It was 1997, and I was 5 years old. I was sitting on the living room floor of our one-story, three-bedroom house on Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, TX, a small desert town along the border. Our house was small, but so was I. We had a big TV, a comfy couch and our cable package included the Disney Channel — it was all a 5-year-old kid could ask for.
So there I was, sitting in our tiny living room, staring at our big TV, getting ready to discover my deep and undying love for food.
I was watching a show called Emeril Live, on a relatively new channel called the Food Network. There on the screen was a man as jolly as Santa Clause, but with a fiery Cajun spirit. He was throwing garlic into everything with reckless abandon. Two, three, four cloves of garlic — you can never have too much garlic. People were cheering, a jazzy band was playing, and, “BAM!”
Literally. I was hooked.
Emeril, Wolfgang, Sara, Bobby; soon I was tuning into every episode, hanging onto every word. I was learning to sear meat, deglaze pans and always season and taste as you go. Food Network was now as enthralling to me as my beloved Disney Channel.
First, I would inflict my newfound knowledge on my mom. No more of that neon orange macaroni and cheese out of a box. Artichokes, lobster, chocolate soufflé, Spanish tortilla with garlic aioli. The sky was the limit. She and I began our culinary adventure together.
In a year we’d be moving to another tiny house in another state, but my passion wouldn’t diminish. We’d go on to move six more times before I started college, and every house in every state would hold new memories of my family and I sharing in this journey together. Cooking, eating, laughing and storytelling.
Today, the adventure continues, but this time, I’m sharing it with my two rescue dogs (mama Penny and her baby girl Smokey) and of course, you!