I am a risk taker in at least one arena-food. My father was a meat and potatoes kind of man, but my mother had a stomach of her own. When given the chance, she was ready to try anything. The daughter of a chef attends to the presentation as well as the quality and flavor. My great aunt was the first person I know to use seasonal, fresh local ingredients in her cooking. Living in downtown Portland, she was a regular at all the farmers’ markets.
When my husband and I went to Israel more than a decade ago, we were anxious to try local cuisine. We found the yogurt to be rich and delicious, the pizza had a special mix of spices and were carried out folded in quarters and put in a shopping bag. The shaved lamb was tender and seasoned to perfection. We also had falafel from a vendor on Mount Carmel. When we got home to the United States, I roamed the ethnic section of the grocery store and bought a box of falafel mix. It stayed in the cupboard and was never used.
Now, I tend to make things from scratch whenever I can. So tonight, using the Epicurious application, I made falafel and everyone loved it. My home does not have the ambience of Mount Carmel and the transformative powers that the trip brought to our marriage, but our supper came pretty close to being a perfect blend of textures and tastes. I must thank my mother and my auntie because I will try just about anything, at least once.