Monday, November 15, 2010


I have no idea when I learned to cook, it was just part of life. Standing next to my mother or grandmother in the kitchen, you talked together, worked together and learned how things were made. Neither my mother or grandmother were much for measuring, they could eye just what a teaspoon looked like in the palm of their hands, and knew from taste and smell, just how much of this or that was needed. Measuring cups seemed to be for estimates and new recipes. You put in the amount of liquid to make the recipe look right, feel right etc. A teaspoon in our kitchen meant you used either your hand or an actual spoon used at the table to eat with.
I cook the same way and so don't my girls. We can go to a restaurant, taste the food, check out the texture and then go home and pretty much make the same dish. It's not so much a talent as experience. I feel very blessed to have learned to cook this way. The children often ask me, "mom, that was really good, can you remember how you made it so we can have it again ?" So many meals are just made up on the spot, depending on what ingredients I have on hand.
There are a few cookbooks on my book shelf, simple ones mostly, except my Julia Child cookbooks for when the French mood hits me. I like real honest cooking, not things that come out of a package or box, things you make from scratch that are healthy and nourishing. No need for fancy gadgets in the kitchen, my hands and arms are strong for mixing or beating up egg whites and kneading bread by hand is a joy for me.
I do love my Amish cookbooks, and I have two Mennonite cookbooks that have old family favorites in them. Baked goods from those books always put a smile on my families faces.
I don't buy cooking magazines or watch cooking shows. I just cook foods that are economical, healthy from ingredients that have been on my shopping lists for nearly 32 years. When you have lived on a little farm, where eggs and milk are plentiful, you learn to use recipes that use what you are blessed to have on hand.
Cooking is another one of those tasks at home, that for me, is full of love for those around my table.
What a joy it is now, to have Mei-Ling come visit me and the first thing she asks is, "Mimi, can we cook today ?" Last time she went to the Doctor I told her I would get her a toy if she was really good, oh yes, it was an out and out bribe, but Grandmothers can do that from time to time. She and I walked the toy isles looking for that special gift. When all of a sudden she spied some little stainless steal pots and pans, complete with a whisk and pot holder. That was what she wanted and that is what we got. A little budding cook will stand beside me in the kitchen when she visits and we will cook together. Another generation learning how to cook from scratch and seeing how the cake batter looks when its just right and learning how to knead bread dough with joy in her heart.
Life is good.


Carole said...

Cooking traditions are definitely the most valuable to pass on. Food is so much more than just... something you eat. It's something you share, that warms your heart and soul and pleases your senses. I say Hurray for you and MeiLing, and for cooking good things !

Morning's Minion said...

That is much the way I cook also--we enjoy the same simple healthy foods over and over.
It is such a blessing to be living again where we can garden and put up our own produce for the winter.

Every single night before I go to sleep and every morning before I hop out of bed, the same prayer in on my lips.  Of course I pray for m...