Most of the inspirations for my recipes are of Italian, Asian or Indian origin, a product of my New York childhood, where the public transportation system allowed me to wander the city at will. As any native will tell you, New York is not one large city, but rather a collection of neighborhoods all crowded up next to each other. As a young teen there was no greater adventure to me than to explore those neighborhoods and discover some new (to me) ethnic enclave and its indigenous cuisine. My culinary style tends to lean towards those cultures predominant in New York, although I have also studied European, African and Middle Eastern cuisines as well.
Cooking has always been a big part of my life. My parents both loved to cook, and the heart and soul of our house was the kitchen. Now, my folks didn't cook like other kids parents, who made 10 or 15 meatballs. No, in our house meatballs were made in batches of 200 or more - 30 for dinner and the rest to be neatly packed away by my overly organized mother and frozen in the huge freezer in the basement. And when it came to making sauce, that was an all day project, requiring the presence of my aunt and grandmother to help my folks create 60 gallons of thick red liquid gold, again neatly sealed, labeled and placed in the freezer. From a young age our freezer was the Mecca of food in our home. Actually, it was more like Fort Knox, because the freezer had a lock. And for good reason: there were five young boys in the house. Luckily I learned how to pick that lock at a very early age. I would sneak into the basement and help myself to a meatball or eight, run up the stairs like a spy on a secret mission and pop the in the oven for a quick treat.
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