I did not grow up cooking, and I have to admit I was having way too much fun in my 20s to worry about learning. Eventually however, my love of food and breaking bread with friends motivated me to plunge into the confounding world of egg-tempering and double boilers. Having to learn everything from the basics was frustrating to say the least, and as an only child with a single mom (who was loathe to cook), I had no handy resources. So, I started pouring through cookbooks and made it my goal to try at least 10% of the recipes in each book.
Not having even a rudimentary cooking foundation from which to build upon, I found myself routinely humiliated by the resulting failures and tearful attempts to diagnose what went wrong. If I was lucky enough to pull something off, I had no idea why it worked and rarely could duplicate its success. Fortunately, cable TV and the Internet brought lots of welcome resources into my life.
Well, practice helps, and even those dishes braised with tears taught me something every attempt. And the most useful techniques that I have learned came from the biggest flops. But through all of this exasperation was borne a deep respect for fresh restaurant-quality, homemade food with healthy ingredients.
As my search for food knowledge became larger in my life, I discovered just how rich and wonderful California is in its food production, how prolific and accessible organic farming has become, and that is is no longer necessary to live on fast food even with a hectic lifestyle. Each region in this golden state has a local flavor and style to share, and my recipes are intended to reflect this array. And, hey, if I can do it, so can you.