My determination to share thoughts on food and entertaining was stimulated, like many food writers, by my mother’s passion to provide quality meals for the family. It was my Mom that saw that her children were exposed to fine meals and quality dining experiences from an early age. Her technique in accomplishing this was slightly different than that practiced by most loving mothers.
My mother’s influence was not provided by us watching her loving preparation of a sauce to enhance the meal we would soon be eating. She was a loving mother but her interest in cooking was minimal. When growing up we ate out at least 3 or 4 times every week. We are not talking fast food here, we are talking about going to restaurants with varying specialties and quality service. This is not to say that meal preparation did not take place during the week. In the afternoon about 4 o’clock the phone would ring and my father was calling from his office to discuss dinner plans and timing. A serious meal discussion took place which included provisions for time to do homework either before or after the meal depending where we were going to eat.
Sunday was special. After church we would be in the car for a several hour ride through the countryside to a country inn or a hotel in a nearby city for Sunday dinner. In the Winter we often drove to Atlantic City to eat at the Chalfont Haddon Hall Hotel in the days before gambling changed the resort..
Every Wednesday was a fixed plan. We ate at a fine German restaurant called the Schwartzwald Inn run by the Trautz family. We went there so regularly that as a kid I was not sure whether they really weren’t Irish relatives with a slightly different accent than the one my Grandma had brought with her from County Cork.
With this youthful experience I was amazed after dating Dorothy for some time when she suggested that instead of going out to dinner I come over to her place and she would make dinner. What a revelation that was. Here was a person who actually could prepare the kind of meal that I thought only appeared through swinging doors on a tray.
You now can probably figure out that Buck Cooks is a family partnership as our kitchen has become. Now everyone cooks and one son owns a very busy successful restaurant. My wife is an imaginative cook and I am a critic who has learned to cook through the years.
The Marriot’s had a hand in my food knowledge education. I went through their restaurant management training program after college. It was a great program run by great people. That experience taught me a lot, including the revelation that, managing a corporate owned restaurant was not for me.
The business I finally did pursue enabled us to continue to experience fine dining in the U.S. and Europe but Dorothy’s idea of a family meal at home became an important part of raising children and getting to know our grandkids very well. They still show up frequently at our dinner table high in the Rocky Mountains.