I had a love of food from a young age. I was never afraid to try something new. My mother was (and still is) a good cook. I had my fill of comfort foods growing up. Cabbage rolls, chicken pot pie and lasagna were staples, each somewhat traditional with a spin. I’m at least a third generation Canadian, so my mother did not arrive in Canada with nothing more that a bunch of basil in her left hand and a wooden spoon in her right. She didn’t refer to the old days in Europe when fresh tomatoes fell from the sky and she’d rather starve than eat something that didn’t involve her jumping in a pot and stomping on it. She was ok with using canned tomatoes and Kraft Parmesan cheese (I still have that distinct green container in my fridge to this day) when making spaghetti sauce. She would buy Bisquick for her dumplings. She didn’t regret or apologize about the fact that “farm to table” was not possible since I lived in a town with a 30 day growing season . She taught me that you can be creative with what you have and what makes sense without regret.
On the flip side, her absolute need to measure every ingredient and use only the exact brand of tomato sauce stated in the recipe sparked my rebellious culinary nature. I rarely follow an recipe to the “t”. I’m thrilled to be challenged with what’s in the fridge or what’s in a grocery flyer.