Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cooking Up Memories

Strawberry angel food cake
Some of my fondest childhood memories were made in the kitchen. I remember all the cookies we baked with my grandma when I was having a sleepover at her house. I still can smell all the delicious cakes I helped my mom bake from scratch. And I still laugh at all the times my dad made silly jokes as I helped him prepare dinner.

All the time I spent being a kitchen helper for my family was wonderful learning experience. By the time I was 13 years old, I could cook quite a few meals completely on my own. Cooking for others made me feel good. I felt confident in myself and was proud of my cooking skills. Plus, I was even more happy to know my food was being enjoyed by my loved ones and friends.

Looking back, I can see that these happy moments had another benefit, something I failed to see until I was an adult: the simple act of helping my family make delicious food fostered a renewed closeness and camaraderie. My family wasn’t what you would call “close knit.” In fact, we had quite a lot of ups and downs. However, all of our disputes and differences would disappear whenever a kitchen task was at hand.

Much has changed since I was that eager little girl. I am an adult now with two young children of my own. One major thing has not changed, though. I still love to cook! I enjoy making homemade meals for my family as often as possible. I have carried with me some of my family’s recipes from the past. I have changed a few family recipes to make them my own. And I experiment with new and different recipes eagerly.

Yet, my most favorite part about cooking, though, is sharing the experience with my son and daughter. Just like their mother once did, they both race to the kitchen whenever there is any food to be made. They eagerly take turns measuring and adding ingredients and sometimes quarrel a little over who gets to stir.

As any parent knows, having young children as helpers can get quite messy, but I don’t care. All the spilled flour everywhere, the honey in their hair, and the tomato sauce splattered on the wall is well worth it. Watching my children hard at work in the kitchen makes me so very proud! Their smiles, laughter, and giggles warm me to my very soul. Each time we bake cupcakes or cook spaghetti or even toss a salad, we are making memories together that will last a lifetime!

What are some of your favorite ways to make memories with your own family?

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