Learning from time spent in Mom’s kitchen

Andrea Joseph

When I was growing up, our family sat down to the dinner table for a feast of Mom’s cooking nearly every night. My brother and I may have sought out our softie father anytime punishment was required, but Mom was the go-to for a homemade meal or treat.

Well, almost always.

There was that one time she was in the kitchen and asked if I’d like a spoonful of whipped cream. What 7-year-old would turn down a scoop of yummy white goodness?

Not me.

Only it wasn’t a spoonful of light and creamy sweetness. I found myself with a mouthful of sour cream, while Mom snickered at my reaction.

We still laugh about it today when I remind her how badly I was mistreated.

But I digress.

Although she says she doesn’t really enjoy cooking these days, I learned about cooking and baking by watching her back in the day. For my mom, cooking probably felt more like a chore than it does to me. She prepped and cooked for a husband and two finicky children. I have neither, so I cook only for myself – and for friends who pop in occasionally. I’ve also been known to bake random goodies for the handful of hard-working colleagues who put out this paper. For me, working in the kitchen is relaxing – though I completely understand that it likely wasn’t for Mom.

She has passed along books and recipes through the years, and I’ve kept many the same, but I’ve tweaked a few here and there to give them a little more kick and make them a little more “me.”

So I like to cook … well, OK, I like to eat too. Admittedly, I’m not a great cook, but I enjoy trying my hand at different things, finding random recipes and seeing how things turn out.

And this is where I ask for a little participation from readers. I’d like to add one reader recipe to every Friday Lifestyles section, but I need your submissions to make it work. If you have a special recipe you’d like to share or a family favorite you’d like to pass on for everyone to enjoy, email it to me at [email protected] Simply include your name and city of residence, the recipe and a paragraph on what makes it special (Is it a unique concoction? Your grandmother’s favorite?). Include a photo of the final dish, and I’ll publish it in an upcoming edition and on our websites. I’d love to get enough submissions to make “Reader Recipes” a regular feature.

Many of you have contacted me in the past regarding previous columns, so I anxiously await hearing from more of you. I’ve hyped this idea up around the office, so don’t make me eat my words – make me (and readers) eat some good homemade food.

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And as long as we’re talking about food, I hope to start another new feature and would love some reader feedback as well. In the near future, I plan to start writing reviews/profiles of Morgan Hill, Gilroy and Hollister area restaurants. At this point, I know a few places I’ll visit, get some chow and snap a photo or two of dishes.

Since my list of restaurants is still in the works, help me out. What restaurants would you like to see profiled? Do you have a favorite? Any places you haven’t tried yet, but want someone to test out beforehand? Let me know and I’ll add them to the list. Then I’ll share my thoughts on service, food and more in an upcoming feature.

Without a little reader interaction, these may just end up food failures. So please, help a girl out. Send your recipes and restaurant suggestions to me at [email protected]

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