Monday, July 26, 2010

Serving With Love

Older sisters are special to me not just because I have so many of them, but because they hold a lot of wisdom. Even though I was usually bouncing, cart wheeling, breaking something or needing stitches I actually watched them carefully when I was little and secretly wanted to be just like them. To me they were and are all smart, witty, well spoken and well educated. They taught me how to do all kinds of things besides cook and bake. They taught me how to harmonize, memorize, cartwheel, play basketball, read, jump rope, take tests and shave my legs. They taught me how to be kind and patient, how to control my laughter at church, how to be a mother, and how to treat my children with respect and love and still discipline them. This post is from my sister Anne. I remember that she taught me what color blush to wear. Light pink.

Ravioli, canned, one gallon. Liver, well done. Fish sticks, baked. When I met my husband I told him that I did not like Italian food, steak or seafood. I had them all in the above forms growing up and none were very good. My husband introduced me to crab stuffed ravioli, ribeyes and pacific salmon. When friends, (especially my Italian friends) talked of the food of their childhood and looked at me expectantly, I always politely said, “my mom isn’t a very good cook”. They would look at me sympathetically.

Now that I have a few grey hairs of my own and two children, I am in awe of my mother’s abilities. She fed 14 kids on my dad’s salary when today many people insist on a two family income as a necessity. The same hands who served me ravioli fed my baby so I could sleep and weaned my second daughter from the bottle. Those same hands make, at 75, 3 meals a day from scratch for my brother who is on a medically prescribed, no salt diet. Those same hands brought me tea in bed on my last visit home. Now, when people talk of food from their childhood, I always tell them that my mother was and is a great cook, the best. She always served us love.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Easy Peasy

When I gave birth to our third son almost three months ago I was blessed to have dinners brought to us for two whole weeks by my amazing moms group. We ate, and ate, and ate. It was wonderful. The most memorable thing that I can remember from those 2 weeks, with the exception of our brand new baby of course, were these brownies that one of the mothers brought us. They were divine...I couldn't put my finger on what was exactly in them but Chris and I kept eating them all night thinking we'd figure it out. At the following MOPS meeting I had to ask her and I couldn't believe my ears. Thank you Misty for the AMAZING brownie recipe!!

Misty's Amazing Brownies

1 pkg of your fav brownie mix
1 large symphony bar (use the almond toffee one it's the best)

Yes seriously that's all the ingredients

Prepare the brownie mix as directed on the box and preheat oven to whatever the box says...I'm guessing 350. Lay 1/2 of the brownie mixture on the bottom of your pan then break apart the symphony bar and lay it evenly on top of the brownie mix. Cover the candybar layer with the remaning brownie mix and bake as directed on the box.

Bake, Eat, Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Table To Be Proud Of

My journey began when I was little. My mother always let me cook with her in the kitchen. I’d sit right next to the stove top on the counter watching her make Mac and Cheese with egg noodles. It actually sounds kind of dangerous now that I have kids, but I was never stupid enough to touch anything. I have to be honest, It wasn’t the best Mac and Cheese, but I loved sitting on the counter and feeling the steam from the pots come at me when someone would open the back door. My mom would always be humming or singing “Up Up and Away In My Beautiful Balloon” or some other silly song that has been stuck in my head the past twenty years. She’d let me bake anything I wanted even when I was little. I was usually baking with my sisters and would argue with them about how I really didn't like chocolate. It wouldn’t be fair to say that my family had a sweet tooth. It was more like we were just sweet all over from the desserts we made. Anytime people would come home they’d pick up something sweet from Collin’s Street Bakery or my mother would have made her “Puffy Oatmeal Cookies”. I’m still trying to figure our why the heck they were puffy. We ate them though because there was love in those cookies.

We have a really big family and by the time I came around everyone was either coming in or going out with the exception of a couple brothers and sisters but I distinctly remember our kitchen when everyone would come home from school. It was full and when it got too full my mom would kick a few people out. She’d usually start with Daddy if he was in there sneaking in ice cream after dinner. He loves ice cream after dinner. Then one by one we’d have to get out of there because it just got too packed.

Daddy and my brothers built a huge round table with a lazy susan on top so we could all have dinners together. It was a table that all of my other brothers and sisters could fit around. To some that sounds funny, but I’m the youngest of 14 so it was quite a table. I remember watching that food on the lazy susan go around and around while people discussed important things. School, work, religion, politics. It was like a merry go round of food and CSPAN all rolled into one. My mother, usually never sitting down to eat, would always put the dessert right in the middle of the lazy susan. I never ate any of her vegetables or the liver that Daddy liked her to cook for that matter but I sure has hell ate her cake. It never looked like it would turn out when she was making it, but somehow, it was always delicious.


There are so many things that happen in a kitchen, sounds, smells, mishaps, disasters but most importantly fellowship. My greatest memories have been in kitchens. Making Jesus’ birthday cake for Christmas with my mother and sisters, watching my dad make the only thing I’ve ever seen him cook, egg sandwiches. Gross. I remember smelling my aunt Lois’ candied pecans and cookies, my Granny always having cold crisp cranberry juice ready for me when I visited and watching my aunt Polly make gooseberry cobbler just for my my dad and me. No one else liked it, especially my mother, but I can still remember the sugar sprinkled on top and eating it with vanilla ice cream. I can still feel the tang of those gooseberries. Hits you right in the back of the throat. What’s a kitchen without friends and family to make all those memories with? So this is a blog about just that, my kitchen, your kitchens. It’s about the stories and food that go in and out of our kitchens everyday, season to season, year to year. This all started because I told my sister I wanted to make a cookbook. Who know's what it will turn into? Here's what I do know. It’s about the food that’s good, some really good, and some that's really bad. Everyone’s journey isn’t the same but everyone needs to eat.