One of the best things that could have ever happened to me was my mom teaching me to cook at a young age. Not only was it fun, and a good bonding experience, it helped me with self preservation and survival after I had moved out on my own! It wasn’t very often that you would find me having less than my own home cooked meal as an independent single living in my apartment. In fact, my pad was the home to my friends and cousin of such weekly rituals as ‘taco feed’ nite with homemade spanish rice from scratch, ‘spaghetti’ nite, and Sunday morning breakfasts. In fact, it was not uncommon to cook at home for dates!
This love and appreciation continued when my wife and I got together and in fact our son would one day follow suit. My first cooking experience was buttermilk pancakes out of the Better Homes Cookbook. It turned into my specialty at 11 years old and would turn out to be what I loved to do for my parents and sister was turn out pancakes to a waking family every Saturday morning. I even wore a small paper bag on top of my head so I looked as important as one of the International House of Pancakes cooks!
At the age of 12 I was helping to prep with my mom for a dish my grandmother introduced to us, ‘taco casserole’ and soon after before I even turned 13, was making this dish on my own for the family. From there it took off. Homemade chocolate chip cookies, muffins…the list would grow with me throughout the years until I moved out.
When that day came that I flew the coop, my mom put together a small plastic container that was filled with all of my favorite recipes that I had either learned to make with her while living at home, or had loved and never tried on my own. It brought a little bit of comfort to me when I began a new life away from the nest, and served for many happy days and nights of food…and some really good memories!
I remember one of my favorites was homemade burritos. To this day there is a funny controversy with this dish. Years ago, mom wrote on the index card that she used green salsa in the filling mix. This is what I have used ever since….even now, to this day. One day a couple of years ago, she was visiting and made burritos for us all one night. Problem is that she used red salsa in the mix, to which I immediately pointed out to her. After she continued to insist that she has always used red salsa, I pulled the index card to reveal no other than…..green salsa! We got a chuckle and I have not changed what myself, wife and son have come to love and know….whether or not it really was a typo….the tongue never lies!
I feel that personally, learning to cook was one of the best things to happen to me when I was young. It served as a model for other domestic chores such as laundry and grocery shopping to name a couple. I believe I was a professional dish washer from the age of 8 so cooking had nothing to do with that….or did that have to do with a desire to learn how to cook? Hmmm!!
Whether you are raising kids, or have or will see them leave the nest, basic culinary skills is something they will hopefully enjoy and take with them through their life. Most especially in today’s world of such fast pace and quick processed food that does nothing for either nutrition or confidence and achievement skills, this simple practice can be a golden opportunity for your son or daughter! Taking time to put together their favorite recipes is a chance to share a piece of yourself as a parent, throughout the generations.
Coming home from 17 days on the road in the lower 48 and nothing but fast food, restaurants, airport cuisine and deli’s….a home cooked meal like taco casserole is just what this night calls for. Thanks mom!
For an honest no bars held look into reality in my world, stop in to my personal log of life, http://kenaialaskaorbust.blogspot.com