One positive result of being cooped up inside during this Covid-19 barrage is that most of us are honing our cooking skills. Fewer — if any — restaurant visits and over-salty and over-fatty fast food stops make cooking from scratch even more appealing.
I don’t have the flair of Gordon Ramsey or the talent of Joël Robuchon, the French Chef of the Century, but I have been looking through cookbooks and Pinterest a lot more lately. My family and friends are watching a lot more Food Network and Master Chefs these days, which is a whole lot better than the nonsense that passes for television shows these days.
My mother wasn’t a very talented or diverse cook. Back then it was a lot of meat, a can of potatoes, and a can of vegetables. But there were times she “experimented” with recipes, and there were good times around the dinner table.
Raising my two boys, we had our fill of “experimental” meals, too. Some recipes made it through the years, others have been forgotten (to the betterment of mankind). But one thing I always insisted upon was having dinner together.
No matter how much homework there was, how many soccer and baseball games, or how much hanging with friends loomed in the distance, we always made a point of having dinner together. Sharing laughs and complaints and events of the day was essential to keeping our family a family. Dinner time was a time my kids and I could regroup. Refocus. Take a break from work and school and friends and just be ourselves. Even if we didn’t have much to share, we were there. Together.
I miss those times.
Maybe my re-interest in cooking and baking and experimentation during this isolation reconnects me with the days around the kitchen table with family and friends. Memories of my mom making golumpki or me making homemade lasagna for my own kids pop up in my kitchen these days when I’m making chocolate chip cookies or spaghetti and meatballs.
There is no restaurant, no diner, that can match the excitement and affection we put into our own creations. I find cooking real food in real time brings real love to my kitchen.
And to the world.
Hoping you are adding love to your kitchen and to your world every day, too.