My love of cooking started at a young age. I remember watching my mother as she made dinner, just marveling at all the amazing things she would create. I can still recall the smell of walking into the house after school on her days off from work. I always knew that I was in for a treat and something amazing would be simmering on the stove. My favorite smell was that of homemade chicken soup on the first, crisp days of Fall. If we were lucky, there might also be some chocolate pudding pie with a graham cracker crust. Ahh … sweet memories!
When cooking with my mother, my sister and I were always given small tasks to perform to help with meal; peel the carrots, chop the onions, boil the water. My mother was always a healthful cook, and is even more today. I can remember making chocolate chip cookies with her. When the recipe called for 1 cup of sugar, she would make us put “just a little bit less” in the dough. Even now, my sister and I still laugh that she puts ground flax seed or wheat germ in her pancake and muffin batter. I laugh, but the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. I get Eating Well magazine, and get WAY too excited when I walk into a Farmer’s Market or health food store.
My mother always encouraged me to cook. As a child, I could remember standing at the island in our kitchen, pretending to be presenting a recipe on a cooking show. I put all the ingredients in little ramekins, and explained each step to the imaginary camera filming the scene. My first official recipe was called “Elegant Roast Beef for One.” My mom still has a copy of the original recipe in her cookbook, or memory box. With some leftover roast beef, diced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, onion, and oregano, I made a pretty tasty dish.
I can’t say that cooking was always such an important part of my life. But it has always been there, looming in the background. Like in college, when my roommate and I celebrated the weekend with a homemade meal and a few bottles of wine. However, it wasn’t until graduate school that my true love of cooking emerged. I can honestly say that my roommate and I used cooking as an excuse to get out of doing work. Earning a doctorate can be pretty time consuming, leaving little time for anything. But, a girl’s got to eat, right? Living in a house with 4 people usually meant big Sunday dinner, grilling in the summer, and desserts for no reason at all! How I miss those days … not the work, but the enjoyment of taking a well-deserved break with some delicious food, and great friends.
So, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it! That is how I ended up where I am today, an index full of recipes in my head … looking for some hungry bellies to feed. Stayed tuned for recipes from this Holiday Weekend.
Mom’s Vodka Sauce Recipe
Lemon and Herb Roasted Chicken