Being French, food it is a huge part of my culture. With a mother who also happens to be an excellent cook and a father with green fingers, my siblings and I grew up on delicious home cooked food, mainly harvested from my family’s large vegetable garden when the seasons allowed.
My mum however never imparted me with her knowledge (or perhaps as a bratty teenager I just didn’t ask) and by the time I moved to London at the age of 19 to pursue a University degree there, I could barely cook anything beyond rather delicious scrambled eggs (the secret is to undercook them a little and add a generous glob of heavy cream at the end).
I quickly met my first serious boyfriend who, thankfully for me, was a good cook and happily fed me while I took on sous-chef duties. After a little while however, our roles in the kitchen started to shift – I think that I wanted to experiment with more styles of food and was perhaps also missing my mum’s french cooking, so as we moved in together I took a more active part in menu planning and cooking, until I was mostly the one doing the cooking with my boyfriend helping with prep. We loved hosting friends and family over, which is very much how I grew up as well – my parents routinely hosting lunches and dinners most weekends. And still to this day.
But that all changed when I moved to New York City (this time single) nearly 9 years ago – I stopped cooking entirely. This is not unusual in a city where home kitchens are usually tiny but also where there is an abundance of amazing restaurants. It is very much part of the culture here to go out for nearly every meal, especially at the weekends with their long boozy brunches. And when not going out, there are myriads of food delivery options even from some of the best restaurants in town.
I did host Thanksgiving a couple of times (but had done a potluck) in my first few years and even cooked a couple of dinners for friends on special occasions but that was the extent of my culinary efforts.
Until two years or so ago when I decided to have 6 friends over for Sunday lunch. I had found a recipe that sounded very easy and I always love spending time with friends and bringing people together. Hosting that lunch reminded me of how much I love the process of coming up with a menu, making sure it is cohesive and balanced, prepping the food and of course the cooking itself. I even like making lists of groceries! I also prefer hosting lunch instead of dinner because that leaves us more time to spend together – that way we can wile the afternoon away into the evening: chatting, drinking wine and usually nibbling at a large cheese platter after the main meal.
I have since hosted quite a few lunches and this year I have gotten more confident and adventurous in what I am making – adding a couple of amuse-bouche or appetizers before the main meal and tackling larger pieces of meat which had always intimidated me in the past.
This blog is meant to document a few past lunches and hopefully a lot more upcoming Gourmet Sundays!