Welcome to the Island

My name is Marie, and I’m a foodie.  Welcome to my domain – my island in the sun, so to speak … except that my island sits in the middle of a high-end grocery store.  It’s where I meet people, talk to them about dishes and ingredients, hand out recipes, give menu and cooking advice, and generally try to help people make the best of what they buy to eat.  I love food and I enjoy cooking, so it makes me happy to share what I know.  Besides, most people would rather eat well than eat badly, given the choice.  It’s just that so many of us reheat these days rather than cook, so it’s not really surprising that folks need a helping hand now and then.  I’m glad to provide that (and a few recipes).

dj-sweetmarie-color-photo4 115pxI’m a demo chef, and I love working with food, talking about food, cooking, eating, and sharing what I know about all of that.  I also happen to be a journalist, photographer, occasional deejay, and historian, so reading, researching and writing about food comes naturally to me.  So does presentation (my ex-husband in what seems by now another life was a commercial photographer, and I often functioned as his food stylist).   By now, I’ve been cooking for well more than 30 years and trying to learn something new about food every day.  It’s been fun – and delicious.

I started at my mother’s side at about age 8, when I began helping her make hors d’oeuvres on Friday nights for my dad’s chess-playing or bridge-playing friends.  We’d pull out the Ritz crackers, rye bread, pumpernickel, hard boiled eggs, mustard, butter, cream cheese, canned anchovies and whatever else we might have had in the house – sometimes salmon caviar or tiny cooked shrimp, sometimes cheeses and sausages, pâté, pickled herring, smoked fish, olives, cocktail tomatoes, baby dill pickles or capers – and decide how many different tasty things we could make with what we had.  We tasted each combination before putting it on the platter – not every creation was successful – then presented them as attractively as we could.  Those were my first lessons in combining ingredients.  More sophisticated ones would come a few years later, when I began collecting all kinds of exotic cookbooks paid for by my allowance (‘exotic’ in our house meant anything that wasn’t plain and simple Lithuanian fare, given that my family members were post-World War II displaced immigrants).  By the time I went off to college, I was well prepared to fend for myself.

You, dear readers, don’t have to wait that long:  you can profit from my many years of experience, both the successes and the inevitable failures that led to better results the next time.  This blog shares all the recipes that I create, revise or adapt and then hand out at my island every week.  I try to match them to what’s fresh or on sale that weekend, but sometimes I take off in another direction.  I hope you’ll enjoy traveling the world of food with me on my happy little island.  And now, let’s go to it!



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