Full name: Janet Majure
E-mail me: janet/ at/ foodperson.com
Paying job: Freelance writer and editor, and part-time office person—with benefits!
Fabulous food memories: First-time tasting fresh-squeezed orange juice; first time tasting homemade peach melba; family meals in general; holiday meals at my grandparents’ house; eating delicious meal after delicious meal on my honeymoon in France.
Favorite meat: No favorite. I like meat; I just don’t get excited about it.
Favorite fruit: Apples, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes. (Who can pick just one?)
Favorite vegetable: Broccoli, lightly steamed with a little salt. Love the taste, texture. color. I even like the stalk, which some people seem to think is icky.
Vegetables I eat only to be polite: Canned peas.
Favorite dinner growing up: Fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. Especially the mashed potatoes and gravy.
Processed crap I can’t manage to live without: Unbleached white flour, non-whole-grain pasta.
Most embarrassing cooking incident: Probably some time when I didn’t make enough food for guests, but I probably should have been most embarrassed the time I dumped a cake upside down on the kitchen floor when trying to remove it from the pan—and I served it, anyway.
Most traumatic food experience: Getting eel (in France) when I was expecting some sort of mundane freshwater fish. It looked like sausages in brown gravy but had bone down the middle and didn’t taste like sausage.
Has your cooking ever made anyone sick? Only if you count the time my late husband feasted on the brie crust I’d trimmed from a substantial hunk o’ brie and he broke out in hives.
Food background: My mother exercised thrift while availing herself from time to time of the culinary wonders popularized in the 1950s and 1960s such as dishes made from Campbell’s cream of whatever soup or Jell-O. Nevertheless, we ate balanced meals consisting of meat or chicken, potatoes or rice, a green vegetable, a salad, and ice cream for dessert, sometimes cookies or cake. After-school snacks were apples, carrots, or graham crackers (and I still love all three), and once a week we watched “Saturday Night at the Movies” and ate popcorn with Pepsi—a big treat back when soda pop came only in returnable glass bottles. In my youthful experience, all fish came in cans or stick form, except the trout caught on vacation in Colorado. Sunday dinner was at noon or soon thereafter, and Sunday night’s supper was grilled cheese and tomato soup.
This simple and sensible, but not bland, cuisine made me want to try it and branch out. I started with (from scratch) brownies and pies and in college learned to make whole meals. I went vegetarian for a few years in my 20s. Eventually, and partly due to my late husband’s enthusiasm, I became a pretty good cook, if I do say so. My daughter, however, taught me that some people think blandness is a virtue. (She’s finally breaking out of that.)
Joining the Rolling Prairie Farmers Alliance subscription organic produce program (a form of CSA) more than a decade ago reintroduced me to the joys of eating locally grown produce. I’ve added organics bit by bit over the years, and only recently started eating local chicken and meat, although I don’t eat a lot of it. I never make fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. Guess I should. I still eat tuna and salmon from cans and other (non-stick-form) frozen fish. The Midwesterner in me just never learned to savor shellfish, though I’ll eat it, so in that respect I’ve been eating local all my life.
After writing about cooking for years for newspapers, I started my blog, foodperson.com, in March 2007. I’ve been amazed at how much fun it is.