Feb 8, 2011

Foodie Love

Hi readers! I'm traveling for work this week so I'm leaving you in the hands of some fabulous guest bloggers to talk about love - people they love, things they love, or just love in general. (This just might have something to do with a lovely giveaway coming soon!) 

I'd like to introduce you to Ashley from I Love You More Than Carrots. We both got married in October 2007, but I feel like she has it way more together than I do! (I might want to copy her lifestyle be just like her when I grow up!) I know you're going to love her as much as I do!

Before I divulge my love affair with food, I wanted to say a quick heaping "thanks" to my home girl Becky for asking me to guest blog. For those of you who don't know, this is my first guest blog appearance. GaspChortleSnicker, say what? A guest post virgin? You bet. I can say without a doubt that I was saving myself for someone ultra special. Becky, I'm so glad you popped my proverbial guest blog cherry. Hey, this is all in keeping with the love theme, right?

In retrospect, I could have written this post about a lot of things. I've been married for three plus years to the cutest frat boy at Villanova, we share our brand new home with a 103 pound shaggy Sheepdog affectionately referred to as "Sheepie," and just six short months ago, were blessed to welcome a precious baby boy into the mix. I love each of those things separately and my heart just near bursts when I think about these blessings all together. The love in my life is overly abundant, oozing from every pore, if you will. However, I'm fairly certain I write about my love for those things enough on my own blog. Instead, I'm going to write about a side of myself so rarely seen on I Love You More Than Carrots.

I love food.

It's not that I'm addicted to food or so in love with a bowl of Lucky Charms in the morning. It's more so that I'm in love with the memories that I've accumulated and come to associate with certain foods. Certain seasoning. Certain special flavors that bring me back to a time in my life when I couldn't imagine being anywhere else than in that very moment, enjoying that very taste, at the exact time.

My earliest memory of a favorite food is my Dad's homemade ziti. Just thinking about his homemade red sauce dripping beneath mounds of bubbling mozzarella cheese has my heart yearning for home. I was never allowed to help in the kitchen, but I can remember sitting quietly at the kitchen table, watching my father create his masterpiece.

You see, my dad never cooks with recipes. He starts with a flavor in mind and runs with it. The memories and emotions attached to this simple dish are irreplaceable. Like the time I was seven and my mom left us at home for the night and I managed to spill an entire bowl of pasta in his lap and we laughed and laughed until milk came shooting out of my nose. I have an innumerable number of memories surrounding the bond between my dad and myself, but I'll always be reminded of him when the smell of bold, spicy marinara is in the air. How much I wanted to be like him when I grew up. How much I adored his every move. How he was (and still is!) my hero.

Over the years, my love affair with food only escalated. Forget matters of the heart. It was all about matters of the sweet tooth. It wasn't until I met my (future) husband that I developed a taste for the finer foods in life, so in the years preceding, I spent a lot of time messing around with a plethora of confectioner lovers. It started with the hundreds of warm, gooey, homemade batches of chocolate chip cookies made by my mother. If you happen to take a gander at her forearms, you'll notice the burn marks from years of pulling tray after tray of unconditional love out of the oven. As a child, I always looked forward to snow days and especially "mental health days," because I knew they would be chock full of chocolate chips cookies and a mother's love. I cannot wait until I can share that same confectioner's love with my son, Carter.

When I first met my husband in that dirty, stinky (did I say dirty?) frat house, I often associated him with awful tasting Natural Light beer, floors sticky with the sweat of all night dance parties, and a shot of SoCo and lime. The thought of him as a soul mate was as far from my mind as the next day's hangover. Over the course of my years at Villanova, that would all change. As would my taste for a few of the finer things in life.

I remember our first date. Although I cannot remember the conversation or even the outfit that I wore, I can remember that he ordered the Osso Bucco and I, the mushroom rissotto. The creamiest, most delicious melt-in-your-mouth mushroom risotto I've ever had. Mushroom risotto became a recurring theme in our relationship and at the direction of my (future) husband, I learned to pair it with one delicious wine after another. Who knew the man sitting before me, in khaki pants and a button down, with blonde curls hidden beneath an O's cap, knew the difference between a Malbech and a Merlot and could distinguish its many different notes with one swirl of the glass? Needless to say, I believe I feel in love over risotto.

There are so many different flavors that I associate with my husband and the nine years we've been together. We savored the most delectable Moroccan braised beef at our wedding and washed it down with the most incredible coconut shrimp while honeymooning in Hawaii. Early on, our marriage quickly transformed into one beautiful taste after another as we traveled throughout wine country in California, or fingers dripping with true finger lickin' Texas BBQ. I can still taste the sting of the jerk chicken that we enjoyed almost nightly while vacationing in Turks and Caicos, and I will never, ever forget our weekly Friday night Happy Hours, indulging in bowl after bowl of spice-infused oysters and ale at the local German alehouse back when we lived in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

Growing up in a family that loved their food, who carefully and artfully selected their flavors, cultivated memories filled with tastes and love that I'm so grateful to have witnessed. Falling in love with my husband only encouraged and emboldened my taste buds and we were lucky to be able to satiate our desire to travel, to fall in love with each other, with places and foods we may have never experienced otherwise. Who knew one could love food so much? Or rather, love sharing that food with friends, family and loved ones.

So, if you ever catch me on the street and I offer you a cookie? I may be telling you a simple, "I love you."

Pretty great for a first guest post, don't you think?! Are any of you foodies? What's your favorite memory associated with food? Thanks for the guest post Ashley - and be sure to say pop over and say hi to her on her blog!


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Ugh, my comment just got ate! I am too lazy to re-type it! But in general, I would say my tastes have evolved as I've gotten older. I like spicy/strong flavors, and my fave seasoning to work with is cumin!

Great post!

Lindsey said...

mmm... Lucky Charms! Great post! I would have to say the stench of college made it to my nose as you described sticky floors and hangovers.

April said...

Yay for your first guest post, and what a sweet one! "...pulling tray after tray of unconditional love out of the oven"... I think I'm going to go bake some cookies right now!!

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