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Think simple food is sometimes the best!

Monday, August 17, 2009

My mother is a great southern cook. She learned from her mother who was quite the accomplished cook as well. Southern tradition was women cooking all day everyday. Every meal was an event. My grandmother used to cook breakfast everyday that consisted of eggs, bacon, grits, toast or biscuits, potatoes of some form but most noteably fried, just like the eggs that were most often covered by the grits. I remember as a child one of the things all of us grandkids looked the most forward to when going to Granny and Papa's house was the ridiculous breakfast I just described.

Lunch was just as overdone and dinner, well, that was some sort of fried meat, a starch or two (always rice, but sometimes mashed potatoes too), at least two sometimes three vegetable sides, some sort of bread, be it biscuits or cornbread. Every day. What? Can you imagine trying to do that today? There aren't enough hours in the week, not to mention the day for me to pull that off. I cook for days to serve the aforementioned sides and a Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

I learned many many recipes from my Granny and my mom. I treasure all the time I spent in the kitchen watching them cook and learning their secrets. But, as a working mom with three, and sometimes four (stepson) children in the house, a long commute to/from work, homework, karate, social schedules, etc...I learned to cut corners and update those old recipes. Not because there was anything wrong with them, although I did cut out the frying everything because, well that just doesn't make sense for anyone. I learned to add flavor without spending days on end cooking a singular meal, and really...thank God for Food Network.

So, here's the thing. I enjoy cooking. It takes me back to a much simpler time, childhood. It is somewhere I can escape to. Even if just for the 20-30 minutes I spend making dinner for my family. On weekends I often cook meals that require more time, but weeknights, I find sometimes the simplest things are what my family enjoy the most. Take tonight for example. My daughter and I spent the majority of the afternoon shopping for school clothes. Once we got home, I spent 15 minutes tops assembling dinner. I sliced onions and potatoes, added baby carrots to the bowl. Salt, pepper and a little olive oil. Neatly placed six pieces of aluminum foil on the counter. Each piece of foil got one sirloin hamburger patty, a pat of butter, a sprinkle of steak seasoning, topped with equally portioned vegetables from the bowl. Roll the aluminum foil up and throw those Hobo dinners in the oven for 30 minutes. Simple. Tasty. EASY! Way cheaper than drive-thru and better for them!

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