Friday, November 2, 2007
Food For Thought
You may have surmised from this previous post that when it comes to cooking, I'm rather a novice. And though I sometimes think I can get away with stating, "Hey, I'm only 24!" I have a sneaky suspicion that there are plenty of ten year olds (if not younger) who have cooked more than me. Adding to the fact that I've been married for close to 6 1/2 years only makes the situation look even worse for me as I've had plenty of opportunity to test out my handiwork. So why have I fared so poorly in this department you may ask? It's certainly not that I don't like to cook - quite the contrary indeed. Whenever I get around to it, I enjoy the process - not to mention the result - immensely. I'm sure I can chalk it all up to a few unredeeming qualities I possess, but we won't get into that here. What I do want to talk about are the strides I have made in this category just this past year. I have made excellent progress as far as cooking and baking goes - largely spurred on by my growing dedication to a sustainable future that includes eating more local and seasonal foods. This has resulted in baked acorn squash, lentil and potato stew, corn on the cob, peach bread, peach cake, apple cake, home-canned tomato sauce, along with other delectable dishes that have rarely graced our table in the past (sad - or pathetic, whichever you so choose - I know).
Another inspiration for this whole cooking at home deal is my love for great food and the lack of it on most menus in my vicinity. Not to mention it's a whole lot cheaper to eat at home. Plus I love the cozy, inviting feeling that cookies baking in the oven or garlic sizzling in a buttered pan emits. A lot has been written about the kitchen as a gathering place. It brings people together and forms strong relationships with the food its self. We are immersed in the idea of food - not in just how it sustains us, but how we relish its existence for the shear joy and comfort it brings. In fact, we even use food terms to describe other aspects of our lives. For instance, you can butter someone up, cook one's goose, take things with a grain of salt, be worth one's salt, you can go cold turkey and we can talk turkey, you can take the cake, but you can't have it and eat it too, things can be pie in the sky, you can go whole hog, and you can even ride the gray train. Good gravy! Food is certainly an integral part of our lives and a welcome addition to the tables in our homes.
My home -or rather the people in it - is the biggest reason for this surge in homemade meals. (This is due mostly to the newest member, our nineteen month son. We may have been slightly sloppy with our own nutrition, but now that we have a child, it's time to clean up our act.) For me, cooking is one of those things that makes a house a home. I feel that by cooking hearty meals for my family I am also offering up love, warmth, care and creating familiarity, togetherness, and memories. I know that this also makes an opportunity for nutritious choices and for learning about sustainability, conservation, plants, soil, and the health of the land. I am glad to be able to give this to my family (and of course to receive it when my husband cooks).
So, this year has seen much growth from me as far as cooking and baking go. I have minced, diced, chopped, sliced, and whatever else you can do to an onion or potato. I have made many ordinary dishes for the first time. I have baked from scratch, and even concocted my very own recipe, or two. Of course I only plan to continue and improve upon my skills because there's nothing better than a home-cooked meal. So raise your glasses. Here's to good food served with care and thought. ( A bit cheesy, eh?)
© Meadowlark Farms 2007