Gettin' Your Groove On
Every cook should have one dish that they own. This signature dish could have begun as a recipe from another source. Over time however, this dish should have become it's very own identity. So were the thoughts shared in a magazine article I recently read in Southern Lady magazine. The words of a well-known chef, one I hadn't ever heard of, have been lingering in my mind since reading them.
Red Beans and Rice was the dish this particular chef has "made his own". Anywhere from two to ten people find their way to his dinner table every Monday evening for this downhome southern comfort. Why? What is it about this dish that causes people to congregate at his home to eat it? Is it the food itself? Maybe, but I think perhaps it is more the comfort of the whole thing. Knowing that every Monday night supper will be the same delicious feast of comfort on a plate provides a source of security in an often crazy world.
Being a secret romantic, I can't overlook the complete romance of this issue. Nor can I resist looking at the meals I prepare regularly and wondering which, if any, could be considered "mine". I found one. However...it isn't nearly as exciting or downhome as Red Beans and Rice, pizza. Yes, pizza is my signature dish. The one meal that has been altered, modified, and over time, has become my own. It is a meal that we have for supper every Tuesday. I have tried different crust recipes and a variety of cooking techniques. Thick crust, thin crust, and deep dish have all been laid out on the table for eating. No matter what variation I try, homemade pizza is a comforting constant in our weekly supper menus. Our week just isn't complete without it. Pizza is such a constant that it is one of the first meals I teach my children to prepare.
Prior to reading this article I never would have considered our weekly Pizza comfort food. Now I see it is exactly that. The reality that it is simple, easy, and tasty is overlooked for the warmth and comfort of the constant it represents. What about you? What is your signature dish? Do you have one? I bet you do. All that is required is consistency and love. Perhaps the thought of extra people finding their way to your home each week, as does the chef from the article, doesn't cause warm fuzzies to rise within your breast. Maybe it strikes terror instead. That's ok. Personally, just the thought of being part of such love makes me smile. That's ok too.
No matter whether our cooking draws a crowd or simply warms those within our home, it's time to take ownership of our kitchens, to make them our own. The time has come to view our homemaking tasks as the sources of love and comfort that they are. I say it is high time for homemakers everywhere to get rid of the lie that screams loud, the one that says caring for our families in love is bondage. Let's kick out the lie that tells us it has to be extravagant,exotic, or perfect to count while we're at it.
Memories of loved ones that linger close and long are those from every day life. Our favorite dishes, the ones we enjoy most are those simple, homey recipes thrown together in the middle of real life. While life is being lived day after day, the hearts of our family and loved ones are being filled. If only we could see true. How different our homes would be. As for me and my house, I say it's time to see with the eyes of truth and start getting our groove on, in the kitchen too.