I don’t know if I could tell you how young I was when I first learned how to brown hamburger, or how old I was when I won a cook-off trophy at the competitions we would hold in the backyard.I can tell you that every year at Christmas my grandma would get each family whatever recent home ec cookbook had just come out and there would always be issue upon issue of taste of home to read in her magazine box.
I remember sitting in the expansive bakery kitchen of the bakery my aunt owned in town and marvel at the huge mixers. I can still smell the distinct combinations of scents of the Selma SaveMart where my dad and I would shop every Sunday growing up.
There would be debates about how the turkey was going to get cooked every year and “how much dessert is too much dessert?”.
Shrimp cocktail, potato salad, pork & rice, peanut butter pie. Homemade fried chicken, Belgian waffles. Chicken and broccoli casserole with a potato chip crust.
I have stories that flit through my mind of dicing and chopping, the sizzle and pop. The smell of certain meals wafting through the air. And it’s not just about the cooking, the how behind it all.
I grew up being told if you can read, you can cook.
And so I did.
I don’t cook enough. I normally won’t cook just for myself. I love cooking for others. I love making a dish and telling where it came from. I like scooping up some of my grandma’s chicken broccoli casserole and sharing it with someone else.
I cook to tell a story.
And sometimes I burn things or a cake falls flat or I’m in Spain and corn flour is not the same thing as cornmeal.
But that’s ok.
Cooking isn’t about something being perfect. It isn’t about a plate that looks beautiful. It’s about passing on the knowledge of yesterday and mixing it in with today. It’s about chopping and dicing and laughing. It’s about pouring all of your stress into the prep and allowing the scents and smells to melt it away.
Cooking is about love.
Cooking is soul work to me and through the recipe series I want to show you pieces and snippets of the story I am writing through my cooking. The recipes won’t always be exact, and the instructions will be tucked in between the paragraphs, but with each dish I create I want to give you space to realize that cooking isn’t about cooking and eating.
Cooking is about the table and family and story.
So pull up a chair, and let’s eat.