In Search of Grandmothers' Recipes
These days, comfort can come in many forms.
The world on a lockdown from our normal social and familiar reconnaissance, leaving us longing for the times when we could roam free, enjoy our social gatherings, and take pleasures in life out and about. But in this time of semi-isolation, many are trying to find ways to make their self whole again. We relax, become creative, resourceful, inventive, work on bettering ourselves, and explore new avenues of interests and desires. We find ourselves looking for freshness and new air, finding sources of mediation, reminiscing, and finding new hope and purpose for the future.
I know some people are enjoying a lightened work load. Some are struggling without the means they had before. Some are trying to reinvent themselves in a career that has had to drastically change in order to adapt and overcome these new times. This has been uncharted territory for so many, and together we have pulled through.
As a chef, one of the commonalities I find amongst my peers, is that food is a comfort, and or, a vice for our daily lives that are so hectic and demanding. We love the food, how we make it, but even more so, how it makes us feel. Or how our customers and guests feel. And that’s why we keep on coming back for more, and subjecting ourselves to a lifestyle most wouldn’t understand.
And now, as the world waits for a return to the most normalcy we can get, I find myself lost in thoughts, trying to stay focused on teaching a hands-on curriculum, now in an online format. I am yearning for the day to be back in the kitchen, with my students, and showing them my passion. When people ask me how I learned to cook, the go to answer is my Grandma.
I was lucky enough to have lots of Grandmothers, who loved me very much. The comfort I found in their kitchens probably is what drew me into this crazy world. Their recipes were not only of love, but out necessity of the time, using ingredients that were available. I enjoyed making something “good”. I was fascinated by the processes, and even more so by the results.
As I sit here, edging on the brink of boredom, trying to come up with ways to keep my idle mind engaged and prosperous, I start missing foods from my childhood. Now, growing up, we very rarely ate “fancy”. And when we did eat “fancy” it is definitely a far cry from the “fancy”, luxurious, and scrumptious delights that I pleasure now. And then as my significant other and myself start talking about things we want to eat during the week, and planning our meals, I remember foods I loved from my childhood, I ate at my grandmothers’ houses.
Weird. I could prepare and eat literally anything I wanted, but was thinking about “enchilada casserole”: a Midwestern creation from my Grandma Maxene, that layered flour tortillas, ground beef drenched in canned enchilada sauce, and shredded Monterey jack cheese. Mundane at best, but one of the many things she taught