My mother is an excellent cook. While I was growing up she was always the cook, the she-ro of the stove, and the creator of my food universe. She used good, pure ingredients before they became chic. Her creations were not “open a can of soup, mix, add, and bake.” She used fresh veggies, fruits, eggs, fresh meat, great cheese, and real “everything.”  Well, ok she did use Miracle Whip, canned tuna, and creamed corn, which the creamed corn was only served with Polish Kelboski. But hey, they were good too! My mother cooked “from scratch.” The ONLY two dishes my mother made that were too awful to bear were chicken livers and gravy and pancakes! The thought of those two dishes still make me want to run into ongoing traffic on the highway. My brothers and sister will back me on this one.

My lifelong love of food and cooking began from observing my Mother, my Grandsi (Grandmother) and my Aunt Lily. These women were my Holy Trinity of cooking and therefore my introduction to the seduction of the stove. All three of these Grande Dames cooked “from scratch.” Now there have been many others along the way that I have to include, but this trio began my path to becoming a gourmand!

In recent years the notion of what eating “well” has become immeasurable more complicated. Don’t get me wrong, I follow the hit parade of the hottest food trends, and ingredients from khao soi paste to Kvikk Luns – a Norwegian like Kit Kat Bar. It’s all good, and there will always be a dish of the moment. When it comes right down to the matter of cooking, eating, and dining, the ingredients make all the difference in the world.  You don’t hear people state that they want food that tastes like it came out of a box. What you do hear is I want food that tastes homemade, “from Scratch,” and that is what I call the reason to savor a plate full of flavor. Use ingredients that speak of the season, and are not treated with things that only a Chemist could pronounce. Even for ingredients you do buy, read the labels. Once my son Reese asked me for some oatmeal cookies at the store; I read the box, and there were 23 “things” listed. Naturally, I left them there. I should have posted a warning sign next to them. Danger Will Robinson, Danger!

Jacques Pepin wrote that “you are what you cook.” You are also in the food that you cook. Cook with love, joy and passion … cook from the seed to the skillet, cook from scratch, eat well and be well!

Remember savor life and always eat well.