I love to cook. Good food, sweet treats and fresh bread The staples and comfort foods for my family give me pleasure. Not everybody feels that way and I respect that lack of desire to cook, especially when it comes time for the cleanup after a particularly involved meal.
Cooking is something that speaks of home. No matter where you originated from, what religion you practice or don't practice, you probably learned to cook from a relative. Our family teaches us their traditions beginning in the kitchen. The holiday baking, the seasonal foods of passage, the splurges or economizing of the household. They are our culture, our history and our pride. My parents both cook and have shared their history with me through food as my husband and I do now with our children. They taught me that cooking saves money, is healthier and if done with forethought, can save time.
There is one thing they never told me. Something your family probably withheld also. Cooking creates smugness. Think about it awhile. Do you remember a glint in your grandmother's eye, a self-satisfied smirk on your father's lips, a sly smile as your mother accepted your effusive complements on your favorite dish made just for you? Ahhh, you see it now, smugness! Of course, being well brought up they would never admit to such a rude and base emotion. But I experienced it again today.
It happened just ten minutes after I walked into the door. In that short amount of time I had gotten the meat cooking for New Orleans Po Boys and the dough mixed and rising for my Baguettes. Both of these are easy but time intensive dishes that come together for a hearty and satisfying meal that my family loves. Twenty years ago it would have taken much longer to get to that stage in the process and there would have been flour over half the kitchen and on me. Not anymore. I am not a novice, scared cook. I am a confident mom who knows where everything in my kitchen is and just how much I have of all my ingredients. After the dough went into the bowl to rise on my dryer (thanks Annamarie) I caught myself smirking. Smugness just oozed out of my pores knowing that this meal, although not done, will come together looking much more difficult than it was and with happy recipients. In just ten minutes I had accomplished an everyday miracle. Me, an ordinary stay-at-home mom, the miracle worker. Smugness, yet another reason to cook.