Yesterday, for an article I’m working on, I did something called "Shop with the Chef" with Brad Parsons from Aria.
Myself and three others spent the morning accompanying Executive Chef Parsons to the Chicago Green City Farmers Market. The vast majority of produce at Green City is organic and on a brisk, bright Wednesday morning, tent flaps slapping in the breeze, moms pushing strollers, the smell of fresh rhubarb fresh in the air, I could think of no other place I’d rather be.
We followed Chef around to the various stands as he pointed out some of his favorite fresh, seasonal ingredients and chatted with the friendly vendors. We sampled goat cheese and arugula, rhubarb compote and micro-cilantro.
After shopping we returned to Aria where Chef served us a lunch based on ingredients he purchased at the market — scrambled eggs with black truffle oil and green garlic, a heavenly cream of mushroom soup and wild Scottish salmon served over a bed of asparagus risotto and some of the deepest-tasting morels I’ve had in a long time. Suffice it to say, it was incredible.
I was happy all day. There is little else I like better in this world than food. I can talk about food for hours. I gladly plan menus for an entire week at home. I keep a food diary and I page through cookbooks and cooking magazine on a regular basis. Getting to sit next to a chef through a meal that he created and that we watched him shop for was just dreamy.
I thought a lot about my mom yesterday. She is the reason I love food so much. My upbringing was steeped in languid nights spent at the dinner table, in the aromas that drifted out of her constantly operating kitchen, in the tastes that flooded my mouth on a daily basis. Although I may have been naturally drawn to food, I don’t think I would love food like I do, were it not for her.
Last night I co-facilitated a Loss of Parent group again at work and I throughout I was thinking about the ways we keep our lost loved ones present in our lives. This love of food is my way of doing that.
(Also, we’ve got a new post up at She Wrote, He Wrote.)