I grew up in a household with 6 siblings. Dinner time was always made in large portions of either Italian or PA. Dutch meals. My parents taught me to be independent in everything I do including learning how to cook for myself. When I got married my wife knew nothing about cooking so I ended up being the chef in the family. Since she is vegetarian it became a challenge to come up with meals she could eat and that I would enjoy sans the occasional meat dish for myself. My desire to cook bottomed out for a few years until I bought a grille and smoker last year. With renewed interest I've stocked the shelves with at least 50 different spices and herbs for making anything Italian, Indian, Middle Eastern or Southern US. I love experimenting with homemade marinades,dry rubs and sauces. I find the more seasoned and flavorful a dish is the less you need to eat to be satisfied until the next meal. I've found it difficult in the past year to enjoy eating out unless we go to ethnic restaurants. It's hard to find an American restaurant in small cities that serves both flavorful meat and vegetarian meals without costing a fortune to dine there. Most chain restaurant food is predictably bland and smothered in salt, processed cheese or corn syrup flavoring. When I'm not trying to concoct new recipes or finding ones we can both eat I bide my free time as blues musician and build and repair harmonicas for pro and semi-pro musicians. My passion for emotional music such as jazz and blues carries over into my cooking. Food should be savored, not passed off as something we need just to get us through the day. If your meal is forgettable so will your ability to suppress your appetite between meals IMHO.