Thursday, April 08, 2010
The aroma of baked chicken on a cold day
Brrrr... after a day of off and on storms, the cold front came through (literally with a bang). I knew it was going to get chilly again but the shock of a windchill back in the 30s left me shivering as I walked to the county road for my newspaper. It is weather like this in the Midwest that has caused my husband all the years of our marriage to say we're moving to San Diego (or another place where the meteorologists can become bored).
Later today, I plan to watch the West Ladies' herb DVD again... while I want to learn about the herbs, it is also just fun to watch and a good way to take a break from housework. Yes, their videos are outstanding and even the music videos are of excellent quality. Every Franklin Springs video I've seen is of such high quality.
A chicken is in the oven... stuffed only with half a rather large onion, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with both salt and Mrs. Dash's lemon pepper. The white meat is destined for a chicken casserole this evening, a promise to my son for dinner should he be able to come home in time. The remainder of the chicken (along with the onion stuffing and any good "drippings") will be placed in a stock pot for a very welcome chicken soup. Nothing fancy... just the chicken stock, dark meat, and a handful of brown rice... perhaps a squirt of lemon... all sounding wonderful when it is cold and one has the sniffles.
Speaking of food and such, I stated reading Molly Wizenberg's book A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table. Not only did it survive the first few chapters but I couldn't put it down. I was reading it just before midnight last night and finished it this morning. (Reading in the daytime is a luxury which comes when your children grow up.)
Now, there are a few instances of mild "language" but never the foul vulgarity found in Julie & Julia (which, if you have read here for long, you will know I find one of the worst books ever and returned it to the library after two or three chapters). She admits to being "nonreligious" but not in an offensive way.
Molly, in sharing her life and how she came to start her blog (Orangette) does talk about a few romantic encounters through the years... before meeting her husband... and they lived together before their wedding. While not my lifestyle, she does not go into detail or become vulgar as in the previously mentioned book. Nor does she have the loose morals of Alice Walter's in her hippy lifestyle which one reads about (over and over) in her biography.
What one does come away with is a love for food and the realization of how food can be such an integral part of all our relationships, especially family and close friends. Here is an excerpt from the beginning of her book:
"When I walk into my kitchen today, I am not alone. Whether we know it or not, none of us is. We bring fathers and mother and kitchen tables, and every meal we have ever eaten. Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, and who we want to be."
As soon as I read that paragraph, I knew this woman felt the same way I did about food and recipes and how I associate those who have gone from my life (whether through death or having moved to another state) with their recipes. She is an excellent writer and I do recommend the book with the above cautions. Some can read it and overlook her personal life, others cannot.
Stephanie was telling me recently what items she will be moving in their van to keep them safe. I reminded her that one of the objects I always kept with me (and never allowed on a moving van) was the recipe box that held our most important family recipes. I do have two other recipe boxes, one which holds recipes I don't use often (but want to keep) and the other which contains Taste of Home recipe "cards". But the box which held the important recipes came along with me, usually sitting beside my purse where I could keep an eye on them. :)
I have mentioned before that my in-law's were critical people and my husband's memories are not always pleasant. However, the exception to this was dinner time and his mother's cooking. I must admit when I think of them, it is almost always at that table in the "breakfast room" addition... looking out on their backyard. I thought of my mother-in-law as I pulled out the casserole recipe this morning for she was the "queen of casseroles".
My own mother comes to mind when I fry chicken or make her vegetable soup... and on those rare times we eat at our favorite cafeteria, which mom loved. We were just talking about her recently when we saw a commercial for the cafeteria, how in all the years she went there she ordered the same items off the menu. :)
Making candy brings the remembrance of Bonnie's mother-in-law and her homemade candy each Christmas... even though she passed away long before Christopher was born. For food memories are among the strongest and longlasting.
That is the message of the book and it made me want to take the recipe card file to the coffee table, along with a hot cup of tea... and go down memory lane... with the recipes of others and my own from long ago when our family was younger. :)