Jim

I began my obsession with food in 1999, when I discovered a new room in my apartment, the “kitchen.”  For the first time in my life, I had free reign over what came out of that space. I had always just eaten what others had given me. I certainly enjoyed going out, but I never really had an appreciation for food until I started working with it myself.

I have always been one to pick up a new hobby or activity, jump whole heartedly into it, obsess over it, then drop it promptly after that. Computer games, woodworking, interior decorating, reading, rock collecting, screeing (dirt skiing…yes, dirt skiing),  they all saw their 15 minutes of fame in my life, but never really stuck around. I was sloppy with a saw, and only had patience for about the first 10% of any book. Food was different. Food was something, as it turned out, I was good at. I never felt creative until I started cooking. 

I began cooking in earnest for my now wife, Amy, just after graduating from college. I started with a couple of cookbooks given to me by my mom, “Colorado Collage,” and ” Sunset Mexican” . My favorites were cooked first, such as  fajitas, chili, and chicken casserole. But then one dish dinners turned into two courses, then three, five, then 10.

Cooking throughout grad school, I managed to gain nearly 50 pounds. Granted, I went from too skinny to too fat. But I enjoyed getting there. I discovered two paths to pleasing those I cooked for:  cook a lot (of courses, that is), and use a lot of butter and cream. Amy managed to stay relatively thin and healthy, I didn’t. 

I also visited restaurants with a new point of view. I no longer ate at restaurants with “value” in mind. The buffets and huge portions no longer were most appealing, but rather the taste. I also began appreciating more than what was on the plate. The art of service, the ways that restaurants operate, how they work to appeal to the customer. Amy and I ate when we traveled, and appreciated regional differences in cuisine.

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Throughout our exploration of food, Madison was, and still is, our home base. We have come to fully appreciate the restaurant scene here in Madison. For a town of its size, it offers a multitude of tastes. And although it is certainly no New York or San Francisco (two places to which we have traveled and loved eating in), Madison spoils us.

So, we blog because we love food, we love restaurants, and we love Madison. We only hope you have the same loves we do, and that you might find what we have to say worth the time in reading.

Amy

I never really gave food any thought until I moved to Madison.  I ate to sustain myself and never thought about taste, where it came from, or how it could be better.  I grew up in a house where cooking was a burden and flavor and spices did not play a role.  No wonder I didn’t revel in food! 

Going to the Farmer’s Market here in Madison connected me with the people who grow my food.  The quality that comes from having something local and organic became real for me, as did the flavor potential.  Seriously is there anything better than local organic tomatoes at their peak?

I spend a lot of time feeling for others and existing in potenital; a lot of time in my mind.  Experiencing food and restaurants connects me with sensing and thinking parts of my personality.  I can use all my senses and hone them while critiquing the food and the establishment.  Restaurants are food theater.  They are an experience more than just a place.  Food is also more than a form of  physical nourishment.  It is a cultural expression, a celebration,  a connection to our earth, our community and each other.  It nourishes every part of me.

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