This week, the chapter I wrote was about my love affair with food, glorious food! Part of my food adoration comes from my fabulous mom teaching me how to cook and my awesome dad who ate everything I made.
In light of Father’s Day this weekend, I opted to share with you a couple paragraphs from the chapter that highlighted some happy memories with my dad… I hope you enjoy (it’s the first time I’m putting something on the blog from the “book”).
Oh and the picture….? This is how Dad would carry me into the house when Mom and I would return from the grocery store. Apparently this is where little girls came from. I loved being carried in the bag. I would laugh and giggle the whole way into the kitchen. Good times!
Part of my love of food also came from my mom. She is an incredibly talented cook and taught me everything I know about cooking. She showed me how to take ingredients and turn them into something scrumptious. As a little girl, I was often in the kitchen watching my mom prepare meals and bake cookies. Sometimes I positioned myself in the kitchen just so I could be with my mom; other times, it was so I could be in the right-place-at-the-right-time when the beaters, covered in frosting or whipped cream, became available. I was always observing her cook, and on some subconscious level I was gathering and learning the skills of a chef. Then in 1979, I got a cookbook from one of my aunts for Christmas; I still have this cookbook today: Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Boys and Girls. My aunt must have had an inkling of my love for food and potential for cooking; inside the front cover she wrote, “Be a good cook like your Mom!” And so with my mom by my side, that next year, I began to seriously learn to cook.
I was already well acquainted with measuring cups and various cooking utensils, as my mom began to hone in my skills and focus my attention in seeing a recipe to it’s completion. One of the first recipes I accomplished was a breakfast dish I often made for my dad: Eggs in Bologna Cups. My dad had already taught me to make coffee, so it was with great pride that would get up early in the morning (before my dad was up), go outside to get Dad’s newspaper, make his morning coffee, select a special coffee cup (of my choosing) and set my dad’s place at the table for breakfast. I would be beaming with a wide smile when he made his way out to the kitchen, and I would happily pour him a fresh hot cup of coffee. Then I would proceed to make his breakfast meal.
In the beginning, Mom would need to help me with the oven and stove, while Dad would sit at the kitchen nook table and say with dramatic anticipation how good everything smelled. I would place each slice of bologna into the muffin pan and carefully crack each egg into the cup I had created, keeping the yolk perfectly intact. And the extra special flair was the little sprinkle of Paprika and a sprig of parsley on top of each eggcup. God love my dad, as he always ate every last bit; sometimes even asking for seconds! If there is one thing I can say with all certainty, it is that my dad has always encouraged my cooking and has eaten everything I ever made…even when it looked funny. I can’t thank my dad enough for always being willing to eat my kitchen-creations and make me feel like the most accomplished cook and special girl in the whole world. He let me know how much he loved me by looking forward to a breakfast made by his little girl. He truly instilled confidence in me. Looking back I have to laugh at how often I served my family recipes from that cookbook, like “Glazed Chicken Drumsticks” and homemade “Cheesy Pretzels”. But all that practice made me into the cook (dare I say chef) that I am today. Mom, Dad and Doug – thank you for enduring repeat meals, experimental recipes and cookies as flat as a flower pressed between the pages of a book.
~~A Special Moment of “Beaters with Frosting” ~~
Well, that’s it… a couple hundred words or so to share with you and to give a big shout out to my dad. I love you Dad! Happy Father’s Day.