Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Tanzer Family Table

After coming over for a home-cooked dinner one night a good friend of ours told me, “Regular people wake up each morning and ask themselves, ‘What am I going to do today?’ You wake up each morning and ask yourselves, ‘What are we going to eat today?’”

I hadn’t really thought much about it before then but I quickly realized he was right. I have always enjoyed cooking and have done a lot of it over the years. I have shelves and shelves of recipe books and stacks of loose recipes I want to try someday. Luckily, when I met my husband he shared my passion for good, home-cooked food. Although he wasn’t much of a chef in the beginning, he is too curious to be kept out of the kitchen. He quickly started picking up on cooking techniques and recipes and now is a better cook than I am at lots of things. I have to laugh when I am cooking something and I hear him come into the kitchen. I can almost guarantee within a matter of seconds he will take the spoon out of my hand and take over the cooking. I have given up fighting him on this one and we have reached a happy level of harmony in the kitchen. I love that one of our favorite things to do together is to cook – even if it is just for ourselves to enjoy. We have one rule of thumb for our kitchen: it has to be big enough to accommodate two chefs!

Along the way I have also developed a passion for healthy living and cooking. I hope what I put on the table each day is not only delicious but something that is healthy and nourishing for our family. Many people have fallen victim to a convesration with me about my love of the magazine Eating Well and a lot of my recipes come from their books and magazines. Many studies have shown the eating habits of one spouse can influence the other – I know that to be true. I also know my sister is an invaluable resource for me when I want to cook something new or need inspiration. I really feel your best inspiration comes from the other cooks around you so I hope pass along whatever I can.

A few of my other core “foodie” beliefs:
* Life is too short to eat bad food
* Good food and healthy food are not mutually exclusive
* A high calorie splurge on occasion is healthy and often well-deserved
* Recipes taste better if they are shared
* One cook can inspire another
* You can never fail when you try something new (food item, cooking method, etc.). You will always walk away knowing something you didn’t know before
* Don’t worry if you don’t follow the recipe perfectly - some of the best recipes you ever make will be a “mistake”
* Life is also too short to be a picky eater – try a food several different ways before you rule it out
* Find a handful of simple, go-to, recipes to put in your mental recipe box (some of mine are baked sweet potatoes, asparagus with garlic butter, coleslaw, turkey paninis, chicken salad sandwiches, etc.) These should be recipes that are so simple you can pick up 5 or less ingredients at the store and make them without looking at a recipe.
* Planning ahead to make a weekly menu will take 50% of the stress out of cooking
* Doubling a batch of something to freeze takes very little extra work - you will thank yourself later
* If you love to cook, you should share the love by feeding friends, family and strangers. A happy cook makes everything taste better!

So for those who wonder what is on the Tanzer family table today, I will try to share some of our newest (and oldest!) food adventures and obsessions.

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