Like most Mama’s I adore my kids and cherish so many of the things they do – and want to scream about some of the others! Every once in a while though, they say something so touching or so funny, that I just have to tell someone.
The other day Charlotte (who is eight) and I, were making crepes for breakfast. We were using the recipe in The Joy of Cooking, a copy my oldest brother gave me when I was in college. Out of the blue she says to me,
“Mom, when you die, will I get your cookbook collection?”
It didn’t bother a bit that my daughter is already thinking about my death. On the other hand it made my heart burst with pride that she understands how important my cookbook collection is to me, and really, what it means for our whole family.
When I first sat down to write this post I thought that was it. Just what I said above, nothing more.
But as I typed the last bit, it occurred to me just what the collection does mean to our family. And of course, it’s not really about the books themselves. But they do represent how important food is to me, and to us. Naturally, Rob shares my passion for food. It’s the kind of passion that goes hand-in-hand with winemaking.
Before we got married, his love of food was more about the restaurant kind, and less about the bonding over the dinner table kind. Don’t get me wrong, he came from a large family that filled a big oak dining table every night. Unfortunately, like most in those days, their usual dinner fare included over-cooked vegetables and bland, cheap cuts of meat. It wasn’t until we got married that Rob discovered he actually liked vegetables – when they were steamed, grilled or roasted, instead of boiled to a pulp.
Anyway, over the last 25 years I have amassed this huge collection of cookbooks (and some food magazines I can’t let go of either, even if I can find the recipes on line. Several dishes that are fundamental to my traditional Thanksgiving menu come from a dog-eared copy of Food & Wine, December 1990, the cover price was $2.50 then.) I spend countless hours with these books, whether I’m getting a quick idea for dinner tonight, planning a party menu, or searching for dishes that will pair well with our wines.
I have espoused the importance of the family dinner since even before our first child was born. Did you know that the single most consistent factor in academic success is whether or not children eat dinner with their family regularly? Somewhat surprising, but really quite obvious when you think about it. And, for most of us, relatively easy to accomplish.
The first time I realized how much this fundamental ingredient of our life has impacted my kids was a couple of years ago when I was (in an effort to loose weight and find more energy) doing quite a bit of cleansing. The system I used had me drinking shakes for two meals a day, and some days not eating solid food at all. One evening my then 10 year old son wailed in – seemingly random – desperation “Ever since you started the Cleanse, you never eat with us anymore!!”
It was taken aback by his outburst at the time, but truly, I was gratified to know they noticed.