cute. All I did was eat. What was most amazing was this kind of behaviour was encouraged! Heck, it was like the son they always dreamed of had suddenly shown up.
Eventually, I realized that Gregg really didn't like to eat, but loved to just sit and enjoy good classical music and conversation. My parents loved him. In his house, the music was loud (usually something by Perry Como or Dean Martin) and the conversation was always about food. NOT eating was the sin. On Saturdays, my mom would say in her Brooklyn accent,"Why can't you be more like Gregg, he's so polite and machoowaa (mature)", and his mom the same about me the next day. We were perfect friends.
I lost contact with Gregg over the years, but I still remember our weekends. After writing this, I think I'll try to see if I can find him. Maybe he's going to his parents’ house this Sunday...
Ya making me hungry. How come I didn't marry Greg? Don't know if I can top your sotry, but will think on it.

I have loved food & the process of cooking since I was about 7 or 8. My mom & grandma had a lot to do with that. Also like Buckytom some of my greatest food memories come from my best friends mom. My best friend growing up was Saskia(her mom is Dutch & dad is Indian). Her mom made everything from scratch. We had croquetts(spelling?)that we would spread on bread & top with spicy brown mustard, fresh greenbeans that were tender-crisp with just a touch of nutmeg, these really thin cookies that Saskia's mom would split into & put a layer of real thick molasses(I can't remember what they are called now), choclate sandwiches(white bread with butter & Ducth chocolate sprinkles. My moms cooking paled in comparrison to these delights! But Saskia enjoyed eating at my house because my mom made Hamburger Helper & used convenience foods a lot. She wasn't used to things like that & loved it! I was not used to having the things her mom cooked & therefore loved that! Saskia & I grew apart also & I miss her greatly! When we graduated from high school Saskia majored in Cullinary Arts at one of our local Tech. schools. She could cook just as well as her mother! I kind of became a cross of my mother & Saskia's when it comes to cooking. Although I love to make things from scratch I also enjoy using convenience products.
Buckytom & crewsk, I love your stories!! reminded me of my far away friends :(
I never realized I was a foodie until 2 years ago when I started cooking & baking it myself, I learned to appreciate it so much! I learned to taste and think about everything that leads to that taste,texture,appearance..etc.. I use to take it for granted since my mom is a great cook, but when I moved far away from her :cry: That's when I realized how much I loved food !!
Can't possibly match buckytom's descriptive abilities, so here's my story:

It's a family joke that we can gather for a big holiday meal, stuff our faces, and then linger at the table, picking at the turkey (or whatever) carcass and talk about what we will have later as a snack, other great meals we've eaten / want to eat / should have eaten / etc.

My mother and sisters and I sometimes sit around the kitchen table, each with a different cookbook in hand, reading recipes aloud to each other that sound particularly good, which leads us to riff on other uses for a specific ingredient, what we had it in that was good, what else we ate at that meal, another way to use it...you get the picture.

It was sort of an epiphany for me to realize that this was not confined to my personal relatives. Chatting with all of you here has extended the family.
It started in my Grandmothers kitchen when I was about 4. She let me play in the flour on the kitchen table while she made Sunday Dinner. Oh my god. Good ole English cooking. Roast Beef with Yorshire Pudding,mased potaoes,gravy,"dried peas",roast turkey,stuffing,roasted carrots,pumpkin pie,and mince meat tarts.
I don't really remember how old I was, but I do remember that I would be sitting on telephone books so I could reach the table. My grandparents lived in NY and we used to visit them at least once a month, sometimes more. Every morning my grandpa would go out early in the morning and come back with bags or bagels, bialies (sp?) and onion rolls. Meanwhile grandma was in the kitchen slicing veggies and getting everything else ready. I would make these bagels with so much on them that my mouth would cramp up trying to open wide enough to shove it in. I would load it up with white fish salad, sable, Jarlsberg, lox (both nova and belly), onion, tomato, lettuce and probably a whole bunch of other things. I was never a breakfast person except for those mornings at my grandparents. I still dream of those mornings. We would sit at the breakfast table for hours and just talk and have fun. I think that was probably the beginning of my love affair with food.
From the time I was 3 or 4, and realized that the margarine - 'oleo' my mom used was vastly different than the butter grandma used on the farm! I swore then and there that there would never be margerine in my house!

I would spend summers on my grandparents' farm, and helped grandpa 'get' the chicken ready for Sunday dinner; help collect eggs and harvest the veggies. In the kitchen with grandma, I helped make butter, wonderful jams and jellies and breads.

When I was 5, my younger sister was born, and that year for my birthday I got one of those Betty Crocker 'play ovens' that really heated up - with the little cake mixes and pans - remember? Well, mom was in bed after coming home from the hospital with baby sister, and I decided I was going to cook dinner. It was right after Easter, and I always got baby 'peeps' (real ones) or a baby duck at Easter, then when they grew up, they went to the farm. Well, I decided to have chicken for dinner - mom came running out of the bedroom after hearing the frantic 'cheeps' from the baby chicken as I was trying to stuff it into a pan in my new little oven!
i think i've always been a foodie. by the time i was 7 i had a cookbook collection. at my Grandparent's on the one side of my family, i used to read thier cookbooks constantly, and at my other Grandma's, i used to dig through the cupboards and 'cook' when i was like four years old. i also used to have Grandma cook fried eggs for me, -i think i was maybe about 3 then- because it fascinated me to see the egg go from clear to white.
i didn't usually really eat the egg, though, just loved to see it being cooked. i learned how to bake very early on, and i knew how to temper chocolate at about 8 or so. going grocery shopping with my Dad on Sundays was one of my favorite things. my parents just kind of let me go in the kitchen after awhile. i think they just gave up. :D
My very first cook book was one I got from my Grand Mother over 40 years ago. I miss her a lot and I only new her for a short time before she died. She immigrated here with her family from England.
Ever since about '82 or '83, I've been "chunky". I got teased a bit in Junior High about having a "beer belly". I never really worried about it. I liked to eat. I had a reputation as being a kid who could eat a lot.

My mother has commented that the reason I have always been "chunky" is that when my Mom was growing up, it was her responsibility to cook for the family and farm hands, which included her parents, 5 brothers, 5 sisters, and I don't know how many farm hands. She didn't know how to cook for just a couple people, so she always made LOTS of food.

But, I never really remembered putting away a lot of food until my father retired from the US Navy and we moved back to OK and spent 6 months with my g'mother. She liked to cook, and she cooked "country food", and a lot of it. After then, I noticed I was getting a "beer belly".

When I was in my late teens/early twenties, I still hadn't moved out. But, I knew "the good life" was quickly drawing to a close, and that I was going to be out on my own, and I didn't know how to cook squat. So, I started buying a few cookbooks and tried to teach myself how to cook. And teach myself, I did. What NOT to cook, ROFL.

It wasn't until I did move out that I really started to pick things up and put 2 and 2 together when it came to cooking. My cooking started improving, in fits and spurts, but improved it did. After several years, I realized I had a flair for cooking, and liked to experiment with "odd" food, especially exotic foreign cuisines. Some folks I worked with told me I ought to go and get my Culinary Arts degree.

Well, I started attending college, and the rest is history. I've been seriously cooking for a living since '97. Been working in restaurants since I was 16, almost half my life now.
Bangbang said:
My very first cook book was one I got from my Grand Mother over 40 years ago. I miss her a lot and I only new her for a short time before she died. She immigrated here with her family from England.

Gram's cookbooks are the best. maybe cause they smell like childhood and Grandma? i'm not sure.
my very favorite is one at my Grandpa's. it's yellowed and crumbling but it was Grandma's and has her writing in it, and Pap uses it, so it's just the best one i know of. :)
I was about 7 when I realised different cultures had different food. My best friends mum was from Hong Kong (very rare for people from other countries to settle in Tasmania in the 1970's, still quite rare). She had kiwi fruit, preserved plums, stir fry (very exotic, main cooking method in Australian homes now!) and I loved eating there.

My mum started learning Japanese cuisine, and then ndonesian, and finally Lebanese. My dad had lived in Sri Lanka and used to make amazing curries.

I grew up being surrounded by good food. My grandmother made her own cakes and jams, and she taught me the basics. Food was always seasonal and fresh, and both my grandparents and my family had a vegetable garden.

I was cooking for the family by the time I was ten. I never saw it as a chore, it was a privelege and luckily for my dh I still feel the same!
mudbug said:
Ya making me hungry. How come I didn't marry Greg? Don't know if I can top your sotry, but will think on it.


GREG is probably not his real name. Italians give their children Italian names and the nuns in school change them. My brother is named Erminio which in Italy is a very classy name. The nuns wanted him to have an Americanized name so they called him Herman. Have you ever heard of an Italian named Herman? My mother was furious, but the nuns stuck to it and the name stuck to him.
I too come from Italian parents. My first memories of food was when I was a very young child. My mother came from a poor village in Italy so her cooking was peasant cooking. She made some of the best tasting stuff ever. Her chicken noodle soup was rich and wonderful, her risotto was something I never got tired of, she did things to vegetables that made them terrific, and on and on. I loved vegetables of all kinds and still do. I developed a passion for food and it never left me. I am now 64 and still love good food. No one EVER had to tell me to clean my plate and I still don't have to be told. LOL
One of the nicest compliments I ever received came from my future mother-on-law when I met her for the first time (eating Sunday dinner at her house): "You don't eat like a Yankee." Could that have been the moment?

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