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Thursday, 14 April 2011

Yummyami

I li(o)ve to eat. Food delights me, it excites me, it satisfies me. It makes me happy. So really this blog is about food. And a little bit about me.

Inspiration comes from unexpected places and the idea of a food blog came from reconnecting with friends on Facebook that I haven’t seen in fifteen or twenty years. I realized very soon that it couldn’t be a coincidence when several of them emailed me – “...it's so nice to hear from you...blah blah...and I remember the food in your house was great...”
Really? What did you eat that you actually remember twenty years later?

And that got me thinking. Because it’s so true. How often have I had “that great meal” – somewhere, sometime, in someone’s home or in a restaurant.  Years later, something happens and it triggers a memory, that I think about with fondness, but that’s all I do. Life is just too busy for more than a fond thought.

So I decide to change this, just a little, just for myself. Because I have been fortunate enough to have had some truly great food. And if I leave it all just to memory, unspoken, undocumented, it will fade. Little by little, until there is nothing left. Which would really be the saddest thing of all.

And so, I sit down with my 92-year old grandmother. She is frail now. Fragile. When I close my eyes, I don’t picture her like this – I picture her breezing in and out of the kitchen, creating world-class cuisine with casual, confident non-chalance. Her food was exceptional, every umami-filled bite of it. It is she who taught me to love food. And so I decide to make her speak, for her mind is as sharp as I remember her body to be. “Tell me your secrets,” I say to her, “so I can keep them alive.”

So a lot of the recipes in this blog are my twist on her “secrets”, because that’s the kind of food I’ve grown up with, and that I know and love best.  Others - old ones and new ones - are from family and friends, kindly shared and stashed away somewhere in my head to recreate someday. Many are just accounts of me having a bit of fun in the kitchen with the ingredients I happen to have at the time. And some are just ramblings on culinary experiences of note that I have had – with a dish, a restaurant, a city or even across a country. No matter who or what my inspiration, however, in every post, I attempt to talk about or recreate dishes that matter to me, in some way. That connect me with a person, a place, a memory, an emotion. For it’s the connection between the taste and the thought, that I remember, that I want to remember.

As a former investment banker, with every aspect of my life so painstakingly structured, I have decided to leave this blog unstructured and just let creativity dictate its terms. So my blog - not unlike my cooking - is spontaneous, quirky. And a bit eccentric.

Having lived now in two cultural extremes of the globe and settled down in London - the magnificent middle of it all - I try and incorporate in my cooking, bits of learning from everywhere, and it is this wonderful amalgamation of ingredients and spices, taste, cultures and cuisine, that I attempt to record.

I am Yummyami.
The kitchen is my playground and words are my toys.
I am passionate about food, and not much else.

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