Hailey, Koda and I arrived safely yesterday at my folk’s place (David’s working). It’s always such a warm homecoming. Mom and dad rush outside to give hugs and help unload the car. Grandma Betty eagerly awaits her hug inside, which I do my best to rush to. The house looks beautiful and the tree has somehow accumulated a crazy amount of gifts, despite the fact we only buy for the kids and there are only two of them at the moment.
Somehow I always end up heading to the kitchen fairly quickly. Not because the 4 hour drive leaves me famished, but because there is always something good to eat. Mom whipped me up a tomato, avocado and bacon sandwich (tasted like summer!), which I promptly inhaled before turning to a more seasonally-appropriate snack.
I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. In fact, often times sweets don’t sit that well with me. However, these cookies are more like tasting a memory. With each nibble I conjure images of my mom’s loving hands rolling dough, of dripped icing on counter tops, of me sliding my fingers down the side of the abandoned icing bowl to make sure none goes to waste. A taste of childhood, if you will.
This year my mom made three kinds of cookies: chocolate chip cookies, gingerbread boys and cream cheese thumbprints. She’s not a big cookie eater herself but she knows those are my Grandma Betty’s, my brother’s and my favorite cookie respectively.
It made me start thinking about food and why I feel so passionately about cooking. It’s not something I always felt, nor something I’d consider myself an expert in. In fact, growing up mom cooked delicious meals nightly, but I never gave them much more conscious thought than that was what there was to eat for dinner. It was around 2008, when David and I got engaged, that I began focusing more in the kitchen. Looking back, I think I subconsciously saw that as the beginning of our family and channeled my mom and the warm memories and delicious meals that shaped more of my childhood than I gave credit to.
I really love cooking now. I like being able to choose quality ingredients that help influence the health of my loved ones. I like creating food that tastes delicious and warms the body and soul. I like the process of learning new techniques and dishes and knowing I still have so much more to learn. But overall, I think I like that food brings people together. Ever notice how everyone tends to congregate in the kitchen, despite the cozy fire in the living room? It’s where the wine is poured, the snacks are out for tasting and the memories are being made.
Each day I develop a stronger tie to the kitchen. I have thoughts of attending school to learn more about cooking delicious, wholesome meals, but for now, at a busy phase of life with a working husband, a busy toddler and a growing belly, I’m satisfied cooking in a style that works for us in this moment and nourishes our growing family.
That’s what draws me into the kitchen. Wholesome food, a chance to unwind and memories in the making. It’s a passion I nurture in hopes it will continue to grow. One book that I credit with pouring a little fuel on the fire is Cooked by Michael Pollan. I read it this year and loved his exploration of his own cooking journey. It inspired me to get into the kitchen and explore a bit more. Because of that, I want to give one of you a copy of the book, either hard copy or audio (I loved the audio so I could ‘read’ while driving a toddler around) and a dozen of my favorite, homemade cream cheese thumb print cookies.
To enter, simply leave a comment describing why you like to cook or what it means to you.
For an additional entry, you can tweet about the giveaway- “I want to win Cooked & cookies from @ahealthyslice http://ow.ly/rWU6d ” and leave a comment saying you shared.
Contest closes Monday, December 23, at 7am and I’ll announce the winner in that morning’s post. Sorry yall, US only.
Have a wonderful weekend!