Over the last few years, I’ve surprised myself with just how much more interested I am in the act of creating food. Sure, I grow herbs and veggies in my garden, and can cook chicken, beef dishes, heat up vegetables, and bake muffins or a cake out of a box, but something was lacking.
Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s because fast food is so accessible, and the fact that we live an ‘I want it now’ culture. In any case, I’ve found my food experiences inadequate of late.
What I’ve always cooked is edible and tastes fine, but upon reflection, shouldn’t the food we eat fully engage our senses? Shouldn’t there be less indifference and more attention given to what we put on the plate? Maybe we need to locate that enthusiasm again and fully participate in the act of creating food. These are the things I’ve been considering lately, along with this latent desire to mindfully enjoy each and every bite! And, does it take reaching middle age to find all of this out?!
Sometimes I think about my mom and how she valiantly tried to teach me how to cook. When I was younger, I just wanted to be outside, in the garden or in the pool, and as an admitted introvert, I preferred hanging out in my room listening to music or reading books. I was happy to eat what mom made, but not so big on the creating part! It seemed like a chore.
Fast forward to my thirties when my Mom died. Not only did I grieve for her, but as it turned out, for her cooking. That sounds outrageously selfish, and I do miss her, but I also miss her perfect Yorkshire pudding, scrumptious scalloped potatoes, oozing butter tarts full of plump raisins. I could go on. Really, I took her cooking and what she served us for granted. Maybe I thought I could learn by osmosis, and maybe that’s not far off because I have learned along the way how some of the things she taught or told me actually stuck.
So, not only do I miss my her presence, but I miss the smell of the kitchen when the aroma of the food wafted through the house. My dad and I were talking about her one day, and I brought this up. He felt the same way of course, and happily he’d kept all of her handwritten recipes and cookbooks.
He gave them to me, (probably thinking it was a futile effort, lol), several years ago, but in the interim, I discovered three more reasons to up the ante on my kitchen skills.
One is Pinterest. I don’t know about you, but I’ve noted how often I’m on that website when it’s getting close to dinner time and I’m hungry! All of those scrumptious recipes to save on my recipe pin board… It’s such a great place to find many a tantalizing food image, along with a link to the recipe. When I saw the breadth of choice out there, it was an epiphany. I’ve been persuaded to try cooking something new.
The second thing would be cooking shows, (and food blogs, too), but especially cooking shows, each hosted by many different personalities, because that host sets the flavour of the show, (pardon the pun), just like the food recipes they’re creating.
There’s a show about food for everyone. No wonder there’s a Food Network! Having said that, it was likely Anthony Bourdain’s show who first engaged my attention on CNN. I loved how he traveled the world, diving into different cultures and sharing their love of food. I still enjoy seeing the old Julia Child shows on PBS too, or Lidia’s Kitchen on the Telelatino channel. In their own way, each chef is so entertaining. Plus, you learn something new, and you get to eat!
The third is probably the most important reason. Along with my mom’s cook books, I now have in my possession the ones that belonged to my great-great grandmother. These books hail from the mid 1800’s into the early part of the 20th century.
This all hearkens back to my mom. Cooking or baking from a recipe passed down from our ancestors and people we love, but who are now lost to us, is a special way to visit them once in a while.
Back to the present. Today I baked my mom’s cream scones from her recipe. Talk about comfort food on a cold winter day!
Not only did they turn out really well, but boy, did I ever enjoy eating them again after so many years!
While they baked, I closed my eyes. The smell from my own oven took me right back to mom’s kitchen. It was truly wonderful, and the best part is that these scones are delicious, and so easy to make!
I’d like to share that recipe here.
- 2 cups all purpose flour (I used unbleached)
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 cup table cream (18%)
Mix dry ingredients, add butter, stir in cream, and knead
Roll into a pie shape, (on floured surface)
Bake on non-stick pan
10-12 minutes at 450 degrees
Enjoy! ~ Karen