From birth until death, food is at the heart of all we do!
Food not only nourishes us, but comforts us. Who hasn't enjoyed a hot bowl of soup on a snowy, winter day or made an ice cream run after a difficult breakup? Have you ever baked cookies with the kids during the holidays even though it would be faster and easier to do it yourself and certainly much less messy? I had a tradition with my kids every Christmas. We would have dinner, bake cookies and while they were in the oven and the house smelled delicious, we'd watch a Christmas movie. After, we'd eat a cookie or two before bed and pack the rest to bring as holiday treats when visiting. What cooking traditions do you have? Leave a comment and let us know!
Food plays a big part in special celebrations and holidays. People will rave about good food and rant about bad food. Have you ever had a friend attend a wedding where the food was horrible? You never heard the end of it, right?
Most often, when someone asks, "So how was the wedding?" the response will always be how the bride looked and whether the food was good or not. I had several catering halls refuse to cater an all vegan wedding. They could, have but they wouldn't. Why? Because people who are not vegan will complain about the food and no one will remember it was all vegan, they will only remember to tell people, "Oh that place, the food stunk!"
When a new baby is born, it's traditional in families of Italian descent, and I'm sure many other families of other nationalities, to make or send food. The new mother receives charming baskets and homemade meals, making life easier for the new parents and family.
As a child, every Sunday we drove from Long Island to Queens to my paternal grandparents house for Sunday dinner. It was the same every Sunday. Pasta in red sauce, gravy meat, a roast with sides, salad, fruit and nuts, pastries and cookies and finally candy. Yes, dinner started at 3 p.m. and didn't end for hours. See why I don't eat meat anymore.
Funny Story: Above is a typical Sunday dinner in most Italian/American households. Growing up, my paternal grandmother served all this and then after, she would serve some sort of roast with sides of vegetables and potatoes and salad. I took a friend with me to my grandmother's house when we were still in elementary school. Later that night she asked me why we ate two dinners. I had no idea what she was talking about. She said, "You know, you had the macaroni and meatballs and then the roast." To her it was TWO dinners - to me it was Sunday. Have your own funny food story? Leave a comment on this site and let's all smile.
My mom making meatballs in the video above. You can easily substitute the meat like I did for my vegan balls. See below for recipe!
Sunday dinner was family time and we sat around the table and talked and laughed and made wonderful memories. We also played games between courses and had a ton of fun. Crazy things happened through the years, things that still bring smiles today. There were cake fights, silliness, and jokes. And cousins, lots and lots of cousins.
I used to cook with my mom's mom from when I was very little, like this ninja child. Luckily for her, I didn't lunge at every ingredient. I did "sneak" a few tastes during the whole process, and she used to give me a piece of homemade pasta dough to "play" with when I got tired of helping with the homemade ravioli. Making ravioli from scratch is a long, but worthwhile process that I hope to show you on here this winter. My daughter-in-law wants to learn and combined with my son's homemade sauce with tomatoes from the garden or farms out east, it is to die for. How to make fresh sauce coming soon too!
My son has inherited the love of cooking and he's an amazing cook. My daughter, not so much, though she's a very talented photographer.
Cooking is it's own artform. It brings people together, it soothes the heart, it mends the body and soul.
When a loved one dies, food is a big part of the healing process. Everyone sends packages or homemade meals. During and after the wake and funeral, people gather for a meal. We aren't just eating, we are reminiscing and sharing.
Like music, food can invoke special memories. Hear a song you haven't heard in thirty years and you are instantly back on the dance floor at the disco and you can suddenly remember friends you haven't though about for years and you can't shake the grin off your face. Food has the same effect. The smell and taste of food can bring back such fond memories of people, places and events.
I remember weekend mornings as a child waiting for my mom to make the family pancakes. We sat at the table together, my dad and siblings and I, and talked over the background noise of pans rattling, eggs cracking and milk splattering into bowls.
The sizzle of butter on the hot pan was an indication we would soon be enjoying fluffy deliciousness. The sweet aroma of the pancakes cooking filled us with anticipation. We'd watch intently as mom prepared our plates, stacking the pancakes perfectly and watch as the pats of butter melted atop. The maple syrup, thick with sweetness, dribbled onto the plate ever so slowly.
I will never forget the feeling of love and warmth as mom placed the plate in front of me and I took the first bite of the silky hotcake and savored the warmth and sugariness.
Pancakes bring me right back to my childhood and my mother as a young woman. How I wish mom was youthful and agile again like back then.
What food(s) bring back fond memories for you?
Meatball Recipe: Can substitute Impossible Meat for Ground Beef, vegan egg, milk and cheese substitutes.
Ground beef, you can also mix in ground pork if you like
garlic powder or fresh garlic (ground)
She sometimes adds raisins
Add all seasonings to taste. Mom NEVER measures anything. She adds "until it looks good" which is how she taught us all to cook. I guess what looks good to her works because she's an AMAZING cook! Roll meatballs, don't overwork the meat. Fry in olive oil until browned. Let cook in sauce the rest of the way. Enjoy