My daughter-in-law got me a very thoughtful gift. It is a book in which I can record old family recipes in. I love to cook and this gift is so wonderful. On each page there are little boxes to explain where the recipes came from and to explain why it is a family favorite. As I was filling it out there are some very Becki things going on in this book. Mostly my humor and at time my attempt to censor my language. I don’t know if one day my future ancestors are going to read it and they will be like “Nona Becki was a foulmouthed old lady but, man, could she cook!” So lets look at my cook book so far;
First of all, I do not measure anything when I cook. I have not measured in a real long time. So I am writing the ingredients that I put in my cooking but no actual measurements. I cook by smell, taste and sight. Does it look good, does it smell good, and does it taste good. I mean it is the three senses of eating. I suppose texture is in there as well and so touch is a factor, but I don’t feel the food. Wait, I feel the potatoes to see if they are done, I poke it with a fork. I just don’t listen to my food. At least I don’t think I do. But I’m weird, so I probably do. So let’s just say there are four to five senses to cooking, on the off chance that we listen to our food.
Second of all there is an old family honey ginger chicken wing recipe that my mom made for us when we all lived at home. The only thing is, It wasn’t her old family that created it. She got it from a woman she worked with. Her name was Wong and I call them “is it wong to steal a family recipe chicken wings”. I mean she didn’t technically steal the recipe, it was given to her. I wrote this in the source of the cookbook…recipe stolen from an old family. Because I think it’s funny. Now I decide that it is going to be a funny cookbook with my real recipes. So immediately it is growing into a true Becki cookbook.
Third of all one of the recipes is one that I made for my husband when we were dating. I told him that I didn’t like to cook…I was nineteen and it was sort of true. I finally decided that I would cook for him. I brought my nephew with me to the grocery store and we went shopping for ingredients. I remember my nephew was with me because it was pouring rain out and when we got outside after paying he was still holding the can of tomatoes in his hand. I was like ‘do I just buckle him in his carseat and pretend we didn’t just steal a can of tomatoes?’ NO, that would be wrong, I mean even more wrong then claiming the Wong family recipe as my own. I walked all the way back in to the register that we came from and said “oh gosh, we didn’t pay for these.” She smiled at me and said “You came in for that, you are better than I am.” I smiled at my nephew because he was there when this lady confirmed that I was good for doing this in front of him. I paid for my tomatoes and left again. I get home and start cooking. My husband comes to my parent’s house (where I also lived at the time) and I have made lasagna. It looks and smells amazing. *I chose lasagna because in school I took a cooking class and got an A+ on it. I knew I could do it well.
After dinner was done he looked at my mother and thanked her for a lovely meal. I said “I cooked it.” He said “Yeah right!” I then looked at my mother and she said “No, Becki made dinner.” He said “You told me that you don’t know how to cook.” I said “I told you that I don’t like to cook. I know how to cook.” Turns out I like to cook as well. He decided to marry me after this, like a year or so after this. But definitely I believe that my ability to cook was a huge factor in his decision.
Fourth of all I have a recipe that I make because my husband talked about his Dad making “Chinese Pie”. I didn’t know what the fuck Chinese Pie even was. I also thought it was strange because his Dad was not a fan of Chinese Food. I couldn’t imagine him eating a whole pie of it. I pictured a pie with fried rice at the bottom with chicken fingers and maybe teriyaki steak on top with a crust holding in all that Chinese goodness. Maybe more like one huge pie sized egg roll or wonton. Man, was I so wrong, or maybe I was just Wong. I learned what it was when we went to my friends house and she made Shephard’s Pie. My husband looks at me and says “Oh my Gosh, I haven’t had Chinese Pie in forever.”
So Chinese Pie is actually Shephard’s Pie and I had to learn how to make it for him. I didn’t ask for any directions because I was like “I’ve fucking got this!” My mother made a meal called “Hamburg Gravy” and it was basically that but put together with some veggies and baked for extra measure so that you can call it pie.
As I was writing in this cookbook, I realized one thing, I believe that cooking is a real language of love. We put our hearts and souls into the food that we cook for our families. Maybe not every time…..sometimes I cook like Mrs Cunningham when she’s pissed at Howard on “Happy Days” when she throws ingredients on the table and basically tells him to fuck off. If you don’t know what I am talking about try to find it on the internet, It’s hilarious. It honestly was the most relatable thing I have ever seen on tv. Sometimes when we are cooking we are like, “What? What do you want?” the say they don’t know but then you put it in front of them they are instantly insulted by the meal you are clearly trying to infuriate them with. “Not this! I don’t want meatloaf! I hate meatloaf!” Crying ensues and you are now making them pour their own bowl of cereal and they are all limp noodle and spaghetti arms from all of the energy they wasted on crying about the meatloaf. Or you just make them a sandwich so that the noise stops. But Then there are those other times when they come in and say “What are you cooking mom? That smells delicious!” This mostly happens when they go to college and have to survive on Ramen. But eventually your language of love is pure and they accept it as it is.
Moral of my story: I want to take this time to Thank my sweet, beautiful and lovely daughter-in-law for the most thoughtful gift. She reminded me that the meals that I cooked out of love was really a part of my family’s story. For those of you that get frustrated with cooking meals for your kids to not eat, one day they will see your love in every bite. They will cherish it and will one day try to recreate it. I am proud to cook for my family. I hope that they know that. I now want to write this book to completion and duplicate it for all of my children to have. It has been a lovely journey and it is a road map of my heart. I will add a lot of Becki in it so that my future ancestors (I keep calling them this not really sure that is the correct term) will read it and think “wow that Nona Becki she was a real firecracker!” Now time for me to go and figure out what I am going to cook while they are all home for Christmas…It will be a real Becki Smorgasbord Feast of all of their favorites.
Until next time.