10 March 2010

Author Bio: Elizabeth Engel

Hi there! I got into this because my spouse, Jim (aka "Chef Spouse") came up with the idea.

My history with loving food goes back a long way.  Some of my earliest food memories include:

Going to the Kimberton Country House with my grandparents. They introduced me to fine dining early (i was probably around 7 years old the first time we went), so I learned proper table manners, how to behave my rambunctious self in a nice restaurant, and how to order off a REAL (as opposed to from a clown's mouth) menu.

Ordering Veal Marsala at the Vale-Rio as a kid - much to the surprise of the waitress - and eating it all.

Meeting my dad in Center City Philadelphia and going to Bookbinders for oysters.

Speaking of my dad, his huge vegetable garden which, as a kid, I did not fully appreciate.  Too much work.

Vacationing in Maine at about the age of 10 and, for the first time, eating as much lobster as I wanted. The fact that the restaurant was a picnic table place overlooking the water, and the lobster boats, didn't hurt.

Anyway, other than a flirtation with vegetarianism (that lasted 10 years), I've always been an adventurous eater. I attribute it to my folks, who always said that we had to try one bite of everything, but if we didn't like it, we didn't have to eat any more.  As an adult, there is literally NOTHING I won't eat.  Sure, there are some things I like better than others - who doesn't? - but you know those people who are like, "I won't eat anything purple"?  Not me. Jeffrey Steingarten thinks he ate everything?  Me, too, and I wasn't an ass while I was doing it.

Some culinary highlights include:

My first chili half-smoke at Ben's after abandoning vegetarianism
Omakase at Morimoto
Omakase at Makoto
Dinner at the Inn at Little Washington
The year my New Year's resolution was to dine at all the Washingtonian's Top 100 restaurants in DC I hadn't yet eaten at
Lunch at La Tour d'Argent in Paris
Dinner at Ristorante Santini in Milan in the pouring rain
The first time my baguettes came out right (another New Year's resolution)
My first taste of caviar (can't even remember when that was)
Mastering the technique for risotto (thank you, Roberto Donna)
Mastering the technique for roux (thank you, Jude Theriout)
Prejean's pheasant/quail/andouille gumbo

Anyway, welcome to our little project.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we will!

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