Food inspiration

My family lives by the ancient adage that we eat “anything with four legs and a back facing the sky.” Following our motto, I subconsciously prioritized red meat in all of the meals I cooked. This summer changed everything. I shifted away from this common theme in favor of healthier and tastier options.

This summer, I spent a month and a half navigating Europe on a cross-country food and sights tour. Inspired by the myriad of different cultures and dishes, I experimented with my cooking when I returned home. I made seafood risotto in an effort to emulate the creamy and flavorful rice that melted on my tongue in Italy; cauliflower rice loosely inspired by the fluffy bread expected at the beginning of European meals; carrot and cucumber “spaghetti” to mimic crisp julienned vegetable salads; carrot cake and oatmeal cookies to use up the several pounds of carrots my mom purchased because they were on sale.

I can’t say everyone loved everything I made (especially the cookies), but I found joy in the uncertainty and fun that came with experimentation. I may never pursue a profession in the culinary field, but that won’t stop me from creating at home!  --  from a Howard County teen