If you have read any of my previous blogs you may have read that my mother always made her food from scratch, anything baked or cooked. I was never introduced to many processed foods until my very early twenties after I had been in the states for a short amount of time. This is definitely something I have carried on as a tradition for the most part of my life. My tradition got lost a bit for a few years during my marriage, as my ex-husbands eating habits were very different from mine. Which is fine, I am not saying that my eating habits are the right eating habits. To each their own, as we all have different lifestyles. To tell you the truth I didn’t mind too much adopting a bit more convenience to my kitchen basics back then.
At the time of my divorce, my children were 7, 11, 14 and 16. This was the time where I began to spend much of it by myself as we had shared custody of the children, so I only had them for 3 ½ days per week. During these alone hours, I kept myself very busy working, cleaning, walking my dogs, doing many chores, trying to keep my mind very busy so missing my children would not be quite as painful as it actually was. What I did most of all though was find myself again, the person I used to be before my marriage, the old Andi I used to know. With that and my newly developed gluten sensitivity, it opened the doors for me to re-discover my values from my childhood. I have been a hairdresser for thirty years, which I love doing but food and cooking was my first love and it will always be my first love, the one I am most passionate about.
One of the first things I learned how to do and accept back into my life was to get back to my old kitchen habits of cooking everything from scratch again. Being in the kitchen and preparing delicious and nourishing food for me and my family brings me joy, peace, a sense of accomplishment, but most of all the pleasure of having my kids sit around the table and share a meal with me. This was the one thing I could give to them that was of value to me. I guess you could say love makes the food taste better.
Keeping up on my kitchen traditions encouraged me to give my children the same kind of experiences in preparing food from scratch. When they asked me in the past years if they could cook or bake something I always said: “yes most definitely, but you need to make it from scratch otherwise you can’t make it in my kitchen!” This strategy worked quite well as most of my children are now very good in the kitchen between baking and cooking. One year while one of my daughters became the tie-dye cupcake queen, where she got obsessed with baking tie-dye cupcakes for her friends and family, almost weekly. Baking them from scratch encouraged her to go a bit further with her baking and she ended up making these fancy fruit-filled cupcakes with delicious icing. I honestly think I could have not made them any better, I am thinking she may have mastered cupcake baking at the time. Still today she loves to bake, and make delicious healthy foods for herself, especially now with her being in college.
My youngest daughter’s favorite thing to cook is breakfast food. She definitely has a niche for it. She also likes to bake different recipes of cookies and help with holiday foods; she as well is quite good in the kitchen. My younger son is my most picky eater so he is not all too fond of the kitchen. He does like to use the grill though, so he tells me. I love all my children so much; they are all special in their own ways, cooking things from scratch or not. On the other hand, I find they all have become quite the food snobs like me. We are all so picky for healthy, delicious food, our standards have risen quite high and I believe I am to blame for this kind of snobbiness. I’m ok with that though. I have been able to give them anything in life, it is the understanding of valuable good food. I will take that and run with it because in my book that means a lot.
My oldest son at the age of 26 whom I have been trying to encourage to go to culinary school for some years now, has such a talent when it comes to cooking, I feel that he could do so well with it, and he would love it even more. He will eat and try anything, he has the ability to like a food that he eats out somewhere, then goes back home and figure out how to cook it to be either equal or even better than the food he ate before. So, when he came to me last week and asked me for my recipe to make my kind of strawberry shortcake for his girlfriend’s birthday, I had no doubt that he could pull it off. My strawberry shortcake is made with a sponge cake recipe I use to make my original black forest cake with, but instead of making it chocolate I make it vanilla for the strawberry shortcake. If you have ever made a sponge cake you know it’s a tricky one to make as it takes skills to get it just right, fluffy and airy. I still make this cake today for birthdays or special occasions even though it’s not gluten-free, it is just such a delicious and popular cake amongst my family and friends that I don’t think I will ever have the ability to stop making it.
Upon his request, I translated the cake recipe from Germany step by step. He came to my house and made the cake. I was not all too much present while he prepared the recipe, as my fiancé and I took the puppies for a walk, and I had more than enough confidence in him being able to prepare the batter by himself without any troubles. Even though he is a natural cook, this was his first time baking a sponge cake or any cake for that matter. I knew he would be able to pull it off. After we returned, he told me he was on his second try on preparing the dough as he felt he messed up the first batch (he is just as picky and a perfectionist as I am). To prove my intuition, he put the batter in the oven and 45 minutes later came out the airiest and fluffy sponge cake, just perfect, I could not have made any better. The next day he filled and decorated it with whipping cream and strawberries. Vola, a scrumptious masterpiece. A delicious job well done.
These are the moments I love so much when I can see that I was able to give my children a little piece of me. This truly is the best reward for being a mother.
Here you have it, a little more of who I am. I hope you enjoyed this blog, and that you can relate to my story, and if not, maybe I inspired you for home cooking!
I would love to hear from you on what are some of the things you like to pass on to your children, in or out of the kitchen. Thanks for stopping by, see you again next time!