Do you remember your first cookbook, the first recipe that you made from start to finish? Do you remember the moment you fell in love with food? My first cookbook was bright and colorful, the pages were thick and the recipes were categorized by skill level. It contained recipes like sloppy joes, tuna casserole, applesauce and even home-made dog biscuits. I would flip through the pages and strategize when I would create each recipe. It was fun and exciting but I quickly wanted to try something bigger, grander. That was when I received it…The American Girl Cookbook, for Kirsten. For those of you that don’t remember The American Girl collection, it featured different female characters around the age of 12 from different time periods and cultures. Kirsten was my favorite. She was a Swedish pioneer and I found “her life” fascinating. I read all of her books, had her doll, and wanted to do anything that would make me more like Kirsten. When my hands fell on the cookbook, I quickly thumbed through it and found my next adventure…rye bread and homemade butter.
I convinced my mom to let me make it one Saturday. We got all of the ingredients and I immediately got to work. Now making bread has many different steps, each of them can be temperamental and each can take a long time. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize just how long a loaf of bread takes! I mixed the dough, kneaded it and let it rise. I punched it down and let it rise again. Each time impatiently waiting for the next step, reading and rereading the recipe to make certain I had not inadvertently messed up my masterpiece. When I finally put it into the oven, I stepped back, looked at the clock and my heart sank realizing that it would not be served in time for dinner. But alas, I did still have time to make butter.
If you ever want a good arm work out…make butter! It involves a mason jar, a marble, cream, and a crazy amount of shaking. When you are waiting for your bread to be ready and you are 12, butter takes FOREVER. I shook and shook, listening to the marble clink on the glass. The best part of making butter is the gradual quieting of that clink on the glass. You feel , hear and see it getting thicker. Eventually it was ready and so was my beautiful bread. The lights were out in the kitchen by that time and I carefully removed the loaf as if it would disappear if I moved too quickly. The kitchen smelled delicious and the crust was a beautiful deep brown color. I sliced it, spread some butter on it and took a deep breath before my first bite. It was brilliant! The most amazing thing I have ever tasted…crunchy, gooey, warm, delicious. All of my hard work had paid off; I had made bread all by myself. It was at the moment the love of food took root in my heart and I never looked back.
Fast forward a few years and I met my husband, a man whose love for food may just be deeper than mine. Together, we spend our days eating, cooking, and sharing laughs over a glass of wine. Hope you will enjoy this blog as we share our stories of food, life and love.