Sunday, February 20, 2011

I Would Settle For That

Often times when puttering about in the kitchen I will think back to my mother and grandmother's cooking. It brings both a smile and a touch of sadness. While I have a vivid recollection of Grandma Murphy's giant yeast rolls and my mother's blackberry cobbler what I don't have is a recollection of my ever cooking with them, watching and learning how they did what they did so well. Flavors and tastes I selfishly enjoyed and more selfishly took for granted are forever lost. I do not have any of their recipes. No scribbling of notes that called for a dash of this and a pinch of that. No turned downed pages of a cookbook that signified a keeper recipe. Lost are the recipes carried only in their hearts and hands.
How did Grandma make her chicken and dumplings? Her morning biscuits with sorghum molasses? How did mom prepare her fried chicken and gravy? And how did she ever make green vegetables appealing to an 8 year old that only wanted mashed potatoes and corn on the cob?

All of which got me to thinking. It's not enough to simply share recipes, particularly family recipes. What I need to do is set aside time to "cook" with my kids. Each one. Beginning by asking what recipe(s) of mine they would like to make (hopefully they have at least one :) and then standing side by side to prepare and enjoy our culinary labors. And in turn, they can share and teach me. We'll share our scribbled notes and dogeared pages from favorite recipe books. We'll write down recipes we make but have stored only in our hearts and hands. And I'm sure we'll share a dark beer or a full bodied red while we're at it :)

Thank you Grandma Murphy. Thank you Mom. How I wish I could stand in your kitchens and watch and learn. Sit at your tables just one more time. And while I'm wishing, how I wish I could cook half as well as either of you. Just half.
I would settle for that...


Number 6 and no more counting! said...

absolutely touch your heart, outstanding, beautiful post. I am not sure what part touched me the most. The tribute to your mom and grandmother. Or the part where you are open to learning from your children.

My hat is off to you on this post. Thank you, for sharing ALL of it!


Vivian M said...

I love it. I try to "teach" Kerri how I cook and let her help and watch. My kitchen is always more popular with my guests than my living room (even though it is tiny). I think the memories you make (and writing down the recipes) are priceless. I wrote down all of my Mom's recipes, and now that she is gone I love to go back and make them, it reminds me so much of all the times we spent together in the kitchen.
By the way, ask your family members - aunts, uncles, cousins- if they have any of the family recipes written down. They may not all be lost!