6.23.2010

The Power Of Love In The Kitchen

So, back when I was a little girl, I remember reading a story about a mom who made the best cookies ever. Well word got around town about her delicious cookies, and soon she was baking them for everyone. Eventually, she grew tired of it and her cookies became less popular. She moral of this story was her cookies started out so wonderful because she baked them with love. As she started making them for everyone, she wasn't putting enough love into them and they started to taste gross. I think I was maybe 7 when I read that book, and the lesson has literally stayed with me my entire life. I truly believe that if you don't cook or bake with love, it will show. I know I've rushed my way through something or cursed along the way through a recipe, and it always turns out like crap.


But when you put your heart and soul into a dish...pure magic happens. Case in point below...


This year, I had no idea what to get my Dad for Father's Day. He's a simple man, never really wants for much. And, with the hobbies he does enjoy: fishing, hunting, gardening, he could open up his own Outfitter store with all the supplies he has. I thought about a gift certificate, blah...then I remembered it takes an act of God to get him to go to any retail store on his own, unless it's 6pm on Christmas Eve.


Then I knew what I wanted to do. Make him his favorite dessert: Banana Pudding. My Grandmother used to make it all the time, and it was epic. Yes, it's very simple, but it's a little time consuming when you make it the way she did...lining a round bowl with vanilla wafers, bananas, and homemade, from scratch, vanilla pudding. It not only had to taste good, but it had to look pretty too. I know her pudding always turned out so awesome because she cooked with love. She was a Southern Woman, and what better way to show your family how much they mattered to you, but by cooking. And, cooking great food. I remember every time we'd visit, she'd let me help her make homemade biscuits. OMG...I can't still smell them and taste them if I think long enough about it. My Grandmother also always made the banana pudding in this old Pyrex bowl with a wheat and eagle pattern on it. She died when I was 15. And it wasn't until several years later that I inherited her bowl when my Dad cleaned out my grandparents house. I couldn't believe he gave it to me. I thought for sure my Mom would've had dibs on it. But, my Dad knew I'd love it because I liked to bake so much. My mom can bake, but she doesn't love it...cooking is her passion. So, I was bestowed with The Bowl.


Now, packaging is sometimes just as important as the present itself. So, I made his pudding in my Grandmother's bowl. The same bowl that she used to make it in when he was growing up. He loved it. I knew he would. I knew this was the best present I could give him that money couldn't buy. A flashback of his own mother making the pudding, a taste that triggers memories of his youth, a simple dish that always reminds him of his mother.


Priceless.


And here is the email from my Dad that brought me to tears:


Olivia,


If I didn't know better I would say Grandma came down from Heaven and made that absolutely best ever banana pudding I have ever eaten. Mom and Cameron thought so too. Thank you so much and I love you all.


Dad


So, my moral of this post? Cook and bake with love. Don't focus on the monetary things in life...when it's all said and done, they never matter anyway.


Happy Day!

2 comments:

Miss M! said...

AMEN sister! As a society we're altogether too focused on the dollar instead of what really counts.

Tiffany said...

Olivia - you brought me to tears. This post made me think of my grandmother and the AMAZING biscuits she made. I've though a lot lately about breaking out the buttermilk and having a go at the biscuits, but have been hesitant because I don't want to be disappointed in the finished product. You've inspired me to give it a go...and I'll let you know how they turned out!

On a side note - my mom does the same thing with her homemade banana pudding. Why is it the simplest things are always the best?

Tiffany