Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Trove of Treasure

A few years ago, we packed up my Grandparents home as they became unable to live independently. We moved them into my Dad's house so they took some of their belongings and each of us grandchildren chose to keep some of the things with special meaning and memories of our time with Gram and Pap. Last week, Gram's rolling pin provided me a way to crush coffee beans in the power outage. This week, while packing for a move of my own, I went through the box of the other treasures I had saved from their house and found another gem - her recipes.

I remember standing in the kitchen on a stool, not yet tall enough to reach the counter. She and I would spend the days together cooking up a treat or dinner for the family. She always made sure to combine cooking with learning about measuring, and doing things in order, and dry vs. wet ingredients. She also passed along safety rules in the kitchen and I still make certain the handles of pots and pans on the stove are turned in to avoid an inadvertant bump and spill of the hot contents.

We would laugh and taste and try something new from the latest magazine or newspaper column. Some of the things turned out plain awful and we didn't care. Most of our creations were soon enjoyed by the family and she and I would glow from the compliments. Cooking was something we did together. To this day, she will happily tell the story of the time she asked me to wash the potatoes for dinner and later found me standing (on my stool) by the sink scubbing the potatoes clean with dishsoap.

As I leaf through these pages, I can't help but wonder if we've lost the treasure of cooking with our children. In our fast-paced, get-things-done-kind-of-world, families don't cook much at all anymore. And, what many people now consider "cooking" is to open a box to throw it into the oven.

I fear we are raising a generation of kids who won't have the chance to benefit from one of the sweetest memories of my childhood. Cooking isn't something to get done. Cooking is something to savor and enjoy with the people we love. A world, and dare I say hearts, open when you stand in the kitchen with someone and prepare food out of raw materials.

I think our world, our hearts and our kids could benefit from a great big dose of cooking together. A humble thought, perhaps, and one worth considering.

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