Sunday, September 19, 2010

Project Food Blog: Challenge #1 Welcome to my Blog!

Welcome to Carla's Tasty Treats... Here, sit down at the table. Are you hungry? Maybe just a little slice? Ok, I'll get you a plate while you listen.

Like so many of my fellow food bloggers I grew up with an appreciation for food, then again with an Italian family I think it would be impossible not to! From a home cooked dinner every night to a feast with my aunts, uncles, and cousins on Sundays, every gathering, happy or sad was punctuated by the savory aroma of a pork roast in the oven or fresh tomato sauce simmering all afternoon. One of my earliest memories is of being home sick from school with the smell of pastina soup with egg in it cooking on the stove at Nana's house. Holidays were filled with the smells of delicately anise flavored pizzelles (until I was old enough to taste Sambuca, ewww!) But as I got older, like so many others teenagers I wanted my own life -  I couldn't wait to escape from a home-cooked Sunday dinner and head to a cheap fast food restaurants with my friends.

Those teenage years didn't last forever though and soon I was out of college and living on my own. While my friends and roommates were living on Ramen Noodles and boxed Mac'n'Cheese (generally eaten while sitting around the television) I realized it just didn't feel right. So I began to cook meals for our "family" just like my mother had done for me a child. Though she always worked, dinner was at 5:15 sharp and the TV would be turned off for an hour of catching up on each others day. I started simply with recipes passed down to me and then moved on to recreating favorite meals using fresh ingredients while being comforted by the idea of having a family meal with my friends. Even if I was making macaroni and cheese using a stick of butter and a pound of cheese it had to be good for you if it was homemade, right? My tastes may have changed since those original dinners but my love for good ingredients has only grown.

But this blog isn't about repeating the past, it is about taking the lessons that our parents and grandparents taught us and reinventing them for our generation. One of the greatest misconceptions of the modern advertising age is that healthy cooking is hard, difficult, and too time consuming. It just isn't true - some of the simplest dishes are the best! All of my meals come from the heart and yes at times that does take extra prep but when you love doing something it really isn't work. So many friends tell me that cooking is too expensive and takes too much time and they don't even know where to start! Of course, creating a six course dinner of the finest French food isn't going to be as easy as ordering an $10 pizza, but with some thought and planning, cooking a great meal from scratch won’t take much more time or money than heating up a lasagna from the freezer case or stirring together a packaged sauce on instant rice.

Finally, this blog is about being a good cook. My mission is to not only serve my family and friends tasty meals but ensure that I provide them with a healthy well balanced plate as well. I do my best to source high quality ingredients by shopping at the local farmers markets, just like my ancestors would have and whenever possible (and with in reason) I try to make my food from scratch. So it may have taken me a little while, but it seems that things are finally going back to were they should be – myself, my friends, and my family eating real food made by real people.

But enough soap-boxing, let's get to the fun stuff! Here are some links to some of my favorites dishes from my blog....