There is something that I must confess; I love to cook and perhaps the only thing I enjoy as much as cooking is eating. The creative process in putting together a meal is inspiring. Cooking is a labor of love, why else would someone spend all day cooking just to have the meal gone in thirty minutes? It is not about the hours of preparation and cooking that went into the meal, but rather the result it brings. Meals, and food in general, bring people together and are one of the many ways that we can show love to others. They are a vessel through which we celebrate big events like an engagement, promotion at work, or a child’s birthday. It can also serve as a source of comfort when we are sick or grieving.
A lot of my favorite memories of my Grandparents center around food. Even now, I can still remember the way it smelled in my Grandma’s and Mamaw’s kitchens. It’s a smell that is hard to describe, I can only say it smelled like love and home. I remember everyone gathering in the kitchen for breakfast to get some of my Great Grandmother’s famous Czechoslovakian eggs (basically scrambled eggs with cream cheese ). They were the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had. The only thing more famous than her scrambled eggs were her kolaches, a Czech pastry.
I remember my Mamaw letting me sit in the kitchen with her while she cooked. I would always ask questions why she was doing things the way she was. One time I even got to help her make fried eggplant. She made the best applesauce, though she just said that she doctored it up, it was the best to me. Some of my most prized possessions from her are the dumpling recipes and her recipe for pretzel that she passed down to me. As many times as I have attempted to duplicate her food, it’s never the same.
I was always sitting in the kitchen at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house when either one of them were preparing food. My Grandma must have had some secret to poaching eggs that she never told me about, because my poached eggs never turn out as good. Then there is my Grandpa’s cucumber salad. That salad was always a favorite of mine. All the spices he used melded so perfectly together.
I have never been able to duplicate any family recipes to the level that my Grandparents did. From the butteriness of my Grandma’s poached eggs to the perfect ratio of cinnamon to sugar in my Mamaw’s applesauce. My attempts always fall short. It may be that because they were always preparing the food for the people they loved and the love they felt spilled over into the food. It could be that I wasn’t in quite the right mood when I was making those attempts. Whatever the reason may be, I will always cherish those moments spent in the kitchen.