Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tabula Rasa

A brand new blog. So fresh and shiny! What shall I write?

I've wanted to blog about local food and design for a while but never got around to it, which is unfortunate because now that I'm trying to think of what to write in my first post, I'm reminiscing about all the lovely meals I've had over the years and thinking "Damn! I could have written about that one! Or that one! Or..." but it's all a bit after the fact now. Needless to say, there will be plenty of good meals ahead, so I shouldn't fret, but still...

Instead, I'll start with an introduction of sorts. I'm a mid (late? *cough*cough*) thirties food and design enthusiast who has lived in New Orleans since 1999. This year marked 10 years in the Crescent City, which I'm just going to go ahead and say makes me a local. Feel free to disagree, just not to my face. It'll hurt my feelings. My partner (hereafter known as Kid Cayenne) and I were in the metro area pre and post Katrina, which I believe qualifies us even more. That said, I will admit freely that I have so very much to learn about my beloved city and that I don't think I've experienced even a fraction of what it has to offer. I'd like to remedy that.

Kid Cayenne and I bought our first house last week. We have always lived in our favorite New Orleans neighborhood, within a few blocks of Magazine and Jefferson (with the unfortunate exception of a couple of years spent out in Metairie when we had the bright idea of living in a little apartment for a while to help save money for a down payment on an Uptown house. Then, Katrina came and sort of knocked that plan on it's butt for a while, but we've recovered and here we are.) Our new house is Uptown, but in a different neighborhood than our familiar stomping grounds. We are now in the Carrollton/Riverbend area and are discovering that there is a whole new world of hidden gems and fun places to eat, drink and be merry over here. I can't understand how we missed them before, when we were minutes away, but when you live near Magazine St., you sort of have everything you need right at your doorstep and I think it blinded us.

When I look ahead, I imagine this blog to be a documentation of my adventures in cooking, eating and living well on a limited budget. I believe in making deliberate choices in your food and your home.

I am wild, WILD about food. Adventurous too. I want to eat wonderful, fabulous, amazing things and I DO NOT CARE if they include eyes or tentacles or are the ears or feet of something. I don't care if it looks disgusting; I will still eat it. I will give it a shot. I learned long ago that less-mainstream foods are often wonderful and I have not much squeamishness about it. There are limits, of course. I will not eat extreme things for the sake of eating extreme things, that isn't the point at all. The point is, I love to eat WELL and I have come to understand that this often includes things that people like, say.... Kid Cayenne .... are so horrified and repulsed by that I would never again be kissed if she knew they had touched my lips. Kid Cayenne is the opposite of me in food adventurousness, so very, very squeamish that she can only eat very benign things that in no way squick her out. Like um.... french fries. Or cheese raviolis. She eats almost no meats at all. Permitted are organic boneless skinless chicken breast, 95% fat ground beef, thin cut pork chops trimmed of every single sliver of flavor fat and maybe a bit of filet mignon on a special occasion but certainly no other type of steak because it might have a thin thread of flavor fat in it too... No seafood. Ever. The texture doesn't work. Quite a few vegetables but not nearly enough to compensate for the lack of meats. Rice, potatoes and pasta are fine but they had better not have too many herbs involved in their preparation. You get the picture. We eat chicken breast 140 times a week. It's almost true. This does throw a wrench in the works, but we deal with it. She does love to eat well, as long it doesn't scare her, so I do my best to accommodate her and she does her best not to make it too hard on me.

I love to cook, love good ingredients, love, love, love to eat. I'm ridiculously novice at anything fancy, so everything I cook is very simple but it's not a bad thing, really. That's enough, I think, to base the food part of my blog on, yes?

In design, I believe in moderation and I aspire to a minimalist aesthetic, although I am, as yet, far from it. I believe in the lovely William Morris quote: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful". I don't adhere to it, sadly, but I believe in it. I have spent years trying to undo the effects of growing up in a household with a pack rat mentality and am learning, slowly, that less is more and that quality is better than quantity. I am teaching myself that it is better to have nothing than to compromise on something not worth having. Not easy for me, but I'm OK with making some mistakes along the way.

I sort of obsess about design. I want to eat it like it's candy. I'm in love with modern/contemporary (a newish fascination for me) but will absorb anything that has a solid foundation in good design principles. I'm thrilled to finally have a house on which to play interior designer, but simultaneously petrified because it means I also finally have a venue in which to learn that I don't really know what I'm doing at all. We shall see how it goes. I'll blog about it, and we can all point and laugh at my ignorance.

Also, I'm a slob. Thems the facts.
That should do it for now.


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