Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Modus Operandi

Hello hello hello! My name is Morgan and I am a rising 3rd year law student. I love to cook and put my own twist on dishes, breaking all the rules! But really, I really just love food. Period.

It is hard to know where to even begin...My family has some amazing cooks (and no, I am not just saying that because one of them is my Mom!), so I have been exposed to a lot of different techniques, flavors and ingredients. I have no idea how I got to where I am now from a little kid who would take her cheeseburger plain, no condiments (PLEASE), 2% milk, and eating only veggies like carrots and tomatoes. My parents always worked hard to get me to eat squash, broccoli, mushrooms and etc - normal foods that people eat I stayed away from like the plague. They would get very frustrated when I would try and subsequently LOVE new foods when I was over a friend's house or out with friends. My mom couldn't believe it when she saw me eating blue crabs around age 5.

My parents are very talented, and I have learned just about everything I know from watching them prepare meals growing up. Then came bake sales. Betty Crocker Spice Cake in a box and into a bunt cake pan and on the bake sale table was my go-to winner. Then I did a National Outdoor Leadership School course when I was 15 in Wyoming. During this course you are placed in a cook group and are given all the supplies you need to make just about everything in the NOLS Cookbook. This gave me a chance to test things out with flavors, and make mistakes (yea that is the salt, not the sugar, this tea tastes like shit).

When I went to boarding school for the last two years of high school, I began to try even more foods like clam chowder and Maine lobster. Our cafeteria had a flat top gril behind the buffet area (sounds so swanky when I put it like that...) and anyone was allowed to make fried egg sandwiches. I think I had eggs every day I was there - we will see how that turns out later in life, but at the time it was amazing. Then I realized how much ranch dressing really allows you to eat any vegetable. I used to eat a cup of sliced tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, peppers and celery and just dip it in ranch - how I stayed a size 4 those days is definitely due to playing soccer and basketball year round.

My family went to Italy for Christmas when I was 16 years old. That trip changed my entire life. My aunt planned the entire trip around food - she researched every single place we ate at - and thank god because it was incredible. That trip inspired me to learn more about food, religion, history, archaeology, and classical Roman literature. I became a Classical Archaeology major in college and ended up studying abroad in Sicily. Living with other people and having access to an amazing open air market inspired me to cook almost every night. I ate prawns, swordfish, pistachio risotto, and gelato (probably way too much gelato, but it was worth it).

After graduating from college I moved home, but my boyfriend at the time lived two hours away. When I would go to visit him we would cook a lot. Sometimes I'd try my mom's recipes, he would cook his favorite dishes and we would test things out. It was fun and we ate like kings. Then we broke up and I moved to Charlotte, NC with a family friend. She had a great kitchen and we would cook a lot. After she helped me get on my feet and feel like an adult, I moved into an apartment by myself and I started cooking all the time. It was fabulous having a Dean & Deluca, Trader Joe's and Harris Teeter all 5 minutes from my apartment.

Then I made a decision on law school and I found myself in the middle of no where. The town is equipped with one grocery store, two gas stations, 3 restaurants that aren't fast food, 7 or 8 fast food establishments, and no bars (the last bar burnt down before I got here). It is great for studying and focusing on the law, but it fairly depressing if you have lived in a slightly populated area. So, with no where to go besides a few places, I really started cooking and experimenting, using my friends/fellow classmates as lab rats. Camera phones gave me a new purpose - take a picture of something delicious and awesome and send it to everyone you know "We had this and it was f-ing awesome. Sorry I'm not Sorry bout it. BYE" (hahah.) I have been cooking and posting my creations on facebook (before I got rid of it for exams) and people started asking me for recipes - and I was like "ummm what recipe?" I usually call my mom and have her run down how she generally does something and go from there. My goal is always to make it as well as she does, or for it to taste as awesome. So far, only a few epic fails (that brisket frittata was a horrible mistake and making rice requires a measuring cup).

So this blog, is going to be about stuff I make as a law student. Just because you might be face down in a book about Property, Constitutional Law or Professional Responsibility (etc.), doesn't mean that your tongue can't have an adventure away from arguing or living in the library.

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