My mom is who inspired me to cook. When I was very young she had me and my sisters in the kitchen. Preparing meals was always a family affair.
Today I am sharing with you cooking through my mom's eyes where her cooking inspiration began.
Out with the New; In with the Old?
This title for Whitney's previous blog writing started my creative writing juices to flowing. Whitney had been reading prarie stories and I had been reading an Amish story over the Christmas holidays. All the descriptions of the simple lifestyle and especially the homecooked breads, desserts, and meals reminded me of my grandparents (Whitney's great-grandparents) and earlier times. A widely used phrase today is "Farm to Table." The idea behind this was nothing new to me; this was exactly how I grew up. Both sets of grandparents lived on farms, raised animals for meat, and always had a garden. One of my fondest memories is of my grandma (McCarter) with her thin flowered dress and bonnet, hoeing the rows of cabbages and other vegetables in her garden. In my mind, she was a real pioneer. When dining at Grandma's house, meals would include iron-skillet cornbread with fresh churned butter, a large variety of vegetables from the garden, and inevitably some terrific dessert such as homemade apple crisp made with apples from Grandma's tree or a berry cobbler made with berries I had picked earlier in the day. Grandma's meals could not have been more fresh! She milked a cow and made her own butter. At one time, I can remember a hog being raised for bacon and ham. Eggs were gathered from the chickens. Fruit was picked from a variety of fruit trees: apple, pear, and peach. Grandma was very frugal, having lived during the Depression. Any foods that were not used immediately were preserved in some way, whether it be canning or freezing. Also, I can remember Grandma often having a pot of soup on the stovetop, a great way of incorporating any timy bits of leftover vegetables. This hot soup combined with her crusty cornbread and cool and crunchy coleslaw made for a filling and comforting meal. Grandma never had any formal chef training, but her food was truly great Southern cuisine. Inspired by the stories I have read, memories of my grandparents, and the not so new back to basics trends, I have set about making memories of my own with Whitney in the kitchen. She and I have tag-teamed to try and invent the best butter cake recipe. On the first try, mine turned out basically perfect but lacking the depth of flavor I wanted. Whitney cooked the next one, with a few changes, producing great flavor but still not quite what she or I wanted in texture. The challenge continues, but along the way, memories are being made, lessons learned, and a content feeling gained from doing things the old-fashioned way.
By guest blogger,
Mary (Whitney's mom)
Thanks mom for always being patient when teaching me to cook when I was younger. Thank you for now being my right hand "woman" with recipe testing. Lastly, thank you for being my traveling buddie. I know you enjoy eating our way through our travels as much as I do.