I grew up in the West Virginia countryside on an acre of land with two gardens, and beyond that, woods. It was in those gardens that I was taught the importance of a good work ethic and developed an appreciation for fresh produce. We grew the majority of our own produce and either canned or froze the excess to eat through the woodstove-heated winters. This wasn’t a modern suburban garden. We had an entire garden dedicated to corn and potatoes, then another that had tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, asparagus, peas, green beans, carrots, et cetera.. Then there were the apple trees, a pear tree, the red raspberry patch, and also the blackberry patch.
The result of the availability of fresh ingredients was the ability to cook flavorful food. My mom cooked a family dinner every week night, and while it wasn’t always healthful it was definitely flavorful. Perhaps it’s that childhood experience and others like picking fresh black raspberries in the woods then coming home at dark to eat them in a bowl of milk with a little bit of sugar that I can credit my appreciation of my sense of taste to.
After college I began cooking for myself and it served a purely functional role, but after a few years I began to appreciate it in a different light. Cooking became a creative outlet and a time for me to be alone with my thoughts. Time after time, friends will tell me how I should be a chef, open a food truck, or be a bartender. They have experienced my recipes and know the time and effort that goes into them, but often do not understand my motivation. As much as I enjoy the process, I enjoy sharing the results with friends.
I recently made a trip back home to West Virginia and several people who I have not seen in years complimented me on the food I cook. In reality, all they know is that I am skilled in taking photos of food, not that the food itself tastes good. Out of my desire to allow others to enjoy the food I cook, I’ve decided to start The Humble Garnish to share these recipes.
Recipes will focused around a relatively new interest of mine – cocktails. Some recipes will be exclusively for a cocktail, others will be a food and cocktail pairing. Other recipes others will be baked goods featuring a special accent like one of my favorites, bourbon glazed banana bread.
Enjoy, ask questions, and challenge me as I try to share recipes I already love and to create new ones.