As a young girl, the smells that wafted from the kitchen always called me to come see what was cooking; hoping there was a special “before dinner bite” for me. What a frivolous gift to be able to run into a kitchen and have the grace to steal a bit of something tasty.
A beef roast with smells of sauteed onion, garlic, herbs and roasted potatoes was alluring and weekly fare. So was Saturday night steak grilled outside with my father swathed in smoky vapors rising from the inside where the meat sizzled. Mama's fried chicken was my favorite. (I put Sally's Fried Chicken in the book as it is our favorite Family Day food.)
We had huge salads, twice baked potatoes, brisket (I was a Texan, Ya'll!) and all sorts of ways to do zucchini, avocadoes, turkey and dressing and more.
Food was definitely a heritage from my family.
It wasn’t complicated...food was comfort.
Sliding next to mom as she danced around the warm stove all covered in steaming pots and sizzling pans, I would throw my arm over her shoulder. That was all it would take to earn that coveted bite I couldn’t wait till dinner for!
The memories of gathering, talking, eating sumptuously, every night gave me such a secure feeling inside. Our table was welcoming, a safe place for us every night.
A visit to my "Granny's each summer provided more delights. The aunts, uncles, cousins and friends would gather in the evening for a southern potluck: green beans and bacon, corn bread, biscuits, all sorts of salads, baked apples, mashed potatoes, potatoes o'gratin, fresh garden corn, fish filets, and meats galore, fresh cabbage slaw with carrots, and an array of deserts. All would feast, smack their lips. And finally, the adults would sit on the front porch telling tales, rocking on the porch swing and glider while we children would catch fireflies in jars and play hide and seek.
Taking a trip down memory lane, I recalled fond occasions that were all around the smells of food, drinks, deserts, gathering as a people that I belonged to.
I never realized what it took my mom to craft these meals and to welcome us over a life-time. It dawned on me - she made it look so easy and enjoyable! Not as if it were a chore, but something to be celebrated. I remember mom cooking, dinnertime conversations of all sorts, eating a complete meal, washing dishes elbow to elbow each night with antics, stories, singing and complaining now and then.
Our home kitchen had a rhythm of its own. That rhythm was one I realized I needed to learn and embrace now that I was an adult. As a child, the kitchen was a blessing to me, to my family, and all who entered our home for a warm meal.
Eventually, the day came when I had a family of my own and had to learn how to maneuver my way about the kitchen. Coming home with a few bags of groceries, I fondly remembered my mother's routine; doing "her thing" in the kitchen. Slowly but surely, I remembered some of my mom's ways but added a lot of my own.
Maybe you have told yourself that you are not cut out for cooking or making friends with your pots and pans. Erase those thoughts, take a deep breath, and apply one or two of these tips to help you have a more functional kitchen that blesses all who enter! My mom forgot to teach me to cook, but now my family always says, "Your food is my favorite!" They just never had another option.
I am excited to share many of our family's favorite recipes and the traditions around the food that shaped our family culture and heritage.
Win a Set of my books, The Lifegiving Table and The Lifegiving Table Experience
I am sharing a recipe from my home with you today that you can download. I have a lot of my favorite recipes in my new book. I am also giving away a set of my new books away. Just share about my new book, leave a comment below and tell me where you shared about my book and I will pick two winners to receive a set of my books.
When I didn't want to make 5 loaves of bread, I made this recipe for birthday breakfasts and family day. Enjoy!