The first thing I ever cooked was an omelette. I was in 6th grade and brought home a kid's cookbook from the library. I asked my mom if I could cook supper (dinner was the mid-day meal in my childhood) and for some reason she said yes - much to my suprise. Imagine! Obviously her judgement was impaired by the steady stream of kids in and out her house. All I really remember about that night is that the family- sized omelette was made, filled with jelly as the recipe suggested and my dad ate it and said it was good. I don't remember if anyone else ate it or not....Daddy said it was good. That is the genesis of my love of feeding people.
I had four siblings and my mom ran an in-home daycare - I don't know how she did it (or why she isn't in a home somewhere) except that the convenience food industry ramped up at the right time. Potato flakes, macaroni and cheese in the blue box, Hamburger Helper....a busy mom's best friends. Food that "foodies" would sniff at now but at the time it was almost exotic - at least for us. Chef Boyardee and Old El Paso were our ethnic choices. My mom - like most of the women I knew growing up - worked. Not in the women's lib version of a career woman but the worked-to-help-support-our-family - she didn't have time to lovingly slow cook a sauce or braise a hunk of meat to serve with roasted vegetables.
My grandmothers worked as well - one in a laundry and one on the farm. They cooked but I'm sure neither of them ever thought in terms of whether they "loved feeding people" or "entertaining," but my grandmothers were wonderful cooks...not just my opinion - I've heard many people say so. This is the way I see it: the food can't be that good unless there's a love component somewhere - whether it's the actual doing or the love for the ones being done for. While both were good, they had very different styles. My Big Grandma (she was tall) could do magic with canned biscuits and Shake 'n Bake while my Little Grandma (short, of course) was the epitomy of the country cook - she could probably count on her two hands the number of days that she didn't make a pan of biscuits (more on those later.)
I love to cook. I love to entertain. I love to love people with food. I'm told I do all of those well. We'll see how well I write about it. I'm excited to tell you about the food that was cooked for me throughout my life and the influence that it's had on the food that I cook now.
(BTW...who puts an omelette in a kid's cookbook?)