A quote by James Beard: "Food is our common ground, a universal experience."

What’s your food comfort level?

Conversations about food can start one way and then veer off in another. We were talking about what kind of foods are on the love it list and what are on the nope, not in this lifetime list.

“I’ll try anything three times,” she said. “Maybe the first time I didn’t like it, so I’ll try it a second time and after the third time, if I still don’t like it, I probably won’t eat it again.”

My reaction was wow, that’s more than what I typically do – someone willing to try anything at least three times isn’t in the same food comfort zone as me; I’m more one and done.

Full disclosure: This conversation was with the daughter of a world-class Tucson chef who was six-and-a-half-years-old at the time and who’s been cooking since she was three.

What’s your food comfort level? Is it filled with new adventures of spices and ingredients? Or is it the tried and true?

A few million years ago, once harnessing the use of fire for cooking, the hunter-gatherers’ food choices evolved from grasses, nuts and berries to meat, allowing vegetation to be set aside for later consumption.

In 1999, Lynn Olver (1958-2015) created The Food Timeline, a website documenting culinary and food history and recipes, becoming a major information source for culinary history.

Here are some fun facts helping create our food comfort zones:

• 250,000 years ago: Hearths for cooking appear
• 25,000 years ago: The fish-gorge, a kind of fishhook, appears
• ~9300 BCE: Figs cultivated in the Jordan Valley
• ~8000 BCE: Squash growing in Mexico
• ~3500 BCE: Beer produced in what is today Iran
• ~800: Watermelon reaches India; 1576: Spaniards bring watermelon to Florida
and before the 17th century, to Native Americans
• 1801: G. H. Bent Company starts producing Bent’s water crackers, one of the earliest branded foods
• 1835: Baking powder invented

On April 12, beekeeper and sommelier Noel Patterson returns for the always popular What’s the Buzz – Honey Tasting. Like wine, cheese and chocolate, honey has joined the ranks as an artisanal obsession. You’ll explore and learn how flowers and terroir affect its characteristics. Noel will empower you to trust your senses and be less analytical in your approach to flavors. You’ll also learn the flora and exact Southern Arizona and world origin locations.

The April 23 Cooking with the Wildcats – Food & Football with Coach Ricky & LaMonte Hunley is sold out.

We’re finalizing details for an April 10 Mexican Wine & Cheese Tasting.

Because every mother deserves the best, we’ve created a unique Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea to indulge, spoil, pamper, and show your mom just how much you love and appreciate her. Getting dressed up and wearing hats is encouraged! The 1884 Savoy Opera House is the setting, along with live classical guitar music, and three yummy courses of finger sandwiches, scones and sweets.

On May 23, it’s Italian Wines and Small Bites Tasting with Chef Devon Sanner at his restaurant, Zio Peppe. Stay tuned for the details.

I want to give a special thank you to the fabulous writer and author, Rita Connelly, who convinced me to leave my comfort zone and allow her to tell the Flying Aprons Tucson story. Huge thanks also to Tucson Foodie, the incredibly talented, generous and fun chefs, bakers, pastry chefs, mixologists who share their passion for all things food and hospitality with us home cooks, and to you for cooking with us, making my dream a reality.

Wishing you joy in the kitchen,

Zucchini Quiche
Yield: 6-8 servings

This recipe is visual art. It’s constructed, baked and when cut into wedges looks like a brick wall. It’s been in my food comfort zone for a long time.

Basic Shortcrust Pastry Dough
Yield: Two 9-inch crusts or one double crust

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter
Lemon juice
1-3 tablespoons iced water

1. Mix flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Sprinkle a few drops of lemon juice over it and a very small amount of iced water – absolutely no more than 3 tablespoons – and toss lightly until it begins to come together. Form into a ball and chill 20-30 minutes before rolling it out.
2. Lightly flour a surface for rolling and roll out quickly, making two circles slightly larger than the pie dish.


1. Prepare crust dough, combine cheeses and add ½ cup to the dough. Chill 20 minutes or so then press into a 10-inch pie dish. Chill again. Combine cheeses with breadcrumbs and set aside.
2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Wash zucchini and cut into ½-inch thick slices. Drop slices into boiling water for 5 minutes and drain.
3. Beat together yolks and sour cream; add chives, flour, salt and pepper. Beat whites with cream of tartar until stiff but not dry, then fold into sour cream mixture.
4. Arrange a layer of zucchini on the bottom of the crust, placing them edge to edge, then cover with a small amount of sour cream mixture. Continue building layers, make 2 or three until all used up. Cover the top with sour cream mixture. Sprinkle on cheese and breadcrumb mixture; dot with little slivers of butter.
5. Bake 10 minutes in a 450°F oven, then reduce heat to 325°F and bake 40 minutes. Serve hot.

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