I am E, Elena and my son is also E, Evan. We also have a D and a W in the house, but the E’s seem to be most interested and opinionated about what goes on in the kitchen.
Growing up, we did not eat real butter. We did not have gravy with our Thanksgiving turkey. Needless to say, food was relegated to a strange figurative corner in our house. My mom (bless her heart) was not that into cooking but felt obligated to put something on the table in front of my father, the “bread winner.” She is a PhD and my father is an MD. Both had busy enough schedules that we had to rely upon frozen meal starter kits and Pasta Roni. As soon as I got my driver’s license, she passed on the grocery shopping duty to me. No more mad dashes to the store for bread and milk on a Sunday night for her. I immediately subscribed to a Pillsbury cooking magazine and embarked on my recipe testing journey. Thereafter, I yanked the spoon or spatula from my mom’s hand every single time she tried to cook and told her the many ways she was doing it wrong. Yes, I burned croutons and set off smoke alarm. But I was amazed that you could make croutons from scratch. In your own kitchen!
I still have a fascination with learning all aspects and techniques of the culinary arts and I still yank the spatula from my husband’s hand to tell him he’s doing it wrong. Now I have two little kitchen helpers that are also fascinated with cooking (for now) and I love to let them pour, stir, and make messes. It’s a huge exercise in patience to allow them to learn by doing. I definitely see some of my stubbornness in my son when he yanks the measuring cup from my hand and the flour goes flying. While I feel a small pang when chefs describe their amazing childhood meals devoured after hours of mom or grandma laboring in the kitchen, I know that I would never had learned to cook or had the gusto for it if Mom didn’t get out of the way.
I started this blog when my brain started turning to mush after having my second child. At the time, I was on extended maternity leave from my Master’s program at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. This is a log of our family meals that I can pass down to my kids when (and if) they ever feel like honoring their dear old mom’s love of cooking and learning.