This is who I am and how I learned what I know about food, cook­ing, and oth­er aspects of life that might come up. Some of it will be dis­cussed in greater detail in posts, but the basics are here.

I am now 40 and have been cook­ing since I was 7. Since I start­ed cook­ing, I have been fas­ci­nat­ed by the process. It always amazed me that some ingre­di­ents would taste good when pre­pared by some peo­ple, but taste hor­ri­ble when made by oth­ers. I grew up in Ohio, and I had fam­i­ly through­out the Amer­i­can South­east, so I was able to try a fair­ly wide vari­ety of Amer­i­can cui­sine. I start­ed teach­ing myself about fla­vor com­bi­na­tions and fla­vor pro­files so that I would know why some foods worked togeth­er and oth­ers didn’t.

After going to school, I spent sev­er­al years help­ing to take care of an elder­ly cou­ple. Most of the care I pro­vid­ed actu­al­ly came in the form of plan­ning and prepar­ing the meals. Cook­ing for two bitchy old peo­ple on spe­cial diets is not as easy or fun as you would think it should be. It did real­ly show me that peo­ple eat with their eyes first. It also taught me how people’s taste buds change due to age and envi­ron­men­tal influ­ences.

After that expe­ri­ence, I left Ohio and moved to Atlanta, Geor­gia, ini­tial­ly with the inten­tion of attend­ing cook­ing school. I real­ly want­ed to hone my skills and also learn some new tech­niques. I end­ed up using my orig­i­nal degree to get a job at the school’s library work­ing as a tutor, help­ing the oth­er stu­dents with math, lan­guage skills, and com­put­er usage. For­tu­nate­ly, the com­put­er usage didn’t go beyond MS Office, because my math and lan­guage skills are far supe­ri­or to my com­put­er skills.

Work­ing as a tutor turned out to be a bad idea. It put me in a posi­tion to real­ize just how much reme­di­al edu­ca­tion some of the stu­dents sore­ly need­ed. I was also close enough to the admin­is­tra­tion to see just how lit­tle they cared whether any of the stu­dents actu­al­ly left the school hav­ing learned any­thing. I left the job and the school behind me, but I took with me some new things, like the knowl­edge of how to cure my own bacon!

In 2011, I had a Roux-en-Y gas­tric bypass. I still defend my rea­sons for hav­ing this surgery, in spite of all of the con­se­quences. I was over 150 pounds over­weight, near­ing the age of 40, and had heart dis­ease, high blood pres­sure and dia­betes run­ning ram­pant in my fam­i­ly his­to­ry. I had com­pli­ca­tions in the surgery how­ev­er and end­ed up los­ing a lot of weight very quick­ly. Too quick­ly. My con­di­tion has final­ly sta­bi­lized, and I seem to be able to live a fair­ly nor­mal life, after a year and a half of fre­quent vis­its to the hos­pi­tal.

My diet is rather unique by neces­si­ty in a few ways for a num­ber of rea­sons. I was told that I would have a dif­fi­cult time get­ting enough pro­tien in my diet after the surgery, and I under­stand how that could hap­pen. I am a vocal oppo­nent of a veg­an diet. I love ani­mals, but humans are designed to eat at least some meat or we would not have the teeth to chew it.

That being said, I will only on very rare occa­sion be post­ing any­thing about poul­try. I’m sure that birds are yum­my to most peo­ple, but they are poi­so­nous to me. I have a wicked aller­gy to bird fat that makes eat­ing poul­try impos­si­ble, makes prepar­ing poul­try tricky, and means that I have to check the ingre­di­ents of most pre­pared foods that I buy. It does mean that I have a great appre­ci­a­tion for food aller­gies in oth­ers as well. I’ve worked at restau­rants where cross-con­t­a­m­i­na­tion between shell­fish and veg­eta­bles wasn’t an issue for them. They sim­ply act­ed as if nobody could pos­si­bly be aller­gic to shell­fish.

So now, my part­ner and a few of my friends have con­vinced me to write this blog. They think that, in spite of the fact that food is not the only sub­ject I know, food is what I should write about. Like there aren’t already mil­lions of oth­er food blogs on the web…

But I’m going to write about the food that I cook, some­times giv­ing the recipe. I’ll also write about food that oth­er peo­ple (restau­rants and stuff) cook on occa­sion. I’ll include pic­tures, though I can’t promise qual­i­ty. I’m bet­ter with words than tech­nol­o­gy.

And if there is any­thing that some­body wants to know, or some place that some­body wants me to check out, I hope that they write me and tell me about it. I’ll be post­ing here, or on my Twit­ter feed, a cou­ple of times a week.

I’m still try­ing to get used to this right now, so if things are shaky at first, just be patient. I’m new at this.