When I think about the people who have influenced me in my interest in food, I have to think back to when I was a teenager. You may be thinking my Home Economics teacher, but you would be wrong. We were only allowed to cook after we passed all the modules on food knowledge ie. the four food groups. I was so bored with the theory that, by the time I got to cook, I was only able to make Jello chocolate pudding which is barely considered cooking and that was on the last day of the term, so I never even got to make the second recipe, a grilled cheese sandwich. Who came up with this curriculum, Pee Wee Herman?
Then one weekend, a very special lady came to visit us from England. Mrs. Fisher was the wife of my Mom’s piano teacher when she had studied music in London. I loved her accent, her gentle manner, and her elegance. But above of all, it was her passion for food and sharing it that made an indelible impression upon me. She taught cooking as a form of therapy to the mentally challenged, and gave me a crash course on the weekend of her visit. What stood out was the lesson on baking bread.
Shortly after she left I had a sleepless night and decided to exercise my newly acquired skills. I looked up a recipe for cinnamon buns. And, in the stillness of the night surrounded by silence I handled the smooth mound of dough, turning it and pressing the heel of my hand into the yielding dough. I repeated this movement over and over until it felt like a chant performed by my hands. The art of baking is far superior to yoga in my mind!