Why I Cook…

One day a neighbor brought me some fresh garden vegetables–actually a lot of them.  He asked if I cooked.  My response was flippant, “I have to cook if want to eat!”

Well, I discovered many women in my neighborhood do not cook–ever.  When their children grew up and left home, they ceased to cook.  Imagine, I am unique on my street.

And it really is true, if I want to eat I have to cook.
This is Thanksgiving week–when all America gathers to cook and eat.

So I pondered the question and came up with some of the reasons I choose to cook–

  1. Do you celebrate with food?  I do–birthdays, holidays, specific days when my taste buds demand a change or I’m reminded of a dish I particularly like.
  2. Sharing traditions with persons who are important to me–my daughters who share my love of Ancestors.  My friends and clients whose ancestors I have traced.  Family traditions included beloved recipes brought from the old country and passed along to younger generations.
  3. Food brings even warring relatives to the same table–and think about the First Thanksgiving–when there was the hope that natives and aliens might share the peace of  tables laden with food. Not just once but often.
  4. Food is comfort.  We talk of Comfort Food when we are sick or afraid or tired.  Prepared without fuss and eaten while still hot or cold.  Food shared with friends or neighbors as a gift of comfort.
  5. Food can express love–you can share your skills, and experience, and knowledge with those around you, as gifts of love.  The Christmas season is like that–when women share the bounty of the harvest in preserves and jellies and pickles and salsa with each other.  Exchanging each others favorites for just a taste of home.
  6. Do you share spectacular deserts and showy casseroles and tortes, just to impress those around you?  Parties and picnics–even the County Fair  are occasions to WOW others with your culinary prowess.

Actually, I often cook simply to please myself and my own taste buds.  Lemon Meringue Pie.  Tomato-Beef Goulash.  Paradise Salad.  Fresh French bread and Applesauce.  Baked Potato with Butter and Salsa.  Simple pleasure of the palette.  With a Southern flair–although to my knowledge I have no Southern ancestry–Mostly Welsh and northern English who arrived in America after 1850.  Where did my Southern Palette come from?  Stay tuned!  Your favorite Virginia genealogist, Arlene Eakle  http://arleneeakle.com


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