You’ve heard me riff on numerous occasions about how my mother and father impacted my life and deeply influenced my tastes. For instance, I romanticize railroad tracks to this day largely because of the train hopping stories my pops mused to me about in his early adult years.
Liddy Bisanz is a foodie and particularly open minded about experimenting with flavors both in and out of the kitchen. This stems, in large part, from of the influence her parents had in her most critical formative childhood years.
In today’s guest post, Liddy paints a gorgeous picture of that influence and its impact. Enjoy.
Every palate has a different story to tell.
Food is so much more than just a source to fuel our body’s caloric needs. It is an expression of love, creativity, art and fellowship. Food connects to every one of our senses and emotions. You can learn about a person simply by examining what they like to eat. Our palates are an ever changing, ever developing roadmap of our experiences and memories starting with childhood. Want to know where someone came from or how they were raised? Examine the food they like to eat.
I consider my palate a very eclectic one, shaped by my opportunity to travel as a child. Most vacations were spent overseas or in a foreign country. I had the chance to experience foods from so many different cultures and cuisines. I guess you could say I’ve been a foodie since I was a little girl. Having traveled so much, we were always experimenting with new and unique things. It’s safe to say there wasn’t much I wouldn’t eat or try.
Beyond merely traveling, however, my love of food and new experiences was shaped by my parents. I can remember eating octopus with my dad at an Italian market when I was 8 years old. He’s always encouraged us to try different things, even if we may not want to. I was a little hesitant about octopus, but I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. And he said, “See, it wasn’t that bad, was it?” Little moments, or little victories, if you will, paved the way for me to be more and more adventurous with food. It’s like taking baby steps on a culinary adventure.
I like to think of cooking as my time of relaxation. It’s my happy place. Some people like to go for a run, or read a book, or paint…mine is cooking. There is just something about being in the kitchen that puts me at ease. And for this, I have my mom to thank.
My mom was my biggest influence and has always been my role model. Growing up you could always find me in the kitchen cooking alongside my mom. I used to feel like time would stand still in the kitchen. This was where my true passion for the culinary world was discovered. Not only was cooking fun, but there was something so intriguing about creating dishes; each one with different flavors, textures, and aromas. I would copy everything she did. I even wanted a matching apron. Cooking was our bonding time and still is today. My mom was always at peace there and nothing was ever rushed. We would play soft music and talk about our days. You would never see my mom in the kitchen without a smile. She would tell me that cooking was her therapy. And now I fully understand the feeling. When I’m home, it’s one of my favorite things to do with her.
She encouraged my budding creativity, and it has carried over to my present life. In my kitchen, I am constantly looking for new recipes or new ways to put a spin on old favorites. When I am looking at restaurants to try, I always gravitate towards the most innovative menus. To me, the more unique, the better. I always love to see how chefs can play with ingredients and create a beautiful dish. It’s inspiration. To me, food is a lifelong, ever changing, beautiful journey. And it was all inspired from my childhood.
I believe that a genuine appreciation for new foods is one of the most important gifts a parent can offer a child. It’s an act of love that brings a whole family together around the table. That’s where memories are made. Expanding beyond familiar staples gives you a greater appreciation for not only different cuisines, but cultures as well. It broadens your outlook on life and encourages you to stay open to new experiences.
One of my favorite quotes is, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Nowdays, people get so comfortable where they are and are afraid to venture out and try something new. It may be easy to fall into a culinary rut and not venture outside your narrow habits, but it’s like never test driving the BMW because you’ve always enjoyed your old Honda. I am a firm believer that we can’t fully experience life this way. One must be willing to take risks in the event we discover something greater than we knew even existed.
The same goes for our palates. Every new and delicious flavor was uncovered by trying something for the first time. Be adventurous. Take a risk. Try something new. You’ll never know what you’re you missing out on until you do.