Confessions of an Apron Queen is asking for memories of cooking during one's childhood... here's mine...
The majority of 'cooking memories' from my childhood involve my mom. My mom grew up very poor, the youngest daughter and 4th of 6 children to farm-folks. They rasied their own chickens and cows, had a garden, chopped their own wood and whatnot. My mom learned to cook because in their house you cooked to eat. There were not trips out to eat, no tv dinners, etc. She's always been a great cook, although we love to tease her about the times that she made rabbit and burned it, or warmed up pizza in the oven and left it in the box (not a good idea, btw). Those mis-haps were pretty rare which is why I think they stick in our minds so much. But the most common memory of cooking would be the baking we would do. My mom was the kind of mom who would take off work on the first day of school and have fresh warm chocolate chip cookies and tall glasses of milk waiting for us. She worked full time as long as I can remember, so this wasn't something we got all the time. In fact, most of our baking sessions were late night endeavors. Ranging from cupcakes to send to school for our birthdays (I hear you aren't allowed to send cupcakes anymore. Has something to do with allergies, or being health conscious or something), to heart shaped sugar cookies for valentines day (half the dough we would die pink, the other half white, and then we'd divide the powdered sugar icing and do half white and half red, sometimes she'd buy a tube of red icing so we could write messages on them), I remember watching her make rolls for thanksgiving, letting the dough rise twice, wanting to be the one who punched it down and relishing the smell of the yeast, and there were of course our birthday cakes... she always let us pick what we wanted for our birthday. When I was 4 it was a chocolate bundt cake, another time it was chocolate sheet cake with cream cheese icing, my freshman year in college I came home for the weekend and she made me a fantastic carrot cake that I got to take back to my dorm and share with my friends (that was deffinitely a hit!). I guess most of our baking stands out because it would be associated with a special time. Connecting food and memories and family is a sacred thing in my life and in my faith.
Now that I'm a mother with 2 daughters of my own, I cherish the times that we put on our aprons and make something together. More often than not, its a mix from a package (keeping a toddler occupied is a lot easier when the most you have to measure is some oil, water, and crack a few eggs) but she is learning the skills that my mom taught me. Reading a recipe, following the directions, measuring, stirring it all together and incorporating all of the ingredients. Baking really is my favorite thing to do, even though experimenting and stepping away from a recipe when I cook dinner is nice too.
If only I'd taken heed the OTHER lesson my mom taught me growing up- clean as you go!