Food, like music, is a cultural transcendent. We bond over food. In looking at our cultural and geographical diversities we do have similar dishes to one another. The smell, look, taste and even thoughts of food conjure up very powerful memories for me. For better or for worse, food makes me happy. I have only to think of Paris and I can see the patisserie my sister and I visited near the apartment we were staying in. What could be better than sugar for breakfast? We feasted like Marie Antoinette on pastel colored cakes, éclairs, iced in chocolate, with billowing clouds of pastry cream oozing out and strawberries delicately sliced on top.
The aroma of something delicious wafting out of an oven door or an open window brings to mind childhood reminiscences. I grew up in an unusual household, in that both of my parents are excellent cooks. Through them I have learned to cook and to trust my instincts in the kitchen, to know if something is “right” by the smell, the look, the taste.
The food was just as important as the company. We all ate dinner together. That was our time to talk, to be. It took time to make the meal and therefore it should take time to enjoy it. We caught up on our day, on what was coming up for us in school, in work. Both of my parents worked and yet we still ate healthy balanced meals and they made time to be with us, no matter how tired they were.
It is a sad comment on today’s society that food companies are now making commercials to encourage us to prepare their particular meal in the hopes that we will have a “family night” once a week to enjoy it. Family night is every night. It should be the core of your household; the kitchen is after all the “heart of the home”. But, maybe the problem lies with us instead, with the busier we get as a society and the more media based we become, possibly the only option is for the media to encourage us to get back down to family basics.
As I was doing a little research I came across an old Susan Branch newsletter pertaining to some of her cookie recipes. I have always loved her illustrations, wishing I had that talent. I have given her books to friends in the past knowing they will thoroughly enjoy thumbing through them with a good cup of hot cocoa or tea, but at the same time, I am sad to not be keeping it for myself as my own little treasure to go back to again and again.
Having made some of her recipes in the past I wanted to share this link with you; I am not sure which I enjoy more the recipes or just staring over the charming illustrations surrounding them. As Julia Child says, “Bon Appétit”!
(recipe card image taken from “Recovered Recipes“)