Who’s in the Kitchen?
Simply, I am an undying, dedicated, lifelong food enthusiast. My love of food stems from being raised and residing in the Old South, where nothing occurs without a good libation and a generous spread of goodies to eat. It’s where we grow up in kitchens peering over countertops at our Mother’s and Grandmother’s elbows as they create culinary magic, just how their Mothers and Grandmothers taught them, and their Mothers and Grandmothers taught them. Where 100-year old handwritten recipes would be saved from fire before our spouses (I mean, spouses have legs, right?). It’s where Granddaddy’s tomatoes are legendary and where no one will ever live up to MaMa’s Red Rice. Food is indeed epic in this place.
There’s no doubt I have an ongoing love affair with all things food. But I’m not only in love with food that is out-of-this-world tasty, but also with food that nourishes the body and the soul. For millions of years we humans have used food innately to sustain our bodies, to connect to others, and to reconnect to the Earth. Ever notice how children eat when they’re hungry and often share their most prized goodies with you? Just ask any parent who, on more than one occasion, has had to partake in slightly spit-covered suckers as to not offend a gracious toddler. How often do folks congregate in your kitchen? Humans have for millennia used food to come together, to celebrate or honor milestones, and to heal, calm and comfort themselves. I can’t remember a birth, graduation, or wedding that didn’t have a feast-ival involved. When someone dies we bring food to the family as a means of comfort. I never feel so at ease as when I’m either digging in the garden or cooking what came out of it. There is no doubt we have been intricately linked with food in more than a biological sense since the beginning of our existence.
Today, somehow, we have forgotten our nutritional and gastronomic legacies and our intimate connection with food and the Earth from which it came. Food has become burgers and fries that never spoil, oils that have been chemically altered to the point our bodies can’t recognize and eliminate them, and pesticides and herbicides that have the power to alter our DNA or elicit disease. Food is not a spaceship-shaped chickenesque nugget or sandwich meat that has the consistency of a yoga mat. So, I’m here to proclaim food is good, food is joyful, and yes, preparing quality food can indeed be easy and enjoyable, too! On this blog you’ll find recipes, tips, and techniques I’ve learned along the way for preparing and experiencing local, fresh, and truly enjoyable food that nourishes body and soul. Most often you’ll find recipes that align with our ancestral diet, that are often gluten free, and frequently low in fructose. But you’ll also find an occasional cake, or tarte, or homemade ice cream. Why? Because all carrots and no cake makes for a dull girl and celebrating special occasions does wonders for the spirit.
What’s in a Name?
If you’ve made it this far, you may be wondering why Charlie Eats as a title for this blog? The answer is two-fold. Through my youth and young adulthood, my full name was often shortened into various spellings of Charlie/Charlee/Charley and some of my favorite food-related memories hail from that era. Secondly, my days off from work are spent in the kitchen, music floating in the background and my faithful companion, Charlie, at my feet. He makes sure I’m not going to be attacked by the trash man or the mail lady or any other surreptitious stranger anywhere within 8 city blocks while I fiddle with the food end of things. He takes his post in a little plush bed by my feet. He waits there, sniffing the air, licking his chops. He watches, slightly impatiently, for that little bit of manna that might fall from Counter Heaven. Well, honestly, more like that bit of food that I accidentally flung out of the pan (our secret pact when my husband isn’t looking is he gets to be my taste tester). So, when I eat, ipso facto, Charlie Eats.
All that said, let’s get cooking!