“Making fresh food and serving it to your loved ones is good for the soul.” – Lisa Vanderpump Simply Divine
Long after bedtime, I sat in my rocking chair enjoying some cabernet and reading an old Everyday with Rachel Ray Magazine (December 2011). I got to thinking. First off, I really miss magazines. I used to love to splurge on a magazine at the grocery store or CVS. There is something about that hard copy that you can tote around the house with you to enjoy, and maybe even pick up again six years later. I tend to hoard magazines and books (either a flaw or a character trait of mine, I haven’t decided). But anyways, it was the Christmas issue and it had me feeling nostalgic. Now that I am thirty, a wife and a mother, I have been really enjoying my kitchen time. More importantly, trying to view it as a privilege, not a chore, to cook for my family and provide something freshly prepared.
What matters most is not what or how you cook, but who you are cooking it for. Some of my favorite mealtime memories where just regular days. Not just the “gimmes,” like Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter, but meals because it’s Monday. Like when my mom would surprise me with my favorite, “Chicken and Dumplings,” boasting oversized carrots, and hardy pieces of chicken, cooked in a creamy broth, and finished with a fluffy dumpling.
Or on other occasions, my dad cooking steak, potatoes, & canned cranberry sauce. No matter what, every time, even in my late teens, he would cut my steak and put a drop of A-1 sauce on each individual piece.
Or my Grandma, who would always make scrambled eggs and bacon on her gas stove. “All the real chefs have these,” she said. “It’s because you can control the heat.” I recall taking a mental note, more then 15 years ago. Even younger, I remember sitting on a bar stool pulled up to her dark green kitchen counter when she made me a new dish I had never seen. It was toast, with swiss cheese, and chunks of ham. It didn’t look good, and I remember asking with a look of despair, “Grandma, what’s this?”
She replied, “It’s shit on a shingle!” throwing her head back and giving her boisterous laugh that was contagious. “It’s a navy dish.” To be honest, I can’t remember if I ate it, probably not, but I remember the memory and her laugh as she blurted that out.
Cooking is not just about the food. It’s about the memories you create as you engage in preparation, dinning and cleanup. It’s the small talk. It’s the thoughtfulness and love that goes into the dish. As a wife, or mother, or grandmother, this is something we can give to our family: love, memories, enjoyment. In ten, or twenty years, who knows what we will remember, what are our children will remember, but taking time out when we can to prepare a meal, is something wonderful we give to our families. That is pretty endearing and special.
Here are some Inspirations for Cooking:
Simply Divine, I love this book! Of course I am a LVP fan, but even more, the book is full of tips on serving, plating, and elegant recipes. It’s not just a cook book, but an entertaining book. Why doesn’t she ever promote this?
If you check your Pinterest board, there is a likelihood one of your recipes belongs to The Gunny Sack. On her site Tonia says,”Fill a gunny sack with delicious ingredients, tie on an apron and let’s get cooking!” How magical! She fills her site with tons of recipes and beautiful photography. A great site for some inspiration.
Simple Bites is family oriented and loaded with farm to table recipes and ideas. A wonderful website to make you feel great about the meals you prepare for your family. Aimee even came out with her own cookbook called Brown Eggs and Jam Jars
This book I have not read, but it had such rave reviews on Amazon (5 Stars), I thought I would share it. Has anyone else read this book?
And finally, a classic, The Better Homes Cook Book. This is the cook book that all new cooks should own, it tells you everything from freezing, to cuts of meat, to hundreds of recipes. This is a go-to staple in my house.
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