The word alone has different meanings, depending on who you ask. For me, it’s a place I go to relax, to think, to listen to opera, to create, to taste, to smell, and to show my family and friends how special they are. It’s the heart of my home, and the gathering place for laughter. You’ll find me there at 4:30 am, waiting for the Keurig to brew a perfect cup of vanilla coffee, and you’ll find me again at midnight, making pasta with brown butter sauce because I had a carb craving.
In any sense, “Kitchen” seemed an appropriate word.
I just like them. They each have their own personality, and while some are traditional, quiet, and downright well-mannered, I do have one that seems to be more curious than George himself.
The same goes for my cooking. At times I’ll make a traditional pot roast and root vegetable dinner, and other times you’ll find me making Double Chocolate Euphoria Cookies, recipe courtesy of my wacky friend Darlene.
So “Sockmonkey“, makes perfect sense too.
(I could have called it “Kitchen of the Sockmonkey”…but that’s just weird.)
If I could make a sockmonkey, I would…but I leave all sewing projects up to my friend Donna, my mom or my sister. They are all quite talented. As for me, I cannot sew…but that’s another story.
Actually, that’s probably why I’m here.
Way back in junior high, boys were taking woodshop and girls were taking sewing.
I still remember my older sister making a lavender Gunne Sax dress, and it was perfect. No pressure there…
So, I rebeled in the best way a dorky 12-year-old could…I took foods class. Twice.
No sewing for this girl, no sir-ee-bob.
Because of it, I learned quite a bit from Mrs. Thierfelder, like how to cut the good part of the banana bread from the part that didn’t bake, and call yourself a decent home cook. But I digress. Even though that part of my cooking world was somewhat marred, I do have others who taught me a multitude of amazing feats in the kitchen.
This woman had a sweet tooth that makes mine pale by comparison. She always had her Monster Cookies in the freezer, and put a lot of sugar and real cream on her homegrown figs. She also made the very best berry cobbler ever. It was the kind that had a sweet crust dusted with a crunch of sugar, and tart juicy berries.
She liked to bake a large spoonful of brown sugar over her sweet potatoes, and she put extra cherries in her Waldorf Salad. She even taught me the fine art of throwing Reeses Pieces into the air and catching them in my mouth. In my defense, I was a bit of a clumsy teenager, so of course she won that competition.
A shining example of what a home cook should be. I don’t think I realized how talented she was until I started eating meals at friends’ houses.
She taught my sister and I that the more (natural!) colors on the plate, the better. She makes beautiful pies, and her roasts always come out juicy. She has this ability to make anything out of the leftover contents of her fridge. And it tastes fantastic. Always.
For many years, she was involved in all types of weekly potlucks through church and womens groups, so I learned at a very early age, the importance of presentation. Hers were always so pretty! Also, with mom being trained as an RN, we had the advantage of learning about the benefits of nutrition, and balance in our diet.
These days, I’m really impressed with my dad’s garden. He’s always growing lots of different vegetables, and he wants to share. I can’t remember the last time I left my parents’ home without a lot of fresh, organic produce 🙂 PS: Dad’s tomatoes are the best, in case you’re wondering. He’s also got an apple tree that fruits uncontrollably.
I started dabbling with baking in my late teens/early 20s, and started being a full-fledged lover-of-cooking-and-food in my early 30s. Now in my mid-40s, I’ve come to realize that life is way too short not to enjoy the taste, texture, and appearance of the one thing we all have in common: food.
I love to buy organic, and I think one of my favorite things is to search out farmers markets in new cities. I also have a love for a freshly baked cookie with a good cup of coffee. Oh yum. Because of various food allergies and intolerances, I have learned to watch everything I eat, and it’s made a huge (and very positive!) difference on my physical health.
I live in Southern California, and I have two young men who call me ‘mom’. I love cooking for them, and have learned that the quickest way for your son to visit you is to tempt him with his favorite childhood dinner. Ha!
In this blog, you can look forward to stories from my kitchen, tales of food outings, recipes I love, and food memories from way back when. Whether it’s an italian pasta dish, a food festival, a new cookie recipe, a cooking technique, or a Thanksgiving side dish, I’m hoping I can find at least one item that sparks your interest, and makes you want to come back and read the next installment.
Now, while I’m a carnivore, I still enjoy eating a vegetarian meal now and then. When I’m with my friend Donna, I’m making the meal gluten free. Every so often, you will be treated to the culinary wonders of my dear friends. (Wait till you see my friend Robin’s gorgeous cookies!)
So sit back, and take a moment to enjoy. And, if you ever feel like commenting on any of the posts I write, please feel free to do so – I’d love to hear from you!