Monday, April 2, 2007

Everything I Know...

I learned from my mother. I think my mother is a great cook. (Don't we all?) She says she used to put me up on the counter beside her while she cooked. I've always been a willing participant. I loved to stir and measure and taste. She taught me about pasta and fresh vegetables and how to prepare seafood. She didn't teach me much about meat. That, I have learned on my own.
In high school, kids would beg to come over and eat dinner at our house. My mom would serve dinner at the table for the family. We all had real glasses with cold ice water and soft cloth napkins. There were beautiful dishes and wine glasses for everyone over the age of 13. The food was delicious and served family style from large painted platters. We were always throwing the leaves in the table and adding chairs for the groups that would gather around the table. Dinner was such a joy.
I want to create that with my own family. I want the whole eating, drinking, chatting and dining experience to be a full and rich one. I think that starts with the planning and preparing. I think if you enjoy the preparation, you can enjoy the meal. That doesn't mean that the preparation should be fancy or elaborate. I will enjoy the preparation a lot more these days if the meal is simple and doesn't take a lot of counter space.
My mother taught me the importance of presentation. She taught me that a beautiful table enhances the food. That cloth napkins in your lap makes you feel more comfortable with the food. That fresh ingredients and healthful preparations can make a simple meal delicious.
These principles help me create my dinners each night. I wonder what kind of cook I would be if we'd had mac and cheese out of the box with plastic wear each night. Would it be any different?

No comments: