How do recipes happen? How is food culture transmitted? In the best sense, a recipe is a quilt of who a family is. Leave it to the internet to make everyone their own rock-star. Celebrity chefs and food bloggers put a face forward and the impression is that each of these individuals created from whole cloth a million different dishes and innovations. The fact is, that we whisk like our moms taught us to do. We roll pie crusts like our grandmothers, and knead with the turn of the wrist that we saw our grandfathers perfect. Not only are my genetics a product my parents and grandparents, but my cooking is descendant of these people as well…innovated here and there certainly…but I am Virgil’s grand-daughter in the kitchen.
Do you cook with ghosts? I do. It inspires and informs me.
My grandfather was from Iowa. He had a knack for sticking corn in a lot of his dishes. Having 7 children (and you do the math on subsequent hordes of rugrats) he also had a knack for making a hearty and filling meal that would feed a crowd. It was always a crowd. He made simple food, with love. But it was a reflection of who he was and the family he led. He and my Grandma Katie were masters of stretching a dollar and using inexpensive ingredients to make nice meals.