This morning's sunrise was phenomenal! Clouds danced across the horizon, painted vibrant hues of amber, gold and violet with a pale blue sky for a backdrop. The trees that line the streets where we live stood somehow taller this morning as though they were reaching upward to get a better view of the sky like the Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute) yoga pose. Come on. You know the pose. No? Well, you stand with your feet facing forward, your arms overhead and reach your fingertips as far away from your feet as possible and 'grow a little taller' as you inhale fresh, restorative oxygen and allow it to circulate, percolate and restore your body and mind.
To me, food planning, preparation and cooking are restorative acts. I love to plan a meal. I love the unplanned things that occur during a well-planned meal. I LOVE to craft and create food. Cooking is to me what scrapbooking is to others. A passion that just doesn't make sense to everyone...
Like scrapbooking, cooking is about sharing insight about your life. What a scrapbooker does with photos, a cook does with food. Get it now? No? Think of a recipe like a photograph. A recipe is a "snapshot" of time. The difference between a photograph and a recipe is you get to eat the recipe! Well, at least after you cook it...
I had a friend (she was a scrapbooker) and she rarely, if ever, cooked. We were neighbors for over two years and she bragged to me about only ever having used ONE burner on her stove in all that time. Both of us had young children at the time and she used to be dumbfounded over how much I cooked. (I used ALL the burners and wished for more.)
She asked me once, 'What do you do when your're tired?"
'I cook.' I said.
'No. I mean when you're really tired?' She asked.
'I cook.' I said
Thinking I was somehow confused, she asked me one more time, 'NO. I MEAN when you're REALLY tired and can hardly stand up?'
My answer? You guessed it. 'I COOK!" I said.
Like my mother, Ellen, and my grandmother, Mary, and ALL the mothers in my family (going back to Greece and beyond) I cook. The only aspect of cooking that is new for me is the 'writing down part.' The 'writing down part' is harder than it seems. I have been a professional cooking instructor for many years now and students want, need and expect to have details about food preparation. (As well they should.) The 'writing down part' is difficult for me because cooking is dynamic. It's never the same... The cows may eat the same grass from the same pasture BUT the pasture is never the exact same pasture day after day or year after year. (NOW are you beginning to see the correlation between photographs and recipes?)
Many, many, many (dating myself here but) MANY years ago, I began a series of handwritten recipe books for both myself and each of our children. I gathered hand written recipes from both their grandmothers and great grandmothers and myself. Our children loved knowing they would take a bit of family history with them when they have their own homes; afterall, that is also what a recipe is, a bit of family history. I would present some new food creation to them at the table and get the stink eye if I had not written down the recipe. 'I know what I did.' Was my occasional reply but mostly my reply was 'I have NO idea what I did! Sorry.' Especially our oldest daughter Alyssa, was not happy with the thought the recipe of my yummy food creation being lost.
So, I began to write and notate and scratch out and scribble and doodle my way toward creating actual recipes. Eventually, I began to photograph my creations and after that (thanks to social media) "post" my creations. (My Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followers will attest to my cooking and posting addiction.) My food photography improved as did my recipe documentation skills and voila! I am currently in the process of assembling a cookbook! I have so many recipes I created and plenty of tips and tricks I have gathered and learned over the years to pass on. I figured, why not assemble some of that knowledge and experience (and yes, recipes) in one place?
A recipe is more than just PAPER + INK. A recipe is PAPER + INK + ME (or YOU) = RECIPE
Indigenous people were afraid to have their photograph taken by settlers because they feared it stole their soul. A recipe shares a bit of one's soul. I hope you try and enjoy the recipes I share here, elsewhere and in my upcoming cookbook. I offer you moments in time and other bits of ME. Afterall, Meals are Made Special with Love.
Avid home cook and passionate instructor