What influence did either of your parents have?
Posted 25 January 2006 - 10:28 AM
As a longtime fan of your books and television work, I wanted to ask you what influences your mother and father had upon your cooking career ... did either provide you with a culinary role model as you grew up? If I recall correctly, your brother made some sort of blueberry pies which you had mentioned in one show.
Was either parent, or even a grandparent, an early muse for you?
Thanks for offering us at eGullet this incredible insight into your work and thinking all this week!
Posted 25 January 2006 - 02:23 PM
My grandmother Ruth Moulton (my dad's mom) with whom we all spent alot of time growing up was a fabulous cook. She had gone to one of the cooking schools in Boston and made classic New England dishes like roast beef and yorkshire pudding, johnny cakes, fish chowder, indian pudding etc. She gave me my first cookbook when I was five: "Mud Pies and Other Recipes" We made pies and cookies together and bread dough which we let rise in the attic. It was great fun and I still own some of her old cooking utensils.
It was my mom however, who dragged me out of the hot dog/french fry/ice cream diet which was my preference in those early days. She was cooking with all sorts of exotic ingredients considering that we are talking about the tv dinner, frozen vegetable and canned mushroom soup as sauce 50's and 60's. She knew about endive and fresh fennel and shad roe and mushrooms. She was a pretty good cook to begin with but then she started traveling.
When she came back from a trip she made a point of finding a place in the city (New York where I grew up) to get the ingredients and then recreate the meal. I started joining her. Our bible was the New York Times Cookbook. We began to throw dinner parties on a regular basis and got better and better with our techniques.
In the summer we would go up to our farmhouse which we shared with my aunt and uncle and my aunt was an incredible cook too. As the family grew we all became more obsessed with food at the farm. (My cousin Josh also became a chef)
We would all run around and exercise every day so that we could prepare and eat a huge meal every night. So I have been happily surrounded by good cooks all my life.
Posted 25 January 2006 - 05:02 PM
Our bible was the New York Times Cookbook. We began to throw dinner parties on a regular basis and got better and better with our techniques.
So I have been happily surrounded by good cooks all my life.
This is indeed most interesting! I know that your own children will one day, after they have families of their own, look upon family as a rich repository of enjoyable cooking experiences ... and, I, too, used my copy of the New York Times Cookbook until the binding fairly wore out.
Thank you for sharing this insight into your personal cooking background.
I just found the recipe for Ruth Moulton's Spice Ball Cookies and am very anxious to make them for dessert!