Just this week I was asked, “Do you cook?” by a casual acquaintance. Cooking food (I mean real food, not reheating in the microwave or making from a box) has become a lost art. Everyone is so busy; they eat on the run, grab fast food or simply skip meals entirely.
To me, yummy food is an integral part of life. It makes a so-so day better. It makes my day complete. I have to confess that I think about food. A LOT. I’m always thinking about my next meal. What should I make? Do I have the ingredients on hand? My Mom teases me that I should have my own parking space in front of our nearby Kroger Marketplace. When she mentioned this I agreed and am contemplating talking to the manager about making this happen. When they were building this Kroger, every time I drove by I could hear the words, “Open, Open, Open” in my mind. Needless to say I was there for the Grand Opening and have frequented it just about every day since. So what if I go to the grocery store at least once a day? Some people eat to live. I live to eat. I think the term for this is a “foodie”. If that’s the case then I am amongst the category of the foodiest of all foodies.
I’ve downloaded the grocery store apps to my iPhone. One cool feature is that you can choose coupons that can be downloaded to your account. If your store has a “card” system, the coupons automatically ring up when you purchase that item when logged in to your account. Another handy feature is that you have the weekly ads at your fingertips. This is great when I’ve been at Super Wal-Mart because they accept all competitors’ ad prices. It’s so convenient because you can buy all the sale items at one store. I love this around the holidays when my lists are long and my time is short.
Another app that I use (that I swear my daughter told me about but she denies it to this day) is the Shop Shop app. You organize your grocery lists by store – any store, you create names for each list – and can easily move items from one list to another. I love it because when I’m running low on something I can put it on the app’s list and then I have it with me when I’m at the store. Did I mention I LOVE THIS? No more lists left at home; unless I was to leave my phone at home – which hasn’t happened yet! Technical tools are just as important as cooking utensils when it comes to making a good meal. They make your life easier and allow you to focus on what’s important, cooking and eating! My favorite part!!!
So back to my obsession with food; the tasty, yummy, home cooking kind. I’m just as happy creating a meal for my hubby and me as I am for a crowd. Family gatherings, holidays, family Sunday dinner, birthdays, celebrations – one thing they all have in common is food. Is your family like ours in that it has special foods that HAVE to be eaten during the holidays? Maybe there’s a family recipe from Grandma that brings back memories of your childhood every time you eat it?
We’ve recently been blessed with the birth of our first grand baby. We are even more blessed because they live a stone’s throw away and we get to be a part of their lives. With the birth of our grandson we’ve had a lot of company lately. (It’s amazing how having a new member of the family brings the Great-Grandmas and relatives running! – And I thought they were coming to see us!) And with lots of family comes lots of food. If you haven’t guessed already, I enjoy cooking. It’s great to gather everyone around the table, enjoy a good meal and one another’s company, get caught up, reminisce, play games, and not feel like you have to rush to leave like you do at a restaurant.
Easter is not complete without some sort of scalloped potato dish, ham, our daughter-in-law’s fabulous deviled eggs (we missed you guys this year!), the classic green bean casserole, salad and dessert. This year we decided to go with funeral potatoes for an easy twist on the classic potato dish and try the infamous bunny cake.
To this day, my favorite birthday dinner is spaghetti with homemade meat sauce and strawberry shortcake. I’ve been requesting this since I was a little girl. Sometimes you just don’t mess with success!
Thanksgiving has its list of “must-haves” from the traditional turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy with rolls to the pies. Oh we’ve got to have lots of pie! Pecan, pumpkin and apple are standard fare. Every year a new flavor shows up to keep things interesting. Sometimes it’s a cream variety or another fruity one-hit wonder.
Our Christmas season starts with an ornament party with lots of fun appetizers and treats. The women in our family gather for our annual cookie bake about mid-December (usually while the guys are on a hunting trip). We tend to have a hard time limiting our choices so we end up looking like the Keebler Elves have invaded our kitchen once it’s over. We enjoy sharing our cookies with neighbors and friends. I’ve had a friend say that a certain cookie gave them fond memories of their childhood. To me, that’s a win! Christmas morning starts with our egg casserole and waffles or french toast, but always the casserole!
I’m reminded of some of our celebrations that involved food when our kids were little and not so little. Potty Parties: Gathering the family together for a scoop of ice cream when a potty training kid had a successful day. Good Report Card Party: make that child’s favorite meal in honor of their achievements. New Job: Make a special dessert to celebrate. New Grandbaby on the Way: The revealing of the gender with colored frosting on dessert. Taking time to stop and share something yummy helps to solidify the memory of a job well done or an anticipated event.
As far as childhood food memories, some of my favorites are with my Grandma Jean. I am one of 27 grandkids on that side of the family. She would have her grandchildren spend the night solo, no siblings. Grandma Jean always made us feel special when we were with her. I remember her cooking a “special” dinner just for the two of us complete with dessert. Pork chops, mashed potatoes with gravy and usually blueberry pie were among my fondest memories. Even in the dead of winter she’d pull some blueberries out of the freezer so she could make my blueberry pie dreams come true!
I think I inherited my cooking skills from my grandma as she passed them down to my Mom. My Mom is an excellent cook as well and taught me how to make many family favorites. On Sundays my kids and I could usually be found baking or creating some new recipe they had discovered and wanted to try. I can happily say that all three of my kids (one son, two daughters and one daughter in law) are all outstanding cooks and a couple even have a penchant for baking. Now when we get together for a family meal it’s a treat to see what they will contribute to the smorgasbord. The family that cooks together, stays together.
You can follow my Pinterest food boards here. Happy eating!