Soul Food

I come from a long line of soul foodies -- grandmas, grandpas, parents, aunts, uncles and a sister who cook not merely to feed your belly, they cook to feed your soul. I have early memories of both of my grandmothers cooking for Sissy and me. To this day, I still will have "bites" of my mom's food, right off of her plate, because I swear it tastes better than if I had my own. I remember Sissy growing her own radishes when she was about 5 and having to scoot a chair to the sink to wash them. I have more food memories than time to retell them. Food is more than food to me. When it comes from my family, it's true soul food.

Now, it's no secret that I don't cook much. I love LOVE to bake, but I just don't cook - partly from semi-rational kitchen fire fears and partly because I don't understand the basics. My mom and sister are what you'd call "garbage cooks". They can whip up a 5-course gourmet meal from whatever they have on hand. It is completely amazing to witness and even better to sample. Me? I need a recipe.

But what happens when I have a recipe is nothing short of magic. I'm fearless. I get it. I just need scientific precision in the kitchen or I'm not tempted to try (though you'll be proud to know I didn't measure my spices for Beef Burgandy...that was all pinches and dashes. Very proud.)

The one part that I played in the orchestration of my bridal shower was to ask each lady invited to share their favorite recipe with me, to become part of my first, my own family recipe album. Not only did so many dear ladies contribute, but many recipes came from overseas. The ones that really got me, though, were the photocopies of recipes from my grandmother's and my great aunt's kitchens, written in their hand. They were the ones that made me cry. Who knew a recipe for fish fry breading could be charged with so much emotion?

Now, thanks to the completely amazing women in my life, I am armed with my more than 2-dozen recipes and am determined to learn to cook for the soul, too. With a gift like that, who needs presents?


Mrs. B said...

Oh what a wonderful post! I do hope you learn to enjoy cooking, it can be such a joy! And I am certain your husband-to-be will be thrilled that you are "creating!"

I love your attitude about the preciousness of your lady family members before you.......they would be so proud that you wish and hope to keep a little bit of them alive, in your own kitchen.

Bon Appetit, Evelyn!

HennHouse said...

I hear you... Sometimes I like to sit and just run my fingers over the photocopies of my grandmother's handwriting on her recipes.

Oh do I hear you.

And I can just imagine the tears.

HennHouse said...

Oh, and D. needs the presents.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to seeing the recipes when you have them all compiled. Hope the Wedding Shower was amazing - so sorry we are too far away to come! Love Jean

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