My Passion for food- By Steve Norton, The Inspired Chef

I developed a love and enthusiasm for food at an early age. This enthusiasm I feel about cooking is what passion means to me. I grew up in what I like to call the casserole era. I remember my mom taking typical dishes such as tuna or green bean casserole and adding her own ingredients such as fresh vegetables to make them a little bit more special. She also sometimes added fruit, nuts or cinnamon to the typical Jello mold. Being the mother of four boys, I know she made these dishes out of simplicity, but she taught me that food doesn’t have to be complicated to be special. We always had dinner on our good china, and she loved entertaining others with good meals. So, she raised me to appreciate the presentation and entertainment aspect that goes along with food.
When I began my education at the Culinary Institute of America, I was able to expand on what I had learned from my mother. My training helped me confirm that good food and entertaining can be married together. Yes, the food we eat should nourish our bodies, but it also offers the wonderful experience of being able to spend time with other people.
When you’re not entertaining, it is important to remember that you can express enthusiasm in your meals for yourself. For those of you who still think presenting your food in a visually pleasing way might be complicated, I’ll give you a few quick examples of things I sometimes do. Simply placing a portion of meat on a bed of rice rather than separating them can make a meal look more appetizing. I also enjoy keeping chopped red, green and yellow peppers and parsley on hand. Quickly adding these vibrantly colored vegetables to your meal not only makes it more visually appealing, it makes it more nutritious too.
Although, I have always been passionate about food, my perspective has changed a bit over the years as I have learned to live with diabetes and a physical disability. Now, it’s even more important to keep things simple. Before my disability, I used many different types of kitchen tools because I thought I needed them to make my job easier. My disability helps me realize what it is I really need. In reality, I need few tools to make a great meal. I also know that my passion for food doesn’t have to mean spending eight hours in the kitchen. Sometimes those days can be fun, but I know that I can be equally excited about a meal that I make in a short period of time with five simple ingredients.
If you think you’re not passionate about food, I would encourage you to do some exploring. We all know that food is a necessary part of our lives, but I think everyone can be passionate about food in one way or another. The key is to find an aspect of food you enjoy and then to develop your passion by exploring and making it meaningful for you. You might discover something great!
Steve Norton
“The Inspired Cook”

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