What food legacy will you leave behind? Fast food, microwave dinners, prepackaged meals, left overs? After being gifted with the talent to cook and bake basically anything I want, I have started considering the legacy that I WOULD have left behind if God hadn’t gifted me with such a talent. I have cooked most of my adult life, but it was really basic cooking. I still am no gourmet by a long shot (not that I would want to be). My legacy would have been one of super-sized menus and prepackaged meals.
Somewhat out of necessity, I started really watching what I purchased when grocery shopping. I made a rule for myself–buy only things that you have to cook yourself (and no, Hamburger Helper doesn’t count). Not only did I notice that my grocery bill dropped, but my cabinets and freezer were nearly always full. Add to that good news, a home that smells like “from scratch” cooking, and the combination is a little hard to beat. I can’t even remember the last time I purchased a “prepacked” meal. The only thing I buy that would even get close to that would be the meatballs that are already prepared for you. I like meatballs over hamburger meat fried out, and they taste good. The time investment in making them myself would cause me to avoid meals with meatballs, so I felt that one diversion was ok.
Magazine titles such as “Cook’s Illustrated,” “Cooks Country,” “America’s Test Kitchen,” and “Mother Earth News all played an integral role in my success as a home cook. While I haven’t studied them a lot, I have gleaned a lot of knowledge from their helpful pages. Now, I am not intimidated by those who cook well. The process doesn’t confuse me. I have organized my kitchen, so I know where everything is and it’s comfortable for me regardless of what dish I am conquering.
Now, the family heritage project. I have started a project encouraging people to write down the recipes of those meals they enjoy for the sole purpose to pass them along to the next generation. Yeah, it takes a little time to write it all down, but it is very much worth it. Not only are you leaving instructions to a memory they will likely want to relive again and again, you also helped to instill better eating habits (as long as your recipe isn’t how to heat a frozen pizza). 🙂 So here is the first card in my family heritage project.
In the past, my mother wasn’t very sentimental. I recall learning that she had donated a lot of my and my brother’s things, and I was upset–not because they were mine (ok, maybe because they were mine), but instead, because I valued what she, or another special someone, had given me.
Well, time has passed, and mom is a little more sentimental than she used to be. She now has black and white and other vintage pictures around her home of her family from years past. She has passed on to me a few items that she made by hand. Now that I am home with my little one and learning all of the joys of being a mother, she is sharing some of our family’s amazing recipes also. Note: most of these recipes aren’t in writing (or they were and when I was a teenager, I thought I would do her a favor and write them in a recipe book for her. I saw no need for the tsp, tb, c, etc that littered the pages either, so I left them off.) Uh…yeah! So the recipes she passes along to me are from her memory.
My family has a lot of great recipes, but everyone knows this dressing. Every year, there are requests for it. For years now, I have wanted to learn to cook it and carry on the tradition of making it for family gatherings. Finally, mom and I got on the phone and hashed out the very rough recipe (not written down). She had me send her video of the consistency of the dressing on her cell phone, and she would tell me to add more chicken stock. It was a very enjoyable experience. It was part of her legacy (whether she realizes it or not). She is passing on to me a great number of things (not materialistic items). Fortunately, some of the family recipes are part of that legacy. Pictured here is baked chicken with great-grandma’s homemade dressing and giblet gravy with a side of salad (that one lone olive killed my photo–so I ate it ;).