Well, thanks to so many awesome books, Food Network personalities like Paula Deen, Giada DeLaurentis, and yes, even Rachael Ray, cooking is hip!!!! I for one could not be happier. Some of my earliest childhood memories involve helping my mom peel vegetables for dinner, baking cookies with my maternal grandmother, and helping my dad's mom decorate wedding cakes which people ordered from her by the dozens in a tee-tiny Arkansas town. For as long as I can remember, these women just knew how to cook, and their cooking was the way they loved their families. Some of the funniest memories I have of my grandfather are of him and I watching Justin Wilson drink the majority of his bottle of wine with just a splash left for whatever dish he intended it to go into.
In the south, our livelihood is often food. We celebrated with food, we loved with food, and when someone needed it, we healed with food. New neighbors? Basket of baked goods. Friend had surgery or a death in the family? Casseroles. Good report card? Well....you get the idea.
It wasn't until recently that I realized all of the southern cooking I grew up loving, and the dishes I aspired to replicate actually had very healthy aspects. Sure we fried our fish, but it was caught fresh and cleaned by my grandfather. My other grandfather made his entire living with his crops. Rarely in the summer did I ever eat a fruit or vegetable that wasn't "MawMaw's purple hull peas" or "PawPaw's watermelon". In fact every Thanksgiving and Christmas there is at least one pecan pie with "MawMaws pecans" and one apple pie with "MawMaws apples". Let's not forget"Nannies' greens".
I love baking, chopping, stirring, mixing and pouring. I don't know if it is because of the recession, or what, but I am so excited that so many of my friends seem to be cooking at home more often these days. When you cook at home, you can control the quality and quantity of the ingredients you use. And benefit from having a very impressed man around the house. Afterall, the way to a man's heart really is through his stomach. Did Carrie Bradshaw ever think of that?
With this weekends release of Julie and Julia, I hope that people will fall in love with cooking the way I did when I was young. And I am so glad to tell my grandmas how long they have been "hip"!