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Essay

On Cooking

I’ve had more than a couple of people ask me why I don’t include an actual “recipe” with each of my posts.  In all honesty, I forgot to include it with my first post and I told my sister that it made it seem more like a “show.”  Which, I liked.  =)  But, at that point, I fully intended to include an actual recipe at the end of each instructional post.

Then, I started thinking about it, and what my intentions are with this blog.  It wasn’t necessarily to “share recipes”, per se, as much as it was to share my love of cooking and food and to hopefully inspire others to do the same.  I also don’t do a whole lot of measuring.  I know this is common with home cooks (which is what I am) but I really want you, dear readers, to know why I don’t.  I could, I guess, make each of my dishes and measure everything out — but then that leaves you with only directions to follow and no room for creativity.  My goal here is to inspire you to learn what you like, what those you cook for like, and follow your tastebuds accordingly.  I want to be the springboard you use to get in the kitchen and cook – and more importantly, to love doing it.

I see food and cooking as such an integral part of who I am.  I love to eat, yes – as evidenced by my dress size – but cooking puts me in a place of love and nostalgia that centers my soul.  I’ve never seen it as a chore, but more as a way to show those I love how much I love them, by offering them nourishment in a way that also brings them pleasure and happiness.  What could be more noble than that?  It makes my heart swell when I set a plate down in front of someone and they look up at me with the gratitude that only a perfect cream gravy can induce.  And I know that gravy didn’t come easy.  I have worked and re-worked my method so many times that I think I can pretty much make it in my sleep.  And all that work was worth it, believe me.  And I want to teach you from my mistakes and my triumphs, so that you can also have that feeling.  But even more so — I want you to have that feeling because you took the time and put the work into it to have it exactly how you like it.  Again — I want to be a springboard.

So, while you won’t find many actual “recipes” in this blog, you will find, I hope, a little spark of interest in doing something for yourself and for those you love, to bring them happiness and conversation and laughter and those little things that make life worth living.

I also want to honor my mother with this blog, for it was she who gave me my spark.  I remember standing on the “other side” of the counter, kneeling in a kitchen chair, and watching her work her magic.  She would throw out little tidbits of knowledge occasionally, which I took and hoarded like a squirrel with an acorn.  She seemed to know so much about food!  My very first egg roll was hand  made by my Louisiana born mother, because she wanted to see if she could do it.  And also she knew – and let me know by her example – that sometimes, you can just make things better yourself.  I think in the 30 or 35 years or so that it’s been since then, I have yet to have an egg roll as delicious as those my mother made herself.  And you know what?  She never made them again.  She had proven to herself that she could do it, shared the spoils of her victory with her grateful family, and moved on to her next challenge.  Lasagne, chimichanga, mocha cheesecake….these are all dishes that were first eaten by me that were made by my mother’s hand.  And her southern and cajun dishes were beyond compare.  I really miss her cooking, but I miss her more.  She died in 2005, and took with her a wealth of knowledge that was hard-learned and shared with colorful stories of her childhood in the country and of her days “before kids.”  So much of what I learned about and loved about my mother was in the kitchen.  Kaye’s Kitchen – the best “restaurant” I’ve ever eaten at.  (She would tell me the previous sentence was incorrectly structured….but I’m leaving it that way.)

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, just cook.  And eat.  And cook for the people you love, and eat with them.  This is what it’s all about.  This is where the heart is.  And I hope I can assist you, with love.

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Discussion

18 thoughts on “On Cooking

  1. OMG! You made me cry! I love this post so much. Now, if I could only get up there to The Cottage so I could eat some of this delicious food!

    Posted by Kelly Dodson | 07/06/2011, 3:55 am
  2. i just cried

    Posted by Sandy Murphy Lockwood | 07/06/2011, 3:56 am
  3. Beautifully written, and well said, Shannon. At first I was really excited about the idea of a lasagna chimichanga mocha cheesecake, and then I saw the commas, and I had a sad face. I really enjoy your blog, though..and look forward to future posts!

    Posted by Stephen Murrell | 07/06/2011, 3:58 am
    • Thank you, Stephen! Maybe I’ll start working an a lasagne chimichanga mocha cheesecake for you…. =)

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog, and even gladder we are back in touch! It’s been too long, friend!

      Posted by cottagefries | 07/06/2011, 4:12 am
  4. My heart is bursting with pride and love for you, Shannon Gassie Norman. Nice job.

    Posted by Joey Gassie | 07/06/2011, 4:12 am
  5. Well said, love!

    Posted by cottagefries | 07/06/2011, 6:20 am
  6. I remember being on the other side of the counter, too- waiting to “lick the beaters.” Remember mom’s homemade root beer phase? And the doughnut phase? Good times, good times.

    Great post, sissy.

    Posted by anitadrink72 | 07/06/2011, 6:38 am
  7. Trying to figure out how to leave a comment instead of a reply.. Hmmm.. Maybe this will work.

    Posted by Leigh | 07/07/2011, 11:32 am
  8. Beautiful post. I know that not many people cook anymore unless it is the 15 minute half-microwaved kind of cooking that most of us do when we have time. I love the fact that you are cooking the way our mothers did while we were growing up. Your boys are lucky that they won’t miss out on that experience because I know firsthand that some of the best memories of growing up are a mother’s cooking. Much love to you.

    Posted by Michael Hughes | 07/08/2011, 5:53 pm

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