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Martine Dardignac Taste Buds Required.jpg

My name is Martine, and I was born and raised in New York. My parents are from Haiti, and I grew up in a community with quite a large Haitian population. Food that tastes good was not only available, it was expected.

My mom cooked for the family. As a child, I sometimes preferred eating cereal or bread to whatever homemade dish was being served that evening, but as an adult, I quickly realized that it was a rare gift that I had taken for granted my whole life. When I went off to college, I realized how much I loved my mother’s cooking, and I yearned for a traditional Haitian meal. Fortunately, I was in NYC, and I learned to expand my horizons and never had to struggle to find good food to eat.

And then I moved to Seattle.

First of all, I’d like to state for the record that Seattle has tons of good places to eat. However, unlike my experience in New York, I found that I had to search out good food.

I realize everyone has a different sense of what tastes good, and I’d like to think I’m not fussy (although there’s room for debate on that one). Unfortunately for me, it seemed at first that food I found to be edible (we’re not even talking about delicious or even passable) was not always a guarantee.


My search for good places to eat, for food that I didn’t have to cook myself forced me to talk about food constantly, more than I ever had before in my life (probably combined). My friends and coworkers started calling me a foodie.


A foodie? No, no, not me. Aren’t foodies slightly pretentious people who insist on only fine dining experiences and eating at exclusive restaurants? That in no way defines my experience.


Turns out that’s not how people were defining it. In the minds of all these new people who were labeling me as a foodie, it just meant that I liked good food.


I’m sorry, but shouldn’t that define everybody? Why would anyone want to eat bad food (or food that’s not really food) on purpose? I don’t get it.

That’s in part where I got the name Taste Buds Required. If you’re taste buds are working, I believe it is your responsibility to treat them with respect like you would other parts of your body.

My mother found great pleasure in showing hospitality to many and loved to feed others. I learned this love from her, and so take great joy in sharing my culture and culinary skills with friends, coworkers, and even perfect strangers.

Because I like to feed people, the blog will be mostly about food (or, about me feeding people, anyway).

I’m very open to feedback! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email them to


Happy eating!

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