I’m Martine. I share my home, and my life, with a Boston terrier, Rocco, and a deaf American Pitbull Terrier, Nola.
I grew up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, without realizing for a very long time that some people went to a supermarket to buy their food. At my house, we were surrounded by six acres of “groceries.” The fruits we loved grew on trees in our garden, our eggs were laid fresh every morning, our goats and chickens roamed the yard, and the milk lived inside Lala, our cow.
My earliest food memory is of going to my great-grandmother’s farm and sitting on her lap, as she rocked on her favorite chair, puffing on her pipe, shelling peas for dinner. I remember being fascinated by how fast her fingers flew over the bowl! The foundation of my childhood was built on the aromas and sounds of food, as ingredients were chopped, fried, grilled, steamed, seasoned, and in some instances, slaughtered. This was accompanied by the orchestra of loud voices, joke telling, and laughter bursting from my mother, aunts and grandmother, all part and parcel of creating a meal.
Cooking was, and still is, a group effort, and meals were to be shared by as many people as possible. In fact, until our move to the US, I don’t remember having a single meal that consisted simply of my parents, my brother and me. This might be why it’s almost impossible for me to cook for less than a crowd! Years later, from my childhood home to my parents’ house now in CT, though the landscape is now radically different, the cacophony of smells and sounds remains the same in my parents’ kitchen, and now in my kitchen.
So this is me. I’m culinary school trained, though not constrained. I have a day job that I love, which feeds my brain, while enabling me to feed my soul by giving me the opportunity to travel, and to devour food from almost every corner of the globe. I’ll try any food twice, the first time to taste it, and the second to decide how much I like, or dislike it; except for durian. I only needed to try that once. I love to cook and share meals with people I love, or at least like.
I don’t eat leftovers, unless it’s Chinese or pizza. I dislike olives, dill, and pickles, and will never use them in any recipe. I recently discovered that I love whiskey, so that’s now a thing. I have never had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I have pedestrian tastes in chocolate and prefer milk over dark. If you cook me a meal, even with the deadly trifecta of olives, dills and pickles, I will be grateful and eat it anyway, because any food that is cooked by someone’s hands deserves to be appreciated.
Thirty years and thousands of miles later, I am as fast at shelling peas as my great-grandmother was, and thanks to her, I have an appreciation for the aroma of freshly picked tobacco leaves.
I welcome you into my kitchen to share stories about food and about life; to laugh a lot, and maybe cry a little, but most of all to eat!
Martine, Rocco and Nola
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