I was such a lucky little kid. I was raised in a family where the women were fabulous cooks and they weren't afraid to let me in the kitchen! In all gender fairness, my dad is a mean grillmaster and I had grandfathers who could cook like crazy. However, the biggest influence on my ability to cook were the women in my life. From my Aunt Connie's recipes that had such inspired lines in them as, "get them drunk enough and hungry enough and they'll eat anything" and "beat the hell out of it" to my Mom's red Better Homes and Gardens cookbook the things I learned to cook were simple, yet amazing.
Chocolate chip cookies have always been a staple of our family. My dad will tell you that there is really no need to BAKE the cookies, the cookies are just a vehicle for dough! However, I've taken to baking them tens of dozens at a time and love having a cookie jar full of them! My family will tell you that the cookie jar is often full of the 'rejects' or the cookies that I don't want others to have! But I would argue that the jar is just as often full of delightful cookies that are NOT rejects! :) I learned to make chocolate chip cookies when I was very young, and am just now teaching Avery how to make them. Patrick used to love being in the kitchen with me, but somehow his love for all things sports has taken over his love for all things baking! He still makes a mean grilled cheese and some very tasty waffles, so at least he won't starve in college! In addition to the chocolate chip cookies I have very fond memories of making little mini apple pies when my mom was making the real pies. I do, however, tend to cheat these days and buy my pie crust pre-made, but back in those days the crust and all were crafted by hand! My mind is also full of Grandpa Trambly's pork chops, Aunt Connie's frog eye salad (and many other fluffy salady things), Grandpa Trambly's homemade french fries (which will, undoubtedly be the #1 cause of any clogged arteries I have later in life), and Grandma Woody's Red Velvet Cake. Like it or not, food is such a staple of family life and cooking is truly becoming a lost art! I am forever grateful that I had these strong role models of cooking in my life because I'm not afraid to try anything in the kitchen. I love that I can make 95% of what I cook without a recipe and without using processed or boxed foods. It's a good feeling to pass this skill on to my own daughter. If you're afraid of cooking or say "I can't cook" I challenge you to bust out a computer, type in your favorite food, accompanied by the word 'easy' into Google and TRY IT! I want to hear about your adventures with new recipes! Tell me all about it in the comments section!
I don't let the kids help me in the kitchen when I'm processing orders, for obvious reasons, but I do like to get them involved as much as possible. Last week Avery and her darling BFF, Grace, had a great time decorating their own cakes. They decorated them using a Bearcat football theme, both believing that their cakes would be the good luck charm that the Bearcats would need to advance in the playoffs! It worked! Perhaps they need to bake again this weekend so that we can win our final game before the National Championship!