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Gifted Gourmet

Pay homage to your mother: her "culinary gift"?

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article: Louisville Courier-Journal

Just in time for Mother's Day, three titles pay homage to home cookin'.

First up, Christopher Styler's "Behind Every Great Chef, There's a Mom!" (Hyperion), which surveys Nigella Lawson, Anthony Bourdain and 30 other gustatory giants about the dishes that launched them toward their careers.

"In Mother's Kitchen: Celebrated Women Chefs Share Beloved Family Recipes" More than 50 cooks, including Alice Waters and Lidia Bastianich, reveal recipes for their favorite childhood foods -- from Cajun shrimp to matzo balls.

"Finding Betty Crocker: The Secret Life of America's First Lady of Food" (Simon & Schuster). Susan Marks' "biography" of the imaginary icon melds a history of the cake-mix empire with sweet touches ...

What special gift did your mother give you in terms of culinary skills or even a love for some aspect of cooking?

My own example? My mother didn't like cooking at all ... :sad: and, from that, I learned to love all things connected with food ... :biggrin: Thanks, Mom, for letting me find my own way to this complex, yet thoroughly exhilarating and deeply rewarding, "new world"!


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Since I was raised mostly by my Grandmother (my mom's mom) we both had the same influences growing up. My mom garnered my grandmother skills at creating the most amazing stocks and developing down home traditional Scottish dishes. I on the other hand, was taught the intricacies of making shortbread when I when I was very very little. My grandmother was brilliant in the kitchen, although she really like butter and fat, and my love for food came from her. My mom is my partner in the kitchen. The two of us can go into a fairly empty kitchen and create something spectacular and we have we have this little dance that we seem to do that can't really be described. I love cooking with my mom :wub: and I can't imagine a better way to spend a day.

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My mom always stressed the importance of vegetables. All kinds except beets, which I now love anyway. Some of my strongest cravings are for vegetables and I found it very easy to be a vegetarian for over ten years (tho I'm not now). Thanks Ma. :wub:


Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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Wisdom, love and respect for those long gone to dine on their lobster Thermidor in the sky dictate that I do not comment on my mother's cooking abilities. Whatever, her cooking abilities she did, by heaven, enjoy dining and dining well and that love was passed on to me.

As to specific "gifts", on my twelfth birthday she presented me with a copy of Brillat-Savarin's "Physiologie du Gout" (published also in English as "The Philosopher in the Kitchen"). I have since read that work cover-to-cover probably a hundred times.

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My mom is a fantastic cook, she loved (and still do) to cook for us because we were always very appreciative. What I learnt from her was purely through observation; I chatted with her while she cooked. She was so efficient, she didn't need an assistant in her kitchen. So, I never knew how to cook until I got married. However, I've inherited from her the desire to cook/bake something until I get it to perfection, and I also love to whip things up from the kitchen for my own family now. Thanks, ma.


TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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My mom taught me how to enjoy the outdoors, how to transplant wildflowers and touch snakes and walk barefoot and find fossils in the creek, how to garden and read and laugh.

As far as cooking, I am afraid it was more what NOT to do: don't put the broccoli on to boil when you put the roast in, don't buy day-old bread from the used bread store, don't buy the cheapest generic everything.

She did teach me how to make pie crust. :biggrin:


sparrowgrass

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ahhh...

At first, I suppose, I learned a lot from my mother. My mother and grandmothers are/were all amazing cooks. None of them trained - all of them good. My childhood memories are vague - but I grew up knowing how to cook, and that's all due to my mother.

Now, we have more of a give and take relationship in the kitchen. She is still teaching me how to make certain dishes, mostly traditional ones. I am updating what we're doing - picking up techniques online, through books, shows and experimentation. We've even thrown the idea of a mother/daughter cookbook at my publisher.

I am sure of one thing though - if my mother wasn't such an amazing cook, who makes her living from cooking, I wouldn't make my living from cooking. I grew up in her food business and it shaped my life.

And since it's her birthday today, I may let her read this post :wink:


Edited by Pam R (log)

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My grandmother was brilliant in the kitchen, although she really like butter and fat, and my love for food came from her.  My mom is my partner in the kitchen.  The two of us can go into a fairly empty kitchen and create something spectacular and we have we have this little dance that we seem to do that can't really be described.  I love cooking with my mom :wub: and I can't imagine a better way to spend a day.

What exactly did your grandmother make with her butter and fat (aren't they the best ingredients anyway?? :laugh: )? Any specific recollections?

And I really enjoyed the part of your post about "creating something spectacular" with your mother! and the little dance! Beautiful! :biggrin:


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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My Mom raised me watching Julia and that crazyman Galloping Gourmet. Plus Grandpa owned a restaurant, kinda grew up at the bar- slugging Shirley Temples! It's no wonder my passion is food & wine and even though I am no longer "in the biz", whenever spouse and I dine out I am "working".

But seriously, Mom taught me to be brave- try anything, and you don't always have to follow the recipie!

Thanks Mum!

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My Mom was raised by frustrated Victorians who were suspicious of food in its raw or bloody form. Mom's generation was sure that white sugar and processed flour was the Devil incarnate. From that schizophrenic kitchen philosophy, I learned it's OK to fail. There's alot happening, life will go on - just do your best, and try not to let things get out of perspective. It's a meal, not a defended Master's thesis.


I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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My mother helped me learn to make mistakes. I would pick something outrageous out of a cookbook, or something I had seen the Galloping Gourmet make and announce I was going to make a fabulous creation ( all 12 or so years of myself). It would usually be a disaster, but she was always praise my efforts. She even served the banana nut cake I made one afternoon, in which I had stirred in the salt as an afterthought as the layers were already baking!

She told me as soon as I learned how to write, I would lie in front of the televison and try to copy recipes from Graham Kerr. She saved some of them, and the most surprising one is where was trying to copy a recipe for Pate and I must have gotten really behind and in desperation threw in “one teaspoon of vanilla”!

My mother, grandmother and my father taught me everything and I love them for it.

You can’t learn if you don’t try!

She also taught me to never rinse flour with hot water, only cold.


If you can't act fit to eat like folks, you can just set here and eat in the kitchen - Calpurnia

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My mom taught me how to enjoy the outdoors, how to transplant wildflowers and touch snakes and walk barefoot and find fossils in the creek, how to garden and read and laugh.

As far as cooking, I am afraid it was more what NOT to do:  don't put the broccoli on to boil when you put the roast in, don't buy day-old bread from the used bread store, don't buy the cheapest generic everything.

She did teach me how to make pie crust. :biggrin:

I love that you say "used bread store"!!! That's what my family always said. I'm sure there's been a thread on odd connotations and euphemisms for kitchen items, foods, etc., but this one was so familiar, I couldn't help mentioning. Just like home.

My Mom's been gone eight years, and I STILL buy exactly the same brands she always did. But I'll never have her "hand" for piecrust.

rachel

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from the Washington Post: M Is for the Many Meals She Made

My grandmother's hands are wrinkled and buttered and floury.

Her swollen knuckles knead the flour into crusts for the pies. Her aching hands scrape and mix and season and dust and wash and stir as she hops around that little kitchen in Kansas on her one good leg.

At Grandmother's house, it was always about the Food. This was Soul Food, food for the soul. Sunday dinner was the glue in the family, like flour and water -- always spiced with drama.

Oy, the guilt (in a Jewish home anyway) ... :rolleyes: yet another interesting tribute for Mother's Day ... :biggrin:


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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My mother was a pretty good cook, but plain foods. I felt privileged that she would turn over her kitchen and let me cook anything I wanted for dinner. Later I realized what a favor I was doing for a farm wife with 4 kids. I don't remember having failures, and no one ever criticized my cooking, which gave me confidence in the kitchen. I wouldn't hesitate to cook for anyone.


Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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My mother is still the best cook I know. I don't think I've ever eaten a bad meal at her table. I still learn from her whenever I cook with her.

I've yet to learn her most incredible trick - throwing a dinner party but enjoying it as if she was a pampered guest instead of the host!

One day I'll master that and be completely unstoppable! To Mom - still teaching me to this day.


Stephanie Kay

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My mom was a good cook. She brought me up with little tips that I thought until the last few years that everyone knew. I see them published in magazines now and wonder how anyone couldn't have known whatever it happened to be. She taught me to party. The joy of guests in your home, the joy of preparing the best that you could offer at the time, and savoring those moments to the hilt. She instilled in me that it was good to try new things and if they didn't work out the first time, try it again if it didn't work out so well and forgetaboutit if it was going to be crummy anyway. There are many things I make just as she did and I think of her while I'm making it and enjoying it. I miss her still.

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I feel so lucky to still have my mom. She's getting close to 80 now, but she's still the queen of her kitchen no matter how much her daughters try to take over so she doesn't have to do all the work. These are the things that I have learned from my mother, not all of them about cooking, but these things ring out in my mind, always in her voice. I remember hearing them all from the time I was old enough to get that she was talking to me.

If you behave in the grocery store, you will get a package of suckers...6 of them, in a cello wrap, held together by an elastic. They still have them by the checkouts in a big barrel. And if I am shopping with her and I behave, she buys them for me :-) I'm 40, but what the heck.

Never pay more that $2 for a box of cereal

Biscuits: 2 cups of flour, a teaspoon of salt, 4 teaspoons of baking powder and a whole block of parkay...

Women over 40 should not have long hair. It makes you look old.

Women over 40 should not dye their hair black. It makes you look old.

Women over 40 should not wear red lipstick. It makes you look old. Especially if you have long black hair.

You can always spot a fake redhead by the way the sun makes her head glow like a new penny. Her scalp will be orange, too.

Cold water for flour, Hot water for cornstarch.

Food coloring does not make it 'special'

Everything looks good if you put enough whipped cream on it.

Always make more food than you will need. You don't want to look cheap, and someone might be going hungry at home and need the leftovers.

When making tea sandwiches, wrap them in waxed paper before you wrap them in a damp paper towel, then wrap them in a tea towel, Then put them in a plastic bag.

Trust me, I'm your mother.

He's a bum, get rid of him. He has long fingernails. I think he's a Nancy-boy (forgive that, she is old). Trust me, I'm your mother. She was right.

Marry this one, he's a keeper. Look, he is helping with the dishes. Trust me, I'm your mother. She was right again. Thank God I listened for once.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.


Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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Things my mother taught me

It's OK to love food--even foods that other people make fun of (sardines--yum!)

Driving across town (or even to another city) just to get that one perfect doughnut (or other food) is a perfectly normal thing to do.

You can find pleasure not just in a 5-star meal, but also in a bag of unshelled roasted peanuts and a can of Hires root beer.

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Lessons from my mom:

--Dinnertime is social. Come prepared to converse and be civil, even if you had a lousy day and flunked your seventh-grade Pre-Alegebra quiz for the umpteenth time.

--Christmastime without panettone and torrone is unthinkable.

--Cooking and baking are forms of creative expression.

--Rinse those before you put them in the dishwasher (whywhywhy?!).

--Ye of Italian Descent Shall Not Add Sugar to Pasta Sauce.

--Clean as you go. (Also known as, leave the kitchen the way you found it.)

--Seasonings and spices are your friends.

--Food is a doorway into other cultures and parts of the world.

--Those who cook for you love you; pass it on.

Yay, Mom! :wub:

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In what context do you "rinse flour?"

Off of a plate, off of a counter, out of a dish or bowl.......


If you can't act fit to eat like folks, you can just set here and eat in the kitchen - Calpurnia

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I remember my mom (now 81, but she doesn't look it or act like it) getting all excited when we got to "start a new meat."

She used to have PITCHERS of martinis ready for when my dad came home from work. :wacko:

She cooked for her 6 children nearly every night that I can remember. My dad was in Vietnam (two tours) when I was little, and then my brothers and sisters all moved out (I'm the baby - well, the 43-year-old baby) and soon it was just Mom, Dad, me.

Things I still make that I remember her making are her beef stroganoff (braise round steak strips for a couple of hours - she would never have used tenderloin or sirloin - way too expensive); "Sicilian Meat Roll" (meatloaf stuffed with ham and cheese); pot roast French dips; killer thin sliced potatoes layered in a spiral pattern, sprinkled with oregano and paprika, a little water, tons of butter, baked until crispy. She always put mustard on her roast beef before putting it in the oven. On Fat Tuesday she would let me stay home from school and we would make homemade doughnuts.

She's a great mom.


I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

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In what context do you "rinse flour?"

Off of a plate, off of a counter, out of a dish or bowl.......

Thanks. I thought for a minute there that I'd missed some esoteric process for purifying it before baking. I had visions of dabbling into the bowl with both hands, carefully separating the grains, rubbing each one gently between my fingers like rinsing rice before cooking.

I feel better now.

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:biggrin::raz:

If you can't act fit to eat like folks, you can just set here and eat in the kitchen - Calpurnia

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