I’ve always had a love for preparing food for friends and family. Now, having a 1-year-old daughter has given me the opportunity to re-evaluate how I approach my world as a Culinary Parent.
Choosing the finest ingredients, is of utmost importance when I am preparing food for my little one: Mulling over produce, paying more for organic, and trying to decode ingredient labels so no Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) find their way into my shopping cart.
It wasn’t always that way! I think to better understand the food that I cook today as a Culinary Parent that you need to take a journey back with me at how I came to love food.
Some of my earliest and most fond memories are based around food. Of course, the family holidays — Christmas at my grandmother’s house was always quite the ordeal. She passed away when I was 6 years old but I can still perfectly remember countless meals in her kitchen or dining room. From her, I learned how love really does make a meal taste better.
My main Culinary Parent influence came from my mother and father. My mother does it all. You name it she can make it. She bakes. She grows fresh herbs in her garden for the meals she prepares and taught me how to balance flavors with acid. My father taught me what I feel to be the most important food lesson: To smell and taste your food as you cook it.
We were making spaghetti one Saturday night when I must have been around 7 years old. I wanted to help in the kitchen and both my parents were always ready to take the extra help. My dad was seasoning the sauce and I asked him what he was putting in? How much? And how did he know how much to put in? I was used to seeing my mother and grandmother cooking and they always had recipes they were following. He stirred the sauce (wooden spoon only for tomato sauce) and spooned out a little for me to taste. After I tasted it, he asked me what I thought it needed. Always the adventurer, I said, “it needs to be spicy.”
He gave me the cayenne pepper and I started to sprinkle it in. Before I got too carried away he had me taste again. Spicy!
But I wanted more. So a few more dashes and sprinkles and I had made my first real contribution to how the meal would taste. It felt great! Great because I learned that there was some independence to cooking.
From there, one of my first jobs was in a restaurant. One that would be the first of many. I have played the role of dishwasher, prep cook, bus boy, bartender, server, and manager of many different restaurants over the years. It gave me the opportunity to work with people from all over the world, and absorb so many influences. Over the years my cooking style has become a perfect blend of the influence of my parents. I love using recipes knowing they are a guideline. There are no absolutes in cooking. Baking, yes. But cooking gives you the freedom to play with your food. Some days I feel more savory. Others, sweet.
So with out further ado I would like to present a recipe.
Frozen Waffle French Toast
You will need this for one hungry person or two not so hungry people.
- 4 frozen waffles.
- 1 container of fruit on the bottom yogurt strawberry.(or flavor of your choice)
- 2 eggs.
- 1/4 cup milk.
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 6 fresh strawberries cut up.
- Whipped cream.
(You can make this a lower calorie breakfast if you substitute egg whites and skim milk and use a whole grain or wheat waffle.)
- First, beat eggs, milk, and 1/2 the container of yogurt (yogurt should be thoroughly mixed) in a flat bottom bowl (or any dish that allows the submersion of the waffle without bending)
- Pre-heat a skillet on med/high heat with butter.
- Next, prepare waffles as directed. I recommend on the lighter side.
- Then, place waffles In egg/yogurt mixture flipping over and saturating.
- Remove from egg mixture. Allow excess to drain off and place in pre heated skillet.
- Cook for 2 min per side checking to make sure they don’t burn.
- Once egg is cooked through – remove from pan to plate.
- Top with remaining yogurt whipped cream and strawberries and enjoy immediately.
About the author
Marc Anthony Patillo resides in New York City with his wife, Irene, and one year old daughter, Iliana. He has spent 17 years in the food and restaurant industry. He is also a certified yoga instructor and active Yogi. Born in Boston, he has to deal with the conflict of raising a child in NYC while trying to stay a true Red Sox and Patriots fan. His wife, being born in New York, is a Yankees fan and Brings balance to the forces of good and evil in our home.