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.