A Sweet Generational Love of Food
The hollow chop, chop, chop of veggies; the spit and bubble of a chunk of butter hitting a pan; the smells and all-around serenity one can enjoy while cooking - all in hopes of seeing the red-cheeked, child-like enjoyment of those you are feeding - that unique serotonin surge when you taste your own success; these are the things to savour in the kitchen.
This is what drives me to stove-front time and time again. Nothing else matters when you're cooking for others, each soon-to-be-edible morsel begging for your patience and attention. Cooking is in fact, one of the only things in this world that is guaranteed to be worth the effort if you’re willing to give it the time.
I gained this downright love and appreciation for food from my father. Originally I thought it was my mother, whose spaghetti sauce is still frozen in batches, locked in the basement freezer patiently waiting for the winter months. Little did I know she was not the mastermind behind this childhood favourite, just the whip master. Driving my father through “subtle” nagging to cut up this, and spice that, even taste test to see if it was done right.
As the years went on, I would not have had any other person [my father] taking a note from my mother’s book, nipping at every move, flip, and oven prep I made. I still can’t wrap my head around my father trusting that girl (psst, it's me) getting steam-rolled anywhere near a hot stove, let alone sharp objects.
Memories such as these forced me to wonder where my father truly gained his down home culinary talent. My question brought him back to his own experiences, to my great-grandmother's house on the hill; a house I remember with such surprisingly vivid adoration. It had a southern style wrap-around porch, like a withered leather belt set around a picturesque harbour side home. It was a place where, my father explained, you either helped out packing bread dough, or went down to the basin to giddily await one of the dinghy’s to be hurled over by the tidal winds, and the inevitable scramble of their owners to save them.
He helped craft loaves upon loaves of home-made bread, and mounds of boiled dinner; both which are still family staples down in Halifax, and here in Ottawa. Now sadly, if I were to handout my great-grand-nanny’s bread or boiled dinner recipe, I'm damn well sure she would climb right out of her grave, and whip me in the arse for it. So those will have to remain in that ancient cook book (seen above) until myself and all the Myers (originally Maillette back in the day, but that’s for another day) clan are long gone.
I am a tad more adventurous in my cooking ventures, but I can’t not stress the love and admiration you will have for French-toast if it is made with a home-made loaf. It’s truly a big thick hunk of densely fluffy, decadent purgatory. I should explain that I don't say heaven because the bread is too delicious for enlightenment, it's more of a sugary take-down of all your basic functions, leaving you comatose until you shovel another bite into your face.
So, stop reading this blog like everyone else and go try some!
Sara Myers is an aspiring writer struggling to be a productive member of society. Born and raised in Ottawa, she has spent many summers in Nova Scotia with the rest of her oddball family. Which, as you will soon discover, explains a lot.