Wow…. where do we begin? My partners in crime and I were chatting on Skype one night and discussed how we wanted to attack the “about” page in a way that would fit each of our personalities and outlooks on food. I mean.. we all love it, and it’s clear that all of us have probably indulged in a bit too much as well. We decided that we’d each write a bit to share our own personal flavor and vision for UltimateFoodie.com

Karen’s Take:

Hello there and welcome! I’m Karen and I’m more of the gourmet sort. I do enjoy trying new tastes and dishes and while exotic isn’t always a palate pleaser for me, I just adore the exquisite. I love a dichotomy of foods, from the fancy, pretentious and snobby to the fun, simple, and traditional.

Karen Garcia - Living it up in Vegas at the Palms Growing up, food was always a major part of family life. If you came to visit, you simply had to eat. That’s the way it worked. I spent hours in the kitchens of my great-grandmother Mimi, my grandmothers Chris and Kay, and my mother Leah. I learned to make all our family traditional meals…cinnamon spaghetti, Scottish shortbread, homemade chicken noodle soup, Mimi’s sauerkraut (an incredible dish and closely guarded family secret)…as well as learning to can fresh fruits and veggies and make jams and jellies. My grandparents Bill and Chris Moore had a sheep ranch in Eastern Oregon that evolved into Oregon Trail Beef, an organic cattle ranch, owned by two of my uncles. A family cousin on my dad’s side, Dominic Dulcich, owns Pacific Seafood and most of my relatives at one time or another worked the fish counter or freezer there. Although I never had the pleasure myself, I was regaled with their “fish” tales over dinners of fresh seafood whenever I was in Portland visiting family. During college, I took up baking and found I have a panache for making breads and pastries.

I didn’t really “get into” food until I took a marketing job at a gourmet dessert company in 1999. While there, I was involved in just about every aspect of the business, from helping develop new products and packaging to attending industry events like the Fancy Food Show (a gastronomical delight), to working the line packing boxes during major holidays in seemingly endless shifts. When I began there, I was one of less than ten employees and when I left six years later, it was a multi-million dollar a year business, shipping gourmet chocolate dipped strawberries across the country.

In addition to my dessert addiction, a few years ago, just to entertain myself, I took a few Wilton cake decorating classes and loved it. I’ve taken to making cakes for friends for special occasions and weddings as well as my own kids’ birthdays and holidays. I’ve found it a soothing creative outlet, not to mention tasty! Someday, I’d like to take a pulled sugar class or maybe a full blown pastry course at a bona fide cooking school.

Overall, I love to bake and cook. There’s just one thing I just can’t seem to make right…rice. Never got the hang of it.

Joel’s Take:

JoelI’m the one that knows how to make rice. Is that why my wife married me? Let’s hope not, but while Karen enjoys the exquisite and Wade the exotic, I appreciate the everyday. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I won’t eat bugs or don’t enjoy fine dining. Cooking as a bachelor for ten years and another eight years appeasing the appetites of our young children has helped me develop the knack for whipping up tasty meals quickly and inexpensively.

If you think about it, most of what we enjoy eating everyday is not fancy or expensive. It’s what you come home to at the end of a long day. It’s rice and beans, fried chicken, stroganoff, spaghetti…it’s the vegetables you always have on hand, the vanilla ice cream you keep in the freezer. Our everyday tastes are a large part of who we are, our past. Between the old family recipes and cultural heritage, there are the recipes acquired from close friends, your spouse’s family and heritage, the occasional thing you saw on TV or tore from a magazine. By and large, we are creatures of habit. Deliciously tasty habits.

Growing up in my house, the conversation spot was the kitchen. I remember sitting on the counter in the kitchen talking with my brother, sisters and mom while she made dinner. We never really asked her what ingredients she was using, but we had a home cooked meal every night. Nothing came from a mix or a box. It was all from scratch, still is. It taught us an appreciation for everyday cooking. I love our traditional family recipes…we often ate delicious enchiladas, chicken mole with rice, tamale pie, and there’s nothing like slapping tamales for four hours to whet your appetite for the first one out of the steamer.

I love anything done to a potato, perhaps that’s the Irish in me, and growing up in an almond orchard, I have a fondness for nuts. And cheese. And bread. And garlic. And now I’m hungry…

To sum it up, there are a ton of wonderful ways to enjoy food simply…I’m off to raid the fridge.