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  • Betty Girardeau

What Is It About Food?


I have loved planning and cooking food for almost as long as I can remember. I received my first cook book from my sister when I was eleven years old. I still have it, and I still use some of the recipes. I am on several email lists that send me new recipes daily, and while I probably have thousands of recipes in books, on recipe cards, and in magazines that I have saved, I look forward to perusing these daily suggestions to see if there is something new I would like to try. Cooking for one for the last several years has not dampened my enthusiasm either, though I look forward to having guests or visiting my daughter where she and her husband are quite happy for me to take over in the kitchen for a meal or two. I started planning weekly menus shortly after I was married as a way of saving money at the grocery store and only buying what I knew I would be needing for the meals I was cooking that week. These days I have found that these meal plans serve another useful purpose. The grocery store has been almost the only place I have gone in the last several months. With a comprehensive list of the items I know I will need for the coming week, I can get in and out of the store in under twenty minutes, thus limiting the length of time I am in a place of possible contagion. A couple of years ago the women's club of which I am a member put together a cook book, and I was asked to take the pictures for the book. I really enjoyed doing that. I contacted a friend who is a professional food photographer for advice, and I also bought a book on food photography to study. I loved this project. I didn't have to actually cook any of the dishes that I was asked to photograph. They were all brought to me so that I could plate them in a pleasing and inviting way. How food is presented is an art form all its own and has been shown to be the key to pulling all five senses into the experience of eating. I have entered several of my cook book images in photo competitions where they have one awards. One of my favorite times of the day is when I go to the kitchen to fix dinner. I will often have nice background music playing and am enjoying a pre-dinner glass of wine. I frequently use my crock pot, too, and have days when my house is beautifully perfumed by the aromas of that night's (and probably several others after that) dinner. Such was case on Monday when I cooked a pork roast all day that became part of Pulled-Pork Tacos. When it came time to serve them, I did remember the importance of presentation, too, as you can see from the image above. Bon Appetit!

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