I may be a little tardy to the party but I’m joining in the fun anyway. I stumbled upon this January Blog A Day on sotaissexy.com yesterday and decided to take on the challenge. Which, ahem, in all honesty could be pointless because I’m really bad with stuff like this … I’ve started the “photo a day” challenges a few times and have not made it past the first day. So don’t be surprised if this turns out the same way and this is the only one you ever read lol.
The day 9 challenge is “Made with Love”. This phrase instantly makes me think of what my dad sometimes tells my mom and I when we’re in the kitchen together cooking, “Remember to make it with love” or “Be sure to put love into it”. There are also those times when things don’t turn out quite right and he’ll say, “you didn’t put love into it”. Which honestly, between you and me, can be a smidge irritating when you’re lamenting a recipe gone wrong. But don’t tell him that I told you that, ha! He can always tell if there’s something missing in a recipe and just by tasting it, tell you exactly what that something is.
He’s probably like this because of my grandma, who’s wonderful cooking, full of lots flavor and yes, lots of love, spoiled us all. She would often times be known to cook up a big pan of Enchiladas, Spanish rice (she made the best Spanish rice known to man!), beans, and homemade tortillas on any given day for the whole extended family to come feast and enjoy. And feast we did! Oh and don’t even get me started on the holidays! I can still see her in her tiny kitchen cooking up a storm. The most amazing aromas wafting through the house. We still make her recipe for dressing every year. It’s simply a classic.
(A photo of my grandma cooking in her kitchen in the ‘90s. This is one of my favorite photos of her.)
She very much embodied what I think it means to make food with love. She loved cooking for her family. She loved being around her kitchen table, surrounded by her family talking, laughing, and sharing a meal. My grandpa, who was also a great cook in his own right, always there by her side assisting her. If one of her kids or grandkids asked her to make tortillas for them she would instantly spring into action, making a dozen (sometimes more) perfect tortillas in no time. And she always did it with a happy disposition. She always seemed glad to do it! I think it was one of the ways she showed her love.
I still remember as a kid when she would let us make our own tortillas. We’d form the dough and roll it out with her rolling pin then she’d cook them for us. I loved eating those tortillas right off the stove with butter. No store bought brand even compares, trust me. In recent years my mom, my sister, and I have ventured to recreate them and just can’t seem to get them right.
Gigantic pancakes on early Saturday mornings, roast and potatoes Sunday after church, her dressing & potato salad on Thanksgiving & Christmas, Coconut Cake on Christmas, tamales on New Years Eve. Those are just some of the special dishes of hers I still swoon over today.
My grandma past away a little over a year ago and we miss her like crazy. But I’m proud to carry on her recipes and traditions. Getting in the kitchen, putting on one of her vintage aprons, and cooking up her recipes is a fun and special way for me to keep her memory alive. Even though at times it can feel like a guessing game as there are rarely any exact measurements written down in her recipes. She was simply a pro at just eyeballing it. So it takes a little testing and tweaking to get the food just right. But it’s so worth it!
My grandma really taught me what it means to make food with love. She taught me that cooking for people is a way of showing them love. That sharing a meal together is important. I may not be as good of a cook as she was yet but because of her I will always strive to make my food with lots of love.