Thursday, April 14, 2011
As I stood in my kitchen making shortbread cookies at 8pm on Monday night (why you ask? Well because I had a craving and wanted them NOW) I was thinking about my Mom. She is such an amazing phenomenal cook who definitely has no fear in the kitchen. She is also a whirling dervish in the kitchen…so basically I guess I take after her quite a bit! We have a special relationship; we talk daily and live very close so we see each other often. We enjoy each other’s company and we try not to drive each other too crazy!
She is famous for her Italian cooking, and even more famous for her multiple main dish holiday dinners. I mean who else makes ham, chicken AND lasagna for Christmas dinner?? She often makes enough for fifty even if she has only invited ten (Of course she SAYS it’s so everyone can bring home leftovers…hmmmm…not sure if I believe that or that she just likes to cook and gets carried away) I swear you can almost hear the table actually GROAN when yet another platter is laid on it! At her house you ALWAYS eat your fill, it’s ALWAYS delicious, and you NEVER have room for dessert…but somehow manage to eat it anyway.
She never measures anything either…she cooks by feel and taste and smell. I totally blame her for how hard it is for me to get a recipe down on paper…you see I often “forget” to measure as well. It’s also impossible to exactly duplicate any of her recipes (you see it is very hard to translate “a handful” or a few cups” or “until it feels right” into an exact universal measurement). I never really thought too much about it since I tend to cook the same way…however my daughter does not. She needs precision. So trying to help her learn a recipe opened my eyes to the fact that most people need measurements! Then when I began entertaining thoughts of writing this blog I realized I would need to pay attention to amounts. I remembered my frustration as a young bride when my mother would try to explain a recipe to me. That was when I was afraid in the kitchen, and is was my mother who got me over that fear completely. She is the one who made me realize it was my kitchen and as such the rules were my own and that a little experience goes a long way. She showed me that it was a confidence issue and that once you were confident in your ability to “eyeball” an amount you could cook anything! (And… no “cooking police” would show up and haul you off for not following the recipe exactly or for not measuring!!)
My Mother has nurtured my love of cooking and baking, she makes me laugh, makes me crazy, and makes me so glad to be her daughter! Love you Mom.