With a name like Eaton, there was no way I could avoid a life driven by food.
Not driven in the sense that I’m always counting down the minutes until my next meal or spending my spare time raiding the fridge, but instead driven to experience and learn about food.
My father was born in Arizona and raised in Alaska, so growing up in Seattle my home-cooked meals were certainly more diverse and untraditional than some, to say the least. Of course I had the staple childhood hot dogs and mac and cheese, but every Christmas I also feasted on posole, the Mexican stew of pork and hominy. Not your typical Christmas meal.
I’m always on the hunt for something different; I never eat the same thing twice on a menu, and would much rather go to a new restaurant than stick with a time-earned favorite. My determination to be wowed by food has led me to eat some very interesting things—a duck and pork burger, slow-cooked goat meat, and jellyfish, to name a few. I don’t like everything I try, of course, but the excitement is really in the trying itself. Nothing bothers me more than ordering the same thing as someone else at a restaurant, because that limits my ability to try more new things. Luckily, my family shares my philosophy of sharing, so “going halfsies” on a meal is always an option. Seattle’s cuisine also has a heavy Asian influence, so most restaurants don’t have a problem with serving a group family style.
Obviously, Seattle, with its teriyaki or Pho shops on every corner, is a bit different than Tucson, where there is no end to taco trucks or Mexican restaurants. With no Asian restaurants on campus and no car to seek out the good ones, I ended up relying on Pei Wei to satisfy my Pad Thai cravings my freshman year at the University of Arizona. Since then, I’ve been able to explore 4th Avenue, Downtown, and other areas close to campus, and I’ve learned a little bit more about what food really means in Tucson. I had my first tamale at the Tucson Tamale Company, and was shocked I had gone 19 years without ever experiencing the corn and meat wonder that is a tamale. I even had some shipped back to Seattle over winter break to share with my family. And of course, what is Tucson without the Sonoran hot dog? I’m now fully in favor of wrapping everything in bacon.
Here at Edible Baja Arizona, I’m looking forward to being driven by food and not only find out about the local restaurants that are trying their best to make me go broke by eating all their yummy food, but also the farms that are providing Tucson with the meat and produce necessary to prepare a delicious, organic, locally sourced meal. As a journalist, I’ve covered a lot of hard news topics such as student government, but I never felt like my heart (or stomach) was fully into it. Now, with food as my inspiration, I am excited to put my pen to work and write for Edible Baja Arizona. And of course, to eat a lot of really good food.