I've been reading Julia Child's My Life in France. Julia was in the kitchen as much as possible, experimenting, making the same recipe in a different way, sometimes over and over. She would just keeps at it until the finished product satisfies her. I've never been that tenacious of a cook. If I make a recipe and it doesn't turn out, I rarely ever make it again.
Growing up, my mother wasn't a very good cook. My dad would joke "when the smoke alarm goes off, you know dinner is ready. "
In the years I was growing up, kids didn't sit in front of the television or a computer screen, after school. When the weather permitted, we were outdoors, playing. Every night. We basically had the run of the neighborhood and knew when we were expected home. We would spend out evenings playing ball tag or hide and seek or basketball or baseball or riding our bikes. I can remember each night as I would head for home, often, the stars would just be beginning to peek through. As I looked up and spied the first star in the summer sky, my wish was often the same: "Star-light, star-bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight. Then I would repeat the same words nearly every evening: I hope we have something good for supper tonight.
That was another difference- I don't know if it was generational or geographic, but we called our meals breakfast, lunch and supper. It was never dinner. I now call the evening meal dinner, so I tend to believe it was either generational (my parents) or that my relatives hail from Kentucky.
My mother never taught me to cook. She taught my brother to cook, but not my sister or me. My ex and I stumbled about early in our marriage trying to cook. He knew as much or more about cooking as I did. He and I married in late '78 and the popular cookbook was the one I've pictured here, the orange copy of the Betty Crocker cookbook. I love that cookbook to this day. It has about every recipe you would ever need and the layout is user friendly.
When Doug and I got together, he had the same cookbook. Our cookbooks now occupy the same shelf in the kitchen, my cookbooks to the far right, Doug's cookbooks to the far left. Doug's dad was Amish for the first twenty-some years of his life and all of the men in Doug's family are very comfortable in the kitchen. Doug cooks a lot more than I do.
When I was with my ex, it didn't ever seem to me that it mattered what I cooked or how much effort I went to when preparing a meal. With my chicken and noodles being the one exception, his response was the same - he ate it. He never got very excited if I made whatever from a can or a box or from scratch. After awhile I decided it wasn't worth the effort to make much from scratch, so I didn't. If I make something that requires much effort at all, I want whoever is eating it to rave about it. Doug is always good about appreciating whatever it is that I make for him.
In the years that it was my son and daughter and me, I had my specialty dishes, but we didn't always sit down at the table for a meal. They were with their dad half of the time and we were often on the go, to play rehearsal or a soccer game. Both my son and daughter are good cooks. To this day when they come home, they have their favorite dishes that they ask for.
I like the concept of cooking more than actually cooking. I collect recipes, too. Then ever so often (I just did this, tonight) I go through all of the clipped from newspapers and magazine recipes and throw out all of the ones I don't think I will ever get around to cooking.
Because of reading my life in France, I've been thinking about cooking. Also, the holidays are approaching. I'm thinking about it. I'm thinking about cooking.
What is your favorite cookbook?