It was something that was learned at home. Watching competent hands dance around the kitchen, tossing about ingredients and measurements that have been memorized by how they feel at the fingertips. Kitchen secrets that get passed down in writing and in watching. I remember my mom’s pantry stuffed with boxes, they were full of the tattered soft fringes of faded cards and books. Pages that were stained and loose in their book. Worn cards of that lovely hand script that our grandparents were raised to perfect. Script that outlined the customization to make the dish unique to the one who prepared it. These recipes were traded amongst family like sacred trading cards. If something ever happened to them then the collective memory had to recreate the recipe in their own handwriting.
If I could go back and talk to Childhood Me I would whisper to her, how much I needed to learn to cook. How one day I would rely on strangers’ reviews and websites to help me hone this trade. How this skill would make my life easier, more enjoyable, healthier. I wish I could go back, stop what I was doing and ask my mom to stop what she was doing and cook with me.
Instead, I perfected a spaghetti recipe and called that enough to venture into adulthood. At 21 I started to become a regular on AllRecipes, trying out every recipe a poor bachelorette could afford. A desperate effort to cook more than pasta, and hopefully, impress my boyfriend. It worked because now he is my husband.
I’m not a seasoned chef, but there are some standbys in this family that are our go-tos. There are recipes I will show my kids, write on cards in my half-writing/half-printing that our generation never needed to refine, and hopefully they will make them to impress someone special in their lives. Or just make me dinner once in a while.
Here are some of those recipes. . . . .
Bean Chili on Baked Yams – From one mom to another, put chili on your meal list. It is easy, cheap, hearty and you can top it with all the goodies – like avocado, cheese, cilantro. I really love to add this Alder Smoked Sea Salt to my chili. Roast some whole yams and ladle this chili on top of them.
Braised Coconut Spinach with Chickpeas and Lemon – This recipe is like quiche, it sounds far more complicated than it actually is. This recipe is so delicious and we love to eat it with baked yams and top it with sunflower seeds.
The Glory Bowl – This one might seem onerous, but it’s not. You turn on some brown rice, fry some tofu, blend the dressing and grate some veggies. Okay, that does sound like a lot of work. But it is filling, in that kind of smug/ ‘i just ate enough veggies to last me a month so now I’m gonna eat the last half of this ice cream cake when everyone goes to bed’/ feeling . . .or so I’ve heard.
Creamy Chicken and Tomato Soup – I put a call out for crockpot recommendations when Dawson was born. My instafriend Mandy recommended this one and it has been a go-to ever since. It is ridiculously easy, and it uses food from your pantry and freezer. Which comes in handy when groceries are low but the thought of shopping with three toddler is about as exciting as taking a bunch of cats to a swimming pool.
Avocado Lime Chicken with Coconut Rice – In this house avocados are a luxury. I feel like when we have them I hoard them for the ‘best recipes’ then get like produce anxiety and let them go bad because I held out too long. So if you have this totally normal problem like me, then add this avocado recipe to your ‘today is the only day we can eat this avocado before it goes bad’ options list.
I realize now that these are all gluten and dairy free recipes. After feeling like I only ate beans, peanut butter and tears for that year being GFDF – I suppose there was some culinary reward in it after all!
I would love to hear your go-tos, if there is a recipe you make on the regular send it, message it, tweet it, tag it and let me know!
I am joining in on #fiveonfriday with these other great bloggers:
Christine at Just Another Edmonton Mommy
Jac and Juli at Two Fun Moms
Paula at Product Junkie
Carin at Eclectic Soapbox
Diane at Canadian Basics
Judith at Juicy Green Mom