Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What's Cooking?

Even my picky daughter loved the clam cakes!
My mom and dad were SOTAs (college students above the traditional age) before there was a name or acronym for it in the late seventies.  After my youngest sister was born, my mom went to community college to finish her degree.  She eventually earned a scholarship to Florida State University for her last two years and wound up earning a degree in home economics.  What I remember most about her internship was that I was in fourth grade and she practiced her lessons for her ninth grade students on me. She always wore\wears her lab coat for the big-time cooking events and classroom cooking instruction.  I essentially learned to cook with her. At age sixteen, I was able to do all the grocery shopping and cooking for my family which was a big help during tax season.  (My mom never actually taught high school after she graduated, but instead joined my father in his tax and accounting business).  I like to say that she home-schooled before it was fashionable. Aren't some of
the most valuable lessons the ones that we learn from our parents?

I have always loved to cook. I like the calm that chopping vegetables brings after work. I love the smells that emanate from the oven, this week meatloaf, my husband's favorite.  Some people have a bucket list full of action while I have a recipe bucket list in my head.  I want to master a meatball recipe like my grandmother's.  I want to master the chocolate souffle. I want to develop my skill for sauce-making--- bolognese, beurre blanc, bechamel. Last year I focused on soups, the hot smoothie. They are so easy that I am not sure why anyone buys soup in a can.  I love how any vegetable can be an amazing soup without the cream.  This year in homage to my daughter, ice cream, sorbets.

I love cooking for people.  I enjoy going to potlucks, but when I invite you over, I want to feed you and enjoy your company. Your only effort should just be to come over. One year, however, I was in a dinner club with like-minded people/couples.  We picked a country or region and hosted a dinner. The host provided drinks and the main course. The other couples brought one dish either an appetizer, soup, salad, and dessert based on the country or focus.  I learned to cook Thai, Russian, Japanese, German, etc.  That ended as lives got busy with children.  I miss it.

I love cooking with people. Probably the earliest cooking memory that I have is baking with my mom before Christmas--all day.  This fall I conquered the clam cake, a Rhode Island delight that no one in my family including my grandmother had quite mastered.  Yet I did so with my step-dad--he on fryer, myself on batter. The secret is Drum Rock!  I have cooked with my daughter by my side in the kitchen since she was 4 months old.  At eleven, she is an accomplished baker, better than me because she pays attention.  She always makes, bakes, and decorates her birthday cakes, she insists.

I love learning about cooking.  Probably  my most favorite indulgence of all is taking a cooking class at Truffles and Trifles.  With friends, I have taken classes in Julia Childs, sushi, Thai, appetizers to name a few.  What I like most about taking a cooking class is that I get to try many many recipes without buying so many ingredients.  I am proud to say that I learned how to make a crepe.  Would I make them for others?  Not so much!  I did love learning the secret of French onion soup- vermouth and other cooking secrets that my experience at Truffles and Trifles uncovered.

Cooking, however, is my hobby. It is not something that I want as a job. I love my day job. Besides ask my husband, doing dishes is not my strong suit!


  1. Ah hah, there is one thing about cooking we don't like! Dishes.
    I made a point to share my kitchen with my two daughters growing up. One became a chef.

  2. How awesome...right now mine wants to be a baker!

  3. Love the idea of the geography dinner club! Cooking is special for me too and is a connection to the past. One of my prized possessions is my grandmother's skillet.

  4. Yum. This memory and look to the future slice is just decadent, dripping with details delicious.

  5. Meals must be fantastic at your house!
    Love the family connections!

  6. This post reminded me of The Hundred Foot Journey. I hope you've seen it. I absolutely loved it. Oh, and btw, I want to master eating the chocolate soufflé, so you and I might be a perfect pair. ;)


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