I've been thinking back lately to my early twenties. Most of my friends were just making do in those days. Money was tight, and since it was yet another recession, most of us were satisfied if we had a job, even if it didn't pay much.
And yet, we were happy.
I have always had the kind of home with plenty of cooking. It really doesn't take much to make a house a home - just the smell of good cooking. It wafts out the doors and makes people want to come inside. I remember one year I was cooking a meatloaf on Halloween, and people kept asking me what smelled so good, peering around me, when I opened the door to hand out candy. It was the smell of home cooking.
I think that no matter where you live, or how little time you have, you should know how to cook. Today was rainy and a bit snowy, and we were feeling a little down. That tends to happen when you read the news. So I decided to cook my grandmother's 'kniphla and saurkraut' dinner. It didn't take long, and the house was full of yummy smells. Browning onions have a way of upping the good smell quotient.
It wasn't long before I was thinking about a holiday brunch that I want to have sometime in early December. I was starting to feel better. Looking forward to things, people, the holidays.
Cooking is deeply ingrained in our psyche. It is how our forefathers and ancestors nurtured their families and friends. It brings people together in a very basic way. It's important.
So instead of going out next week when we drive, yet again, to Sacramento, to go to a Comedy Club for my brother's never ending birthday celebration, I'm going to cook. I'll take all the ingredients, my pans, my knives, and I will cook him a good German dinner before we go out. I know he will love it, and I know the neighbors will stop by if they smell it. Plus he will have leftovers the next day, and all for around $10 in ingredients. One thing my grandmother's family knew how to do was stretch food dollars. Big families ate little meat, but the cooking was usually outstanding.
In these recessionary times, if you haven't already, think about cooking. If you don't know how, then watch the Food Network, or get a cookbook from the library, one of many outstanding food blogs, or online. It doesn't have to be fancy. Some of the best food is easy and inexpensive. It makes us feel good, and our friends and family appreciate being nurtured these days.
Do you have a family recipe that is comforting?