A friend of mine is moving into her first apartment soon. She's full of excitement and terror, this is a big step for her. She loves cooking, so to make the leap a little easier I'm preparing two gifts. She already knows about the selection of spices I"m giving her, all pulled from my spice cabinet. The other is a surprise.
I'm writing down a bunch of recipes I've cooked for her in the past, food she's loved. My mother did something similar for me when I moved out on my own and I deeply appreciated it.
These are all foods she could find recipes for online, but they wouldn't be my recipes, not the food she's eaten when needing comfort, so it wouldn't be the same.
It's odd for me, writing all of these recipes down, I've never done this before. Sure, I've jotted down notes, but most of these are foods I learned how to cook from my mother or things I figured out on my own.
Tuna noodle casserole
Chicken and rice
It's at once both an interesting exercise ("Just how much spice do I use? How do I measure a palmful?") and a chance to think back on what defines comfort, how I comfort myself and others.
I came across a Craig Clairborne quote recently that I may use as the header for this recipe collection. "Cooking is at once child's play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love." I think this captures much of my feeling towards cooking.
I expect she will appreciate this gift. I hope she adds to it with her own recipes and passes it on someday. Because, really, food is better when shared.
(c) 2009 Laura S. Packer