In our family, we learn at an early age that food is best when it is homemade. There is just something about cutting into a fresh loaf of bread that you just can't get from a store. The smells and sounds of walking into a kitchen busy with preparation for a meal is something that resonates deep into my soul. It is something that to me speak of not just food, but of love and home.
I grew up in a small town, where the typical "eat out" restaurants were at least 15 miles away, so eating food at home was kind of a given. And I didn't think anything of it. But also, being a part of my family included learning how to cook and bake at a young age. I made my own birthday cake at age six, obviously not completely by myself but regardless, I took the credit. It is just a part of how we grew up and what we came to know as normal.
Every Sunday night, we spent around my grandparents table. We'd gather together in late afternoon, either when the farmers were finished out of the field or when the golfers were finished with 18 holes. But when you walked into their house, my grandma would always be scurrying around the kitchen, apron on and making something delicious. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents would all sit around the table eating and chatting late into the evening. This again, was our normal.
As I've grown up and moved out of my small country town, I have come to realize how much of a gem those Sunday nights were. Those nights were more than just about eating dinner. They were a time of sharing in life with the ones we hold so close to our hearts. It's about nourishing our bodies and our souls. The food was far more than just about eating to fill out stomachs. It encompassed so much preparation, love and care that my grandmother put into each dish to share with her family. To take care of each and every one of us. Those are the nights that I miss the very most now.
Now that I am cooking for my own family (well, my husband), I realize why cooking and making food for the ones we love is so important. Food is one of my love languages. Not in a glutenous kind of way. But it a, I may not be great at using my words, but I will show how much I care for you through my food. Making food with my own hands is almost like therapy to me. It's one of the ways that I can be creative and express who I am in the flavors and treats I can make. It's something that I can have confidence in because it's something that I love.
So when our family decided to put together a cookbook, we all agreed that it was a great idea. There were so many recipes that have been passed down from my great grandmother, my grandmother and new ones we've adopted along the way. It was time to put all of those family gems in one place...
And I'll tell you more about that in part II...