After camping all week, and staying in a small trailer that did not have hookups for water and electricity, I really appreciate my kitchen with running, hot water and a microwave, not to mention the added space and counter tops.

Sometimes I think you need to get away from your comfort zone to appreciate what you have. All of a sudden, my kitchen is more than good enough. Having a big refrigerator and freezer is awesome. Being able to run water and wash dishes without having to think about filling up the tank is priceless.  I appreciate my little kitchen and was motivated to cook dinner tonight, despite the heat.

Cooking feels like such a maternal thing to me. When I cook, I feel like I’m providing for my family.  It’s like I’m giving them a gift, even though they would be just as happy with take out. I feel like I’m taking care of them in a small way.  And when they take a bite and tell me they love my cucumber salad, or the taste of my fried rice, I am happy. I LOVE this connection.  It’s the little things.

Pork and Shrimp Fried Rice

Pork and Shrimp Fried Rice

Cucumber Salad

So many of our memories are tied to food and smells. When I think of what my kids will remember from their childhood, I wonder if they’ll remember my Thai curries or will it be the way I crisped up the Trader Joe’s Frozen Mandarin Orange Chicken in the oven, which is one of their favorites.  Maybe it’ll be something more simple as mashed potatoes or more likely it’ll be their dad’s barbecued or smoked meats on the Traeger and his homemade BBQ sauces.

My favorite memories from the kitchen were my Mama’s Italian spaghetti sauce, my Opa’s Indonesian Sayur Lodeh, and my Grandma’s chocolate glazed cookies without nuts.  I also used to love it when my mom would make her magic bars with a graham cracker crust, shredded and toasted coconut and chocolate chips all held together with sweetened condensed milk.  Oh, and on special occasions, my Aunt Vicki used to make this chocolate mousse cake with crushed chocolate wafer cookies for the crust with a thick, rich, dark chocolate mousse filling that she would then top with chocolate coated leaves that were so beautiful.

Oh, such sweet memories.  What food memories do you have from your childhood? Do you make a couple specialities that your family loves?

Happy Cooking.  Happy Memories. Happy Life.

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