Friday, April 1, 2011

A Tip of My Hat to the Song that Inspired this Blog's Name...

I'm a musician and I love to cook.  After I first started a food blog (under a different title) I had a "duh" moment when I noticed the title had nothing to do with food. How to make it feel like "me"? I started looking up songs about food and as soon as did, I found this one. Perfect.

One of Nat "King" Cole's very first recordings as the "Nat Cole Swingsters" in 1939 was a song called, "Riffin at the Bar-B-Que" and that felt like a perfect fit.


I'm always interested in people's inspiration whether cooking, music or just life in general.

My first cooking influence was my mother, Sally. Now, my mom would have been happy eating tomato soup and a grilled-cheese sandwich every day but she had five children and a husband to feed whose mother's cooking was the stuff of oft-referenced legend. She really had no cooking mentor or influence growing up. Her mom didn't cook much and for some part of her childhood, their family had a cook. That being said, there were things she cooked that were O.K, some that were good,and some that were great. We always had salads and vegetables and she loved fruit - and we loved those things, too. When I was about 10, her sister (Nancie) sent her a pan with a steamer insert and from then on she steamed vegetables. She grew up in the Midwest (Chicago) on canned and then frozen vegetables  - that's just what people ate - and this was a major change for the better.

Thanksgiving dinner - you and nobody else in the world makes a better Thanksgiving dinner. Her stuffing IS the stuffing of legend as far as I'm concerned. I've never had (or made) a better meatloaf than hers. She made great soups and braised meats. I weep that I cannot properly replicate her pork chops and milk gravy. I love the ham hocks, navy beans and cornbread she cooked and I know her mother-in-law would have approved.

She wasn't one to throw up her hands in the face of a challenge. When my brother announced a visit, bringing a girlfriend who was vegetarian (this was back in the '70's) my mom bought a vegetarian cookbook - and it turned out that it was a very good one - so that she could cook something that my brother's girlfriend could eat. It was the first vegetarian cookbook I'd ever seen and I was fascinated by it. I don't have my mother's copy but recently purchased a copy of the original paperback version that she had:.Anna Thomas' "Vegetarian Epicure" - still in print and still a great reference.

When I'd come home after grade school a little before 3:30, I'd be ready to watch, "Dark Shadows" at 4:00 and the only thing that was on before that was a show broadcast on the local PBS channel called, "The French Chef" starring this woman with kind of a funny voice who cooked stuff. I honestly don't remember being inspired or learning anything, but she was fascinating and I started being more interested in that show than in "Dark Shadows", and frankly, "Dark Shadows" scared the crap out of me. be continued.

I have no affiliation with nor do I receive any compensation from producers or manufacturers. All opinions, as well as errors are my own. Corrections and comments are welcome.

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