Ash took me for an impromptu dinner at the gorgeous Rumi in Brunswick (certainly we were lucky to get a seat, cosied up as we were at the window) and the energy of the place made me bubble up with enthusiasm and excitement. There is nothing quite like aniseed-y Arak and tangy labne to ease the mood into a pleasant sense of wonder. As we sat and lazily picked at the last remaining morsels of spiced goat and wondered if we could replicate the amazing salt mix at home, a realisation dawned on me. Food is best when it is served with passion. Pure, deep passion. Knowledge and flair also help- but passion for the food at hand is certainly the driving force. A desire to share with others food that has influenced your life and your experiences.
I spend all my spare time looking into the food of other cultures, searching for the best food experience that I can find. I fritter away countless hours playing with interesting food in my own kitchen and dabbling in the history of any new flavour that takes my fancy- but I have never once showed any real interest in the cultural food roots of my own geneaology. This surprises and somewhat horrifies me when I think of all the personal history that I have chosen to overlook in favour of what (at first glance only) seems to be more 'exotic food'.
I have a terrible problem that I like to call 'information anxiety'. When I have an interest in somehting, I need to find out as much as I can about it- read up, look into, test, poke at- but I am somehow always deeply convinced that I am reading or looking at the wrong thing, that there is something better out there that will give me a clearer insight into my new found interest, and I panic. I create within myself a sense of frantic searching... I drown myself in the facts... I wallow about in the new information and flail around at the sensations and flavour....and I love it- it's a self perpetuating cycle that leads me ever onwards to more discoveries, more 'information anxiety' and I live my life with a certain sense of panic that there is always too much to know about food and never enough time!
And so right here right now, I set myself a new course. One that will certainly wander from time to time- but one that I believe I owe to myself. To stop ignoring the food of my own heritage and to embark on a conscious exploration of it instead. To embrace the food of my family and its roots and to try and find the pockets that have influenced it along the way. I am heading out to 'find Dutch'- and this time I vow to look beyond the cheese! It will be an effort make a methodical rediscovery of my heritage, a chance to take the time and not panic- A chance to take another look at the foods that I have long taken for granted.