I find it ironic today, as I start yet another diet, that I decided to talk about cooking and baking. It reminds me of trying to eat healthy and sitting down watching the Food Network. I must be a glutton for punishment!
I come from a long line of cooks. Good ones. One of the things I remember most about my grandmother is her cooking. She always had on an apron and always seemed to be making something. Early on Christmas morning she was up making breakfast for dozens of people. There was nothing that compared to the smell of walking into her house that morning. She would often bake rolls from scratch and call us to come have them while they were hot. I have some of her old old cookbooks that I cherish so much. One of them is so old some of the measures talk about add lard the size of an egg, or have recipes for the ‘infirmed’. I love seeing her notations in the books. Of course she is most famous for her coffee cake recipe-the one I have written about before. Nothing has yet to come close to it!
My mom was also a great cook. Seems to me she was always cooking. With her, I think it was more of the meals than the baking. Maybe it is because the baking was saved for special occasions. Every night we had to have meat, potatoes, and vegetable. On special occasions, we got to have casseroles, and sometimes she did make dessert. She made huge Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and stressed over those. She shouldn’t have they were always great. She DID bake a lot at those times and did a great job at everything. Except pecan pie. She never could get it to work. When my kids were young, they made her one and took it at Christmas time! When she became a Grandma, you could always guarantee she would always have homemade chocolate chip cookies at her house! I have many of her handwritten recipes that make me feel closer to her by just getting them out and going through them.
I started baking in 5th grade. I remember making my very first cake then. No assistance. All on my own. I had to do it for a Girl Scout badge. After that, I kept baking and at some point started cooking sometimes at supper time. To this day, I love to cook. You should see my house at Thanksgiving and Christmas! Lots of good food. And I don’t stress about it. I enjoy it. I love to make anything from scratch and I love to make new things. I also love to bake but once my kids picked it up, I didn’t do much of it.
My daughter has been baking ever since I can remember. She has gotten a bit ‘famous’ at it at school. She even sold her baked goods at a summer market in town one year. We had a Relay team built around her cupcakes also. She loves to invent as she bakes, trying delicious new flavors and she rarely uses recipes.
My oldest son is also a great baker and cook. I have learned to never cook a steak here again. I just let him. His hamburgers are famous in the family too. If we have people over for burgers, they want to know if they are his! I keep telling him he should have a small diner. It would be perfect. He made the following cake last year for his sister’s birthday.
What is it about cooking or baking that comforts us? I know it isn’t just the food but the memories that come with it. Maybe it is the time we spent with loved ones gone, the laughs and smiles we spent with children, or the happiness that cooking for others brings.
So many wonderful memories are associated with cooking through the years. What are some of yours?