Sunday, January 20, 2008


How often are you asked to describe your most memorable meal? The meal you’d make for your true love? The “last meal” if you were unfortunate enough to know it was coming? The meal that transports you back to childhood in an instant?

Blogs are rife with “describe your ____ meal” and I usually answer. I'm both nostalgic and confessional when it comes to food. I'll describe my favorite childhood meal as quickly as admit that sometimes I like to eat buttered saltines.

The one question I’ve seldom seen asked, however, is “What meal turned you into a “foodie”?” (I’ve come to dislike that term, it’s such a clunky term for what can be a joyous thing). Not necessarily the best meal, or the best restarant. Perhaps it was just a single dish that made you sit back, inhale, taste, smile, and realize that food is so much more than fuel.

For me, it was something so simple, you wouldn’t think it would warrant a description, but sometimes, that’s exactly what happens — it was a simple dish of warmed olives sprinkled with thype and rosemary, with a piece of hard cheese, and a basket of delicate pieces of foccacia, that made me sit up and take notice.

I remember thinking, as I ate it “This is grown up food” and I was quite pleased with myself. It was savory, slow, sophisticated.

That meal was 20 years ago, shared with my sister in Carmel, California, while on vacation. Now that I've decided to throw my hat into the food blog ring, I decided to name it Warm Olives in memory of that meal.

I already maintain another blog for travel writing – unrelated to cooking and eating, but I confess I devour the food blogs daily (Tastespotting is great for that purpose, isn’t it?) and find them much more interesting.

Here’s a few things you need to know:

  • I suck at photography.
  • I have kitchen disasters more often than I don’t.
  • Sometimes I want nothing more than junky food like Buttered Saltines. There is no excuse for buttering saltines.
  • I don't have the mentality to join somethng like "Daring Bakers" or any competition or challenge. I despise the very notion of creating any kind of culinary showstopper for judging or eating by others. My sister, on the other hand, is fearless. Having a pot luck? She'll attempt Floating Islands an hour beforehand. Her attempts usually fail but that girl never stops trying to impress.
  • I don’t prep enough, I don’t get the right bowls, I make a mess. Who cares?! I still enjoy it.
  • I am a bento enthusiast: I admire the art of packing Bento Lunches and I spend more time on my lunch than any other meal, I think. That isn't to say I create works of art out of nori and food coloring. No, I just enjoy constructing colorful and varied lunches. I'll share a few from time to time.
  • I have over a hundred cookbooks and I really think I should start cooking from them.
  • Most of the cookbooks are warped because I read them in the bathtub every night, like novels.
  • One day I’ll be better at this, I promise.

Thanks for visiting. I hope you visit again, as I surely will visit your blogs. Here’s to simple dishes that make us nourished, entertained, nostalgic, slow and happy.

Kate, February 2008

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