Award Winning Cookbook Author
“Julee’s passion for food is contagious, not to mention her stories.”
~ Indianapolis Star
Julee Rosso Talks Farming & Food
“Cuisine is when things taste like themselves.” ~ Curnonsky
Long my favorite food quote, it’s more relevant now than ever. Today we need to spend a great deal of time sourcing food that is local, heirloom, organic, heritage, ecologically sustainable, and seasonal. All to make food taste like it is supposed to. It is the challenge of every good cook.
There are no substitutes nor shortcuts. There’s nothing like when foods taste like themselves. Then we coax them along to make them taste even better. When their flavors are concentrated they become explosive. “Wow, I never tasted anything that good,” always warms the cockles of my heart.
My love affair with food began as a child in Kalamazoo. My Dad was a weekend “gentleman farmer” with a huge organic garden, a herd of Black Angus, baby lambs, heritage chickens, turkeys and goats and thankfully, a farmer who made it all work. Dad always wanted us to eat real food grown responsibly. He had been raised on a farm and knew how food should taste.
“For is there any practice less selfish than preparing something delicious and nourishing for people you love?”
~ Michael Pollan
In the summer of ’65 on a vacation from college, I did the Grand Tour of Europe (on $5/ a day!) and discovered the food traditions of many countries. Those taste memories are as clear to me as if they happened yesterday. Then, in ’68, my eyes were opened wide to a new possibility . . . we could actually cook French food ourselves here in America! A friend gave me Julia Child’s The French Chef and I was entranced from the first recipe to the last. I cooked every one. And started cooking every chance I got.
Through Julia (who later became a real life pal) my love of cooking and cookbooks began. It was fueled by everything MFK Fisher. Then Roy Andries de Groot’s story of two Inn owners in the Valley of Chartreuse made me suddenly want to leave my Fashion Advertising job and go and chop carrots for them. I didn’t. Instead, by ’74 I was helping the Union Square Farmers’ Market find their farmers. And piling carrots for them.
Along the way an idea came to me. I wanted to make good food easy for busy New Yorkers. Everyone was too busy to cook during the week, and we all needed a little help pulling off a dinner party with any regularity. Especially me. Thus, The Silver Palate opened in July of 1977 with lines out the door. From that day on, my passion for good food exploded and has never waned.
To me, the very essence of cooking is flavor. Flavors are to food what hues are to color . . . each ingredient has its own particular character, altered by every other ingredient it interacts with. They are all enhanced by the cooking method used. Flavors can evoke images of far away places or wonderful memories of a great time. They can be subtle, or magnified, clean and clear, or mysterious. They may be wed in classic combinations or invented anew. Every time I cook is a new adventure. Today with the whole world at our fingertips, we can all travel through time and space with our taste buds at every meal. Every time I cook, I learn.
I have an insatiable curiosity and every day is a new opportunity to satisfy it . . . and my appetite at the same time. Every time I learn, I want to share it. And without fail, as I teach, I learn from others. That’s what makes cooking a never ending journey. And along the way, you get to make people happy.
I’ve written five cookbooks now with loads of book tours, tv and radio shows, magazine and newspaper articles and lots of awards. I was in the right time at the right place just as food became fascinating to all of America. I followed my passion and life has been good. I’ve been a very lucky gal from Kalamazoo. Now, if I could just have a farm . . . seriously! We don’t fall far from the tree.