When I was young all the women in my family would get together and cook during the holidays. Cookies, candies, cakes and pies… all the holiday goodies you could imagine. The room would be bright, warm and smell amazing. A room full of women talking, laughing, singing and cooking. I loved that. That fostered my love of cooking.
My Dad’s mom loved to cook and I always remember her in the kitchen. She passed when I was only seven, but sitting here I still have very vivid memories of being in the kitchen with her. My last memory of her is of us making animal crackers together. She used to make “magic popcorn”; she would throw just a few kernels of popcorn into her deep cast iron skillet and within minutes it would be overflowing with hot fresh popcorn. I didn’t realize until later in life that she already had kernels in the skillet, but I didn’t see because I was too short to see the top of the stove.
My Mom’s mom was also a hell of a good cook. I loved watching her and my mom in the kitchen, I learned to cook by watching them. I also loved eating what they cooked, tasting the way different food combinations went together. They never made cooking a scary thing, I was never intimidated by it. I enjoyed every part of it. Gathering ingredients, prepping them, cooking them and then watching people eat it and enjoy it. Food brings people together. It is so much more than just nourishment. It can bring you back to your childhood. It can bring joy. It can bring comfort.
As an adult cooking took a new spin when I moved to a farm and had truly fresh ingredients on hand. Due to some restrictions some love ones face, I also learned about cooking for different dietary restrictions, so they could have healthy and great tasting food to eat. Culinary school helped expand the food knowledge I learned when I was young. Who knew that watching those women cook would lead to a lifelong love of all things food oriented?