I love cooking. I really love cooking. I love hanging out in the kitchen all day with a plan for a terrific meal. I love the smell of sauteing garlic and onions, it’s mouthwatering and I can hardly wait to for the other kitchen guests to drift out so I can sneak a taste.
What I don’t really enjoy is the great diversity in my family’s palette. When I say diversity, picture a four year old eating a routine jam sandwich and an 18 month old slugging food against the walls and trying to bounce his pasta on the hardwood. My husbands palette has diversified however, he isn’t as closed off to new foods as he once was, but he still slacks off at the thought of eating routine vegetables and doesn’t dabble into fruit very often, unless it’s an apple or cantaloupe. He does deserve credit though, he was brought up to be a meat and potato man, but his favourite food is Indian food, I’d say he’s widen the gap from being a picky eater.
Between the four of us, coming up with an entertaining idea to feed my family is tiresome. As I said I love to cook. More importantly however, I love to cook GOOD food. I don’t do the boxed stuff or canned food (unless we’re camping or in a mad dash), so I like to cook from scratch. There is something incredibly satisfying about making a fantastic meal from raw ingredients, and the bonus is that I know what we’re actually consuming.
I was raised in a somewhat ethnic family, my father from Greece and had lived in many other countries in Europe, and my mother a French Canadian. I was also fortunate to have my Yiayia (grandmother in Greek) around for a large part of my childhood. She was always cooking, she even had a restaurant when she first moved to Canada. She was an amazing cook, and while I have some of her recipes, I unfortunately cannot read Greek. She was always making us something great to eat. I used to sit in her tiny apartment and watch as she would slave for hours over our meal. Never asking for help, and I don’t think ever really needing it. And the outcome was always delicious. I think she may have crafted many of her own recipes and combined some traditional ones with her natural flare of cooking. I wish I would have paid more attention to her details, as in her late eighties now, she suffers from dementia and tragically she has lost her memory and talent for what she loved most, and what we all loved.
I think the joy of cooking comes when you have a good group of friends and family around to share a tantalizing meal with. I love nothing more that cooking for an entire day, getting kitchen grime all over my clothes and apron, and then doing the mad dash to set the table before the guests arrive, only to realize I haven’t changed out of my dingy kitchen clothes when they finally ring the doorbell. I love the flow of conversations between mouthfuls and the “ohhh this is sooo good.” and then sharing a flattered smile. I love that when we’re all done, there is no chance for seconds and we’ve run out of dishes and cutlery, and the countertops are strewn with plates and bowls. I love that we end up staying up way too late and having a little too much wine, and being comfortably full when we all hit the sack. That’s good food. That is the joy of cooking.