Family Matters, etc

I have decided to do a post on me, myself, and I. This came after someone emailed me and asked me “what exactly are you?” This was in reference to me saying, again, that I am blah blah blah after my visit to Marrakesh (a Moroccan place in Los Angeles). I was born and raised in Los Angeles and find myself to be a quintessential California girl. But ethnically, I am a mutt of mutts… and find myself connected to so many cultures in different ways. Here is a breakdown:

My father is an immigrant from Morocco. He left when he was 16 to travel to France, where he learned how to cook. Eventually, he immigrated to America, met my mother, and had me and my sister. However, his father was Czechoslovakian, having met his Moroccan mother in Casablanca Morocco, marrying her and living there. So, ethnically I am 1/4 Moroccan and 1/4 Czechoslovakian.

My mother’s father is an immigrant from Russia, that came to America during the Bolshevik Revolution (he was very blond and blue eyed). My mother’s mother is a good old American woman; my family back east are all long standing Virginians. Essentially, a various mix of the old countries that made up Great Britain. Ethnically I am 1/4 Russian and 1/4 Great British. All this makes me one giant mutt.

My Mom, Me, My Dad on my graduation from UCLA
Most people say I look like my dad… But I can argue both parents
My mother (all the way to the left) and I and some family friends

My sister looks just like my mother when she was younger… scarey like my mother. Although, we both have the same large eyes. When people see us its always 50/50 “you do look alike” and “you don’t look alike.”

I can see both sides of the coin. When we were younger, we both looked like twins. But then I grew taller and became a darker version of her. Genetics are funny aren’t they ;)


Caroline and Maxim

Not to be forgotten, I also have 2 brothers from my dad’s second marriage. Diego will be 6 in December and Maxim was born on June 8th. They both melt my heart. I also am fortunate to have a lovely step-mom, Caroline. I am double lucky because she is also a culinary mastermind. My fondest memory of her cooking was Christmas 2 or 3 years ago, where she made this desert that was soaked pears in deliciousness and a sugar caramel decoration sticking out from the top. It was SO GOOD. This reminds me that I need to ask her to show me how to make it…

Diego’s second soccer game ever. I was sick, but had to go cheer him on!
Maxim looking so plump

Although I don’t work in food, food is a lot of my life. I probably spend 1/3 of my paycheck after rent and bills creating recipes, cooking, shopping for food, buying food Groupons, or going out to eat around Los Angeles. Whenever I feel sad, stressed, anything I cook. Its therapeutic. But ultimately, I have my parents to thank for that. Both of them have worked in food their entire lives, and I grew up eating some of the best things. I can’t have dinner at home without there being 3 kinds of cheese, a loaf of crusty bread, and a bottle of wine. Family dinner without it would just be absurd!

As I said before, my father learned the best of both cuisines being raised in Morocco and then moving to France. He took his culinary influence to America, owned a gourmet food company (which is why I am addicted to Orangina), and then sold it to open up his cafe. The cafe is in Los Angeles, called Cafe Midi. If you haven’t gone, you have to! It is delicious. And the best item on the menu is out now…. his pumpkin tart. My dad makes the tarts from scratch and it is definitely worth going to get.

My mother is equally as talented. Having been born in Ankara, Turkey as a naturalized American citizen (my grandfather worked for the US), she can make some of the best Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean food. On top of that, she has a culinary background in the best American and Southern cuisine from her family. Thanksgiving at my house is the best! And lastly, she is classically French trained. I really do not know what more you could ask from your mother in terms of what she can cook. I always had the best school lunches, so much so that people would always wait to see what I had and see if I wanted to share. And dinner at home was always home cooked, different, and exciting.

Just look at my Graduation Cake!!!!
I stole a Jelly candy from the corner before anyone could cut into it. I couldn’t resist!

Honestly, every night at dinner had a different theme. My birthdays always had the best food. The cakes were homemade by my mother. My father and mother made a spread that could feed kings. Throughout my childhood, I really never knew how I had it made. Not many people I knew ate the way I did. With my dad’s food business too, I know some of LA’s greatest chefs and restaurant owners on the French culinary scene. For all this I am so grateful. And also surprised I am not 200 lbs, but I had soccer to thank for that. All in all, if I was half as good at food as my parents, I would be so happy.

However your family inspires you, be inspired. Taking influence from your life and background is important to food. This is where you find love, and no food can be considered good without you cooking with love. Next time your mom or dad are in the kitchen making dinner, help them. If you have kids, ask them to join. Just, be inspired :)


One thought on “Family Matters, etc

  1. mamma bear says:

    This is one of the most touching family tributes I have ever read. It shows how every family is a mix of backgrounds and how much that affects what you eat and how that becomes part of the family traditions. Good food is part of love!

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