Starting soon, this blog will be filled with my culinary journey to reaquaint myself (and my family) to the joys of home cooking.
I’ve always had a deep love of food. My childhood is filled with great memories of both my mother and my father creating amazing meals. My mom was a stay at home mom, and was blessed with the gift of culinary improvisation. Every time I watch Chopped, I think of her. If we hadn’t made it to the grocery story that day, I remember her opening a fairly bare pantry and grabbing a few cans of essentials and throwing together an amazing meal. My mom also loved to bake, and I remember watching her experiment with her “famous” chocolate chip cookies. Or help me make my favorite cookies, snickerdoodles. My dad had worked at a restaurant during college, and would make Eggs Benedict on special occasions. To this day, though I’m not fond of eggs, I’d never turn down my dad’s Eggs Benedict. (I’ve tried the dish at fine restaurants, and it somehow isn’t the same) Even now, I watch him make fish or steak and marvel at how ingrained the motions still are. How, without even thinking, he’ll touch the meat to see whether or not it’s as done as he’d like.
Things were, at our house, more often than not made from scratch. While we did usually have boxes of cake mix, and boxes of rice pilaf… most everything was from fresh ingredients. For the most part, this wasn’t for love of the ingredients. It was out of necessity. My sister was severely allergic to several foods, and there weren’t many alternative products for those allergic to wheat. Of course, there were simply things that couldn’t be duplicated. Like tacos. Tacos were a big deal in my house, because it meant my parents would be frying. Soft tacos? Premade shells? They just weren’t done in my house. (For those aghast, bean burros were quite typical in our house- burros, just small burritos)
Then came the vegetarian years. From about 12 until 18, my family were vegetarians. Well, we ate fish and dairy, but cut out the poultry and beef- not that we ate much beef in our house before that. Consequently, by the time I graduated, I knew about cooking seafood. But nothing about any other sort of meat.
In college, I was lured to the carnivore side by my husband who introduced me to such forbidden thrills as Jack in the Box’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich and In-N-Out burgers. After college, I started working full time (as did he) and suddenly, there wasn’t much time to cook. We ate healthy food as much as we could, but relied on prepackaged meals from Trader Joe’s (though admittedly, there was a lot of fast food in there).
Then came my children. I’m currently a stay at home mom, and eager to be able to make foods that my youngest can eat (he has food allergies) or that my oldest will eat… I’m delving into the realm of cooking. So I’ll be chronicling my various attempts to make good meals, learn culinary skills, and to bake fabulous foods.
While I admit that I’m a little shaky when it comes to preparing meats, I’ve never had a problem baking. So expect this blog to be fairly heavy in the baked goods.
With love, luck, and lots of great food,