By Chrysa Smith

I’m a foodie.
Alright, it’s self-proclaimed. I’ve never owned or even worked in a restaurant. I’ve never studied in a real culinary program. And I must confess that when I come across a recipe calling for more than 20 ingredients, I keep on going. But, when those self-discovery gurus ask you to think about what it is that you really love, food is always high on the list.

Why spend time reading and eating with me? Please indulge me for a moment while I give you a list of my epicurean credentials:
• I cook most nights. And what I mean is that I think and plan and log onto food network and epicurious at least twice a week, trying to come up with creative alternatives to the Monday night meatloaf plan. I incorporate the less threatening veggies, herbs and seasonings not exposed to in my youth, like anise, herbs de Provence, shitake mushrooms. And I’ve been known to take on a roux, wellington and Julia Child bourguignon with the confidence of a seasoned pro.
• I’ve interviewed some well-known chefs. During my years as a feature magazine writer, I’ve interviewed Tom Colicchio, Douglas Rodriguez, Eric Treuille, and Charlie Trotter. That’s when I realized that I share something tangible with these folks—the love of creation, the love of sensation, the love of taste, sound, sight, senses. And it’s when I realized that food and the love of all that surrounds it, comes to you as a child. It’s cooking with your mom, retaining the smell of the rotisserie chicken that whiffed through the rooms of grandma’s house, loving the taste of a NJ summer tomato, a perfectly baked bread crust. It’s looking for plum pudding and buche de noel recipes while still riding the bus to school. And most importantly, it’s trying to recreate that sense of home and roots and taste and scent, as everything and everyone around you begins to change.
• I must admit, I’m a food snob. When friends or family boast about a restaurant, I’m skeptical. What are the criteria? A 72 ounce steak, endless salad bar or a chef with a well-tuned fork? I vote for the later—fresh ingredients, well-orchestrated seasonings and sauces that flow on the tongue and palette like a symphony—and of course, a good wine list or ability to BYOB.
• I’m spoiled. I grew up and worked in NYC. Like it or not, appreciate it or not, there are few places in the country with the variety, quality, trend-setting and demanding diners that this city invokes. I’ve sampled some of their best, and it’s become a standard of judgment for good eats wherever it is I go.

So, come take the journey with me as I blog about food, wine and the wonderful hobby of sharing all of it with friends, family and my constant dining companions: Mini-Poos Bobby and Geezie.

Next Dish: Eating Locally

Got an appetitie for great tastes? Something on the tip of your tongue?
Sound off with a comment.

Chrysa Smith, Freelance Writer/Author of The Adventures of the Poodle Posse—a juvenile fiction series of canine kicks for young readers.