What does cooking mean to you?

Heritage cooking is all about preserving and passing family recipes and traditions, not just recipes and traditions for my family, but for your family too.  The importance of the family sitting around the dinner has become the stuff of legend in modern society.  Parents are working, children have schedules that account for every waking hour, and fast food is becoming the easiest way to feed our family while answering the smartphone and throwing a load of clothes in the washer. 

We are all so busy, or so we think, that taking a half an hour to sit and down, at the table, and eat a healthy meal has ceased to be important for many families.  Which of course raises two key questions, when do you then find out what is going on in your children’s lives and how are you passing on food traditions when you pick up dinner at the drive-thru window?

We all have food memories, from the smell of coffee brewing while blueberry muffins bake to Dad outside grilling hamburgers.  In my family there are some seriously strong food traditions, pumpkin pie for my Dad’s birthday cake and my mother never tinkering with her apple pie recipe immediately come to mind.  Those are just two that pop into my head amongst many others, but not a single one of those memories involve dinner from the local drive-thru. 

I learned to cook almost passively to be honest.  My mother is a great cook and I grow up watching her cook.  She always offered to let me help but I never accepted the offer.  When I got my first place during college, I quickly realized that I hated frozen dinners and that getting another dining hall pass wasn’t the answer either.  Thus began my great learning curve of learning to cook, an adventure I’m still on today.  I never attended culinary school and I have never worked in a food establishment of any kind.  I am a cook, not a chef, not a foodie, just a simple, plain, old fashioned cook. 

Twenty plus years later, I find myself amazed at the news reports on the declining family dinner table and the prevalence of fast food.  While we may be a nation of self-proclaimed foodies, how many of us cook everyday?  How many of make an honest attempt to pass on family recipes to younger family members?

Not having children of my own, I found myself at a crossroad wanting to pass on my cooking heritage but not having anyone to pass the knowledge to in our home.  The the little light bulb over my head went off last week, I can write the cookbook my husband has been after me to write for a couple of years now and pass the knowledge to my nieces and nephew who live just outside of Houston, we live outside of Phoenix.

So, having broached the idea with our oldest niece I started this blog.  It will keep us both motivated, it will help me focus on writing, and she’s agreed to be my recipe tester.   In the coming months, I will share experiences, recipes, and feedback for the test kitchens.