Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Why do YOU cook, Mary Ladd?

Peppers in a pan

Photo credit: Mary Ladd

I first discovered Mary Ladd's writing on her blog Jalapeno Girl a few years ago. She was a cooking school graduate who wrote about spicy food and more. At that time she was doing some catering and shared the good, the bad, and the downright ugly about creating and serving meals on a large scale. I enjoyed reading her insider stories about parties of all kinds and her accounts of dining on offal with the likes of Anthony Bourdain. While not a category, I was struck by how often nudity factored into her catering gigs whether at a nightclub or the famous Bay to Breakers race.

Now Mary writes frequently for the SF Weekly food blog, SFoodie and always manages to stay on top of tasty local food and happenings.

"Many of my best memories are food related, so I guess I am trying to recreate that. I cook because it is a way to continue learning about food and culture. Many of the foods I favor today are not ones I grew up with. My folks are great cooks but it is Americana type cuisine, heavy on the (BBQ) meat and potatoes or other starch.

One friend showed me how to roll my scrambled eggs in seaweed, and I was hooked. I first ate kimchee with her. Another explained how many types of matzo balls there are and the ways her own Mother used to make them. Even if people aren't the greatest cooks, they can share the dishes they love with me, and I will usually think about these stories --and by extension, them--when I recreate the dishes in the kitchen. Because I tend to always be thinking about food and cooking, learning new dishes keeps things interesting. "