My biggest food influence was my mother. In our family we called her Lucretia. She was without question the absolutely worst cook on the face of the earth. Because of her cooking I was forced to learn how to prepare food that would not kill anyone. The really horrible thing was that my father was in the wholesale meat business. He’d bring home the finest steaks, chops, roasts — everything, and my mother would incinerate it all.
I’ll never forget going on sick call when I was in basic training. I’d been there for a week and I noticed that there was something wrong, but couldn’t figure it out. As it turned out, what was wrong was that my heartburn had disappeared as a result of the wonderful Air Force food.