Daily Prompt: Ingredients
What’s the one item in your kitchen you can’t possibly cook without? A spice, your grandma’s measuring cup, instant ramen — what’s your magic ingredient, and why?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us KITCHEN.
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I know this prompt is a few days old, but I don’t check my blog/write in my blog daily. When I saw the prompt I knew I had to write about this! For those who don’t know me, I LOVE cooking and baking. I grew up by my mother’s side in the kitchen. I had little aprons. I had real pots and pans, not just the Fisher-Price kind. Growing up I wanted to be a singer AND a television chef like Julia Child.
Cooking is in my genes. My mother cooks. My Memaw (grandmother) cooks. My Mimi (great-grandmother) cooked. My mom’s God-mother cooked. It was a way for them to show their love to others. Feed them mind, body, and soul. Growing up in the South a young girl is taught, more like schooled, in how to cook (all except for my sister, she never cared to learn). Family recipes and “old”/”country” way of doing thangs is passed down from generation to generation like cast iron skillets. I have early memories of stirring apple butter on top of a wood stove. I have early memories of learning how to make biscuits from scratch. I have early memories of being taught my mom’s famous chicken and dumplin’s recipe. I adored making dumplin’s and dropping them in the creamy, white, thick, gooey broth. I even remember the first time I made buttercream frosting (just butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. NO EGGS. This isn’t Yankee buttercream).
As I grew older I learned more recipes. Boiled Custard. Mimi’s Applesauce Cake. Fudge. How to make cakes from scratch. Scones. I learned stories from the good ole days of my Mimi. How they didn’t use toothpicks to test a cake, they used broomstick hairs (what is cool, you can still get these in old country stores and artisan shops). I even learned how to properly season a cast iron skillet, and how to thump bread to see if it is done. It took me years to master flouring and greasing a pan. Let’s just say the kitchen sink and floor would be covered in flour!
Once I was diagnosed with food allergies I had to change the way I cooked. Suddenly those old methods of cooking didn’t apply to gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan cooking. But I loved the challenge. Learning to cook new styles of food and new ways of food has really broadened my foodie side even more. So now I am learning to turn gluten-free bread on its side after baking, that tofu can make: Alfredo sauce, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, and feta cheese. That gluten free cakes are different, but just as, if not more tasty than their gluten filled counterparts. And most of all, I can share these new foods with others. Just like my family did with their cooking, I can with my own cooking. I introduce people, and my husband, to this new and tasty world of gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan-vegetarian world I live in. I feed them mind, body, and soul.
Now you maybe wondering, “this is about an ingredient or a cooking tool. This chick isn’t there yet.” Well I am getting there…I have to make all this food with something correct? I don’t have a magic wand to bippty boppity boo it (even though that would be super amazing if I did). I have to use my own utensils. And these are more treasured to me than some of my family recipes.
*Mimi’s Rolling Pin
This rolling pin is my Mimi’s from 1929. Yes, 1929! It was given to me by my Memaw about a year or so ago. I never had a rolling pin and was using an old Pam spray can as my rolling pin. I was(and still am) so in love with the rolling pin. My Mimi was a very special woman and I loved having something of hers. As my Memaw was giving it to me, I started thinking about all those biscuits she made with it. All the pie crusts. All the goodness that came out of her kitchen. I like to believe that her kitchen magic comes out in that rolling pin as I use it on my gluten-free biscuits and scones.
*Memaw’s Cast Iron Skillet
If you are not familiar with cast iron, here is a bit of information: just like silver, cast iron skillets are handed down from one generation of women to the next. Cast iron skillets must be seasoned. If you have a new skillet you must wipe some bacon grease (ultra Southern) or shortening then bake it in the oven, some people put it in a brown bag before they put it in the oven. After each time you use it, just a little soap and hot water does the trick for cleaning. You will then put more bacon grease or shortening and put it away. The more a cast iron is used, and the older it is, the more flavor is put in your dishes. You can do anything with good cast iron, make fried chicken, bake cakes, make cornbread, caramelized onions etc…This past Christmas I was given one of my Memaw’s skillets. I don’t know who was more excited, my husband or myself. Just like Mimi’s rolling pin, I believe her kitchen magic comes out of the cast iron skillet into my cornbread.
I didn’t register for China or crystal. I had no need to because I had a Hope Chest. Which was filled with pretty much everything my husband and I needed in the kitchen. One part of it was my china. The china is from my Memaw (catching a drift here?). It is a gorgeous Noritake pattern from the 1960s. It is antique cream with a blue trim. It has a trio of poppy’s (orange,blue, green) on it. It makes me so happy and it is a stunning set. Especially when I use my blue Noritake glasses we registered for.
So there we are. My take on ingredients/kitchen tools. I hope this inspires you to go to the kitchen or take a look through your family recipe box. In the voice of Julia Child, “bon appetit!”
“Southerners know you can’t be considered a serious Southern cook if you don’t know how to make peach cobbler.” – Trisha Yearwood
“Southerners equate food with love, so if you love what they cook, they’re sure to love you back.”–Kim Holloway