Imagine being in a rustic, Tuscan-style home, barefoot in some sort of old(ish), wrinkled-yet completely chic-long, linen dress, in a kitchen with no air conditioning that’s older than my great grandmother, and you’re there cooking under the guidance of a sweet Italian old woman you can barely communicate with.
Regardless of the fact that this explains my great grandmother more so than my actual grandmother, I still like to imagine that this is how and where I learned to cook. It’s really not far off, though. Simply replace the Tuscan-style home with a one-story house in the countryside of upstate New York and it’s basically the same situation.
At the end of every summer-for the better part of a month- my older sister and I would leave Chicago and head to a little place called Hillsdale, a town in Columbia County consisting of rolling hills, open farmland and wooden tracts. We did what any normal kid would do during summer break: go fishing, swimming, hiking, tree climbing, and mow the lawn on my grandpa’s tractor, my personal favorite. Aside from that I would always make time to cook with my Grammy (as I like to call her). When I think about cooking I am immediately brought back to her kitchen, and if there is one thing I’ve taken away from her cooking it is that you must put love into every dish you make.
Today was one of those days where I woke up early, went grocery shopping and spent the better part of six hours cooking. Since it was such a nice day in Austin, and probably one of the last warm days for a while, I decided to turn off the air conditioning, open the door leading out to my deck, and cook barefoot, which has now resulted in my feet turning a disgusting shade of black. TMI, I know, but it was well worth it. I had a whole meal planned out: brussels sprout soup topped with candied pancetta, crispy parmesan biscuits filled with lemon butter, baby arugula and smoked salmon, and dark chocolate cupcakes with matcha green tea frosting.
I know, I know, it’s a lot of food but my friends and I decided we would have a mock thanksgiving, even though none of the food we made resembled anything that would be on a thanksgiving table… that’s beside the point though. What really matters is that overall the dinner was a success, I was surrounded by close friends, and we pretty much had a feast.