Writing a dissertation, teaching, and raising a family is hard work. Food (and reading about food) keeps me sane. It is also a fantastic procrastination technique! In fact, prior to writing this short bio, I felt the need to 1) clean out my refrigerator 2) roast a chicken and 3) start a pot of lentil soup. Want to come over for lunch?
In all seriousness, my name is Gina Riley – Daly, and I grew up loving food. In kindergarten, on my first day of school, my Italian Nana packed me a cold eggplant parmesan hero and a thermos of coffee with cream and sugar. We got a home visit later that week (a kindergartener? Caffeine? What was my Nana thinking?) but I continued to bring homemade meals to school, savoring every bite!
My Nana died when I was eight, and the rest of my school years were a blur of fast food and, on the other end of the spectrum, diet treats. Fat free cookies and sugar free ice cream became my staples. My mom (who I love so much! Hi Mom!) cooked occasionally, but not like my Nana. Food became unimportant.
And then my son was born. Like any new mom, I wanted only the best for him. And so, as soon as he could start solids, I started cooking. I went to the Farmer’s Market with him on my back, in a baby backpack, choosing farm fresh vegetables. Twelve years ago, the Farmer’s Market wasn’t as popular as it is now, but it was our home. The farmers literally watched my son grow up!
Now my son is with me in the kitchen, cooking away. My teen enjoys cooking just as much as he enjoys eating – which is a lot! Food blogs have become conversation starters; and we fight over the Dining/Food sections of the newspaper. To me, food is the beginning of the ultimate expression of love. I cook to nurture. I cook to nourish.
That being said, I think it’s obvious I don’t go out to eat much! But Hudson Valley Restaurant Week seems like an excellent time to start. And the chance to eat and then write about the food I’ve enjoyed….priceless!