Everyone cooks for different reasons. Everyone who cooks, cooks out of necessity. Others who cook, thoroughly enjoy doing it. Many enjoy creating art in the kitchen. Cooking in a way is an art form. These all tie into my passion for cooking.
I have always had an interest in art. As a child, I loved to paint, draw, sing, and write. Being creative always made me feel close, to my artist great-grandma that I never met. When I realized that I didn’t have a natural ability in any of these things, I slowly stopped. I have never been someone with natural ability. I was always envious of people who had it. So when I started things up, I didn’t last long because I never wanted to work for things. That was and still is one of my biggest flaws in life–and one that I tirelessly try to improve. It wasn’t until I started cooking, that I found something I was naturally good at.
My earliest memories in the kitchen began with my grandma, Vickie. She is the queen. All my cousins who cook can agree that she was the one who sparked their love for cooking. To this day, she is still the best at pulling together an entire meal. She always has a beautifully set table, a perfect main dish, and the best side dishes to accompany her meals. I have made everything in her kitchen from cookies to her homemade family favorite dinner rolls to becoming a master meatball roller. I temporarily lived with my grandparents when my parents got divorced, and she let me cook once a week at home. That’s when I started creating my own meals, and almost started a fire trying to flambé some liquor.
My aunt, Laurie was another crucial person for igniting my passion for cooking. I hung out with my aunt a lot, again when my parents were in the process of divorcing. Together we compiled a family cookbook and then we started cooking together on Sundays. I would bring a recipe and her and I would tackle it in the kitchen. She also would teach me recipes from the same great-grandma, like her homemade egg noodles, that were also passed down to her from Nana (my great-great grandma). We made things like pumpkin rolls and freezer friendly foods. My aunt Laurie is an amazing cook. She went from making the world’s best Italian Beef (a recipe I started with to create my own version) to now being a very experienced Vegan cook. A lot of the times, I enjoy her Vegan dishes she brings to family events over the non-Vegan dishes.
The last person who inspires me daily is my daddy. My dad is single-handedly the best cook I know on this planet, and half of our small town agrees. He is known as the soup nazi (Seinfield reference), the Meat Doctor, ect… He ignited my passion for cooking as a profession (even though I am currently not doing it). When I was in college, my dad bought a large trailer smoker. We did events all over the Midwest, he was even considered to do Sturgess out West, a huge biker event. I had an absolute blast doing these events with him. He did most of the cooking, because he makes the best BBQ I have ever had. But, I helped with whatever he needed and usually was his server. He has taught me how to use up ingredients in my house to make an amazing meal, he has attempted to help me to grill (but I haven’t got that yet), and he has instilled a passion for me to cook amazing meals for my family. He’s the first one I call for help, or he’s the first one I take a meal to that I think I really hit out of the park. My dream would be to run something with him when he retires, but he has gotten to the point where he just enjoys cooking for others for the love of it and not to make money at it. I just absolutely love being in the kitchen with him; we not only create amazing food together, but I usually am dying from laughter.
I am so thankful everyday for these three people. They instilled a passion for cooking in me that I will never lose. I am so grateful to them that they gave me the ability to cook for my own family. I hope in the years to come my own girls want to be in the kitchen with their mom, baking cookies and my favorite dishes that I can pass down to them.
*I’d also like to give a shout out to my mama, who is the queen of Thanksgiving and holiday meals. I also love being in the kitchen with her. We have a blast and we usually always go all out like seafood galore dinner or prime rib!