I have such strong, fond memories of food. When I was little, I remember coming home from school and opening the door of my house to the smell of freshly baked chocolate cupcakes. The smell was so warm and enveloping. It would carry me down the hall and into the kitchen, where my mom was putting the last touches of icing on. She would be standing there in her apron with a tall glass of cold milk in one hand and a warm cupcake in the other. She’d have a huge smile on her face and ask me how my day was.
O.K. Ummmmm… So right now, my mom is wondering who’s blog she accidentally clicked on or what strange, crazy drugs is her daughter taking.
Yeah, that wasn’t my life. I was a latch-key kid. I would come home, grab whatever I could find, and plop my butt down in front of the T.V.
Now, this is definitely not a dig against my mom. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I grew up in the 70’s, and my mom was a 70’s superwoman. You know what I’m talking about, if you’re old enough. It was the era of women entering the workforce. Not just by choice, though. The economics of the time were requiring a two-income household just to get by. But women were still expected to do everything else, too. Work full-time. Come home and get dinner ready. Take care of the kids. Keep the house neat and clean, etc., etc. And my mom did her best, just like every other woman.
Consequently, my memories of food from when I was growing up aren’t of a June Cleaver-esque constant smell of baking and cooking. Nope! They are very specific. I remember the story my mom still loves to tell about her mom buying refried beans when my mom was young just because they were on sale. But no one would eat them because they didn’t know what to do with them in Scappoose, Oregon (small town outside of Portland) in the 50’s.
Then there are the food experiments. The heath-nut phase…trying to convince me that carob tastes just like chocolate. It doesn’t. Or the infamous (at least among my mother, my father, and myself) eggplant pizza. Now, you might be saying to yourself that eggplant on a pizza is not so bad if you like eggplant. But this pizza had eggplant as the crust. Gluten free, but not good. We ended up at McDonald’s.
But then there was my mom’s lasagna that she would slave for an entire day over so we could have 3-4 pans of it for Christmas Eve dinner for the 30-some-odd people who would show up at my Great-Grandma’s house.
Then, there was the chicken or shrimp (depending on your mood or what you had available) curry recipe that I am still trying to figure out how to make gluten-free without it being grainy. It’s still one of my favorite dishes, and some day I’m going to get it right.
But I think one of my fondest memories involving food and my mom are the birthday cakes. She always made a cake for my birthday. When I was little, she bought some cake pans shaped like different cartoon characters. One of them was Winnie the Pooh. After baking the cake, she would ice it by using a pastry bag and place little yellow and red icing stars all over it so it would look just like Winnie the Pooh in his red shirt. It took so much work, and it was beautiful.
But now, I get to create my own memories and memories for my son. I am so excited. Finding out that I can’t eat gluten is probably one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Of course, recovery is fabulous. But now I have a good excuse to push myself in to doing more in the kitchen. I have always wanted to really learn to cook well, but it was so easy to just pick up something, order in, etc. Now, to really get the things I like, I have to do some work, and I am looking forward to it.
One way we are doing that is by getting a box of organic produce delivered to our door every week. My husband was asking me the other day what I thought about it. We had talked about it before because his brother and girlfriend have that done, but it was just talk. I told Sam that I thought it seemed like a good idea because then I would have to get some recipes for the produce we got that I wasn’t used to eating. Then he didn’t talk too much more about it.
Well, yesterday I was moping around the house in the morning because I have been fighting this lingering cold. Sam told me that we had a package on the front porch. Oh great! We got something yesterday and left it out all day. It was too early for UPS. I opened the front door and saw a very distinct and lovely box of farm fresh, organic produce from Farm Fresh sitting on our porch. By the way, I had also been complaining about the farmer’s market not starting until the end of May. Too far away.
I was so happy. I don’t think the smile has left my face. It all looked so good. Bright colors. Amazing aromas. You could smell the sweetness from the tangelos. The strawberries are still a little green, but they taste good anyway.
So now, I am going to start cooking. The new-to-me things in our box this week are zucchini, radishes, and chard. Chard isn’t new, but I’m not the biggest fan, so I am finding a way to cook it in a recipe I will like. I am going to make zucchini bread on Sunday, roasted radishes later in the week, and a chard recipe I found that I will be tweaking to my taste. I will let you know how each endeavor goes, and I will include recipes, if it turns out ok. For now, I am off to cook up the lovely artichokes and sweet potatoes from our box to go along with some pesto chicken and a salad for dinner tonight. I’m already drooling.
I hope you all take this journey along with me. It’s going to be a wild and crazy ride. At least, I hope.
Until next time, here’s to…Living better, easily!™