Tuesday, February 22, 2011

cooking show; audience of 2

   i love food!!! i love to see it, feel it, taste it, smell it, hear it. yes. hear it. i like to hear it while it sizzles, boils, bubbles and is smashed as such is the case of squeezing air out of risen dough or mixing mushy things with the greatest kitchen utensils of all; hands. i like to hear it being torn. i like to hear it being chopped. i just love food!
   my mom was a great cook. every food she touched was the yummiest! sadly, i didn't learn much from her. in fact the only things i can remember, for sure, her teaching me is how to whisk eggs, how to form meatballs and how to stuff shells. i guess i do remember watching her mix the ingredients for meatballs, and the ricotta for shells, but mostly i remember her shooing me, "okay now go while i make _____" and she'd flick her wrist so her fingers would flop up and down twice. as if that gesture was magic i would turn and run off knowing a great treat was in store for dinner. i can still feel my checks high and tight on my face with the giddy smile of anticipation.
   when i was pregnant with my son i was obsessively perfecting my cheese cake. he has been working with me in the kitchen since utero. once born he'd sit either in the comfy car seat and watch me cook or bake, or i'd wear him, when not frying or doing things near the stove. he was the first audience member to the cooking show i film in my head complete with invisible cast and crew. thankfully, they never judge me when the outcomes are poor.
   as mikey got bigger he'd stand on a chair and watch. then he was my big helper, carefully listening to every word i had to say about why tomatoes are beautiful and how lovely their marriage is with crusty, garlic, rubbed bread; smooth, thick olive oil and a touch of salt and pepper. for the longest time we baked every monday morning. at first i'd do the measuring and he'd do the pouring and mixing. always from scratch. he is four now and knows very well how to crack eggs. perfectly retrieve any tiny bit of shell using the shell. mix and smash the best meatloaf and make the yummiest of billy's vanilla-vanilla cupcakes. he even sits and watches the cooking shows with me on tv calling me into the room when ina or giada come on.
   the other morning i realized the cooking show that has been secretly taped for a little over four years, if your counting the cooking lessons while in utero, has grown it's audience by one!! my daughter, now 1 1/2 is very excited about the go'ins-on in the kitchen. "cook? cook?" she says while reaching up for me to hold her whenever we enter the kitchen. she even whisked her first eggs this very morning! i may not have many of my moms coveted recipes but one thing she did pass down was her passion for food. this, i do believe, has been handed to mikey and grace as well. so each morning we prep together, we mix together, and peer into pans and even oven windows together. all filled with excitement and anticipation of whats to come. of coarse, the pure enjoyment of cooking together is ever so rewarding in itself, but i want and hope and think, i have passed this wonderful all senses awake kind of food passion on to them.   manja!!

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