I like to eat. As a kid, I had a deal with my father (who at one point must have been more adventuresome than I’ve ever been aware of since) that I would try anything. If I didn’t like it I didn’t have to eat it, but I at least had to try. This broadened my horizons considerably at an early age, and developed my taste buds in a series of events that has led to my book. As my mother was not exactly a wonderful cook, it led me to wanting to control what I was putting in my mouth. I was accused of ordering off the right side of the menu. Willfully ordering the most expensive and lavish meals, just to taunt my father and our “just try” deal. My father only had to finance this until I was 16. I’ve been saddled with supporting this habit ever since. The onus upon moi.
What to do? As it became apparent that I couldn’t afford to keep myself in the manner I was accustomed to, something had to be done. It started innocently enough. How could I eat the type of food that I had been spoiled by, and accustomed to? An idea gradually took shape. Forming in the most primitive reaches of my brain, traveling synapses inched their way to my tongue, my eyes, my nostrils, my fingertips. The answer was right inside of me. I could do it myself. On a student of life’s budget, it became necessary to adapt. As a jazz musician improvises, so can a poor would be aspiring gourmand. Recipes became my own. Substitutions and inspiration collided in my kitchen. If you could play Summertime with a funk beat, then why I reasoned, couldn’t I add more garlic to a recipe I knew needed it?