Friday, January 30, 2009

Joy of Cooking

I was very blessed to have grandmothers who were awesome cooks. The first thing my Mama Pat would ask when we walked in the door was if she could make us something and Grandmother always had a container of cookies ready for grandkids. Even though my mom never really encouraged us to be anywhere near the kitchen when she was in there, her influence comes from all the different recipes and new foods that she was constantly trying. Most people don't have stacks of cookbooks in the bathroom but they're my bathtub reading of choice. I couldn't tell you though what my most dog-eared cookbook is because there are a lot of them but one of my favorites is an old spiral-bound copy of the Joy of Cooking. The page with the the recipe for Paprika chicken probably has the most stains. As you know, to find the best recipes in any cookbook, look for the dirtiest page. My most beloved cookbook is an old one from a homemaker's group in Garvin County, Oklahoma. It has old fashioned recipes using such things as oleo and lard. I have never made anything bad from that cookbook and I love the fact that it has recipes from my great, great aunts in there. So many of my favorite memories of my family are tied into the food that I cook: making cookies with my son while pretending to be the Swedish Chef from the Muppets, my brother trying to steal a cookie fresh from the oven and a melted chocolate chip falling between his toes(things always happen to him), dancing around the kitchen with the girls while music plays probably too loudly, a pressure cooker exploding into the ceiling while navy beans slowly rained down on me and my Mama Pat and we held each other laughing hysterically, my Daddo showing me how to fry a perfect sunny side up egg in an old cast iron skillet, sitting on the kitchen stool watching my grandmother's amazing ability to cook w/o measuring a single thing( brought that stool home with me recently), making fresh sopapillas with my mom...I am probably at my happiest in the kitchen and may have an unhealthy attachment to my Kitchen Aid mixer. Ok, not really, but I am quite fond of it. I guess what I really love though is making that dish that makes someone happy. That lets them know I care. I guess that's my joy of cooking.

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