Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Food is Love

Last Saturday was Joe's birthday.  He said he wanted me to make him breakfast, a red velvet cake, and dinner.  So basically it was a working birthday for me.  There are very few things in this life that I love more than the opportunity to make food for the people I care about.  Being cooked for is so deeply tied to some of my most cozy memories. 

When I was a little girl, my family lived with my grandma for a bit.  On cold mornings before school, she would rouse me, my brother, and my younger cousin out of bed and we would gather in the kitchen still in our pajamas.  She would turn the oven on, wait for it to get warm, and open the door.  We would pull up kitchen chairs and prop our sock-covered feet on the warm open oven door while she handed us bowls of warm milky sweet oatmeal.  She made me feel so warmed and cared for and loved.  All of her recipes still make me feel that way.

Now that she's gone, I've become even closer with her sister, my Great-Aunt Louise.  She often calls me to pass on a new recipe or cooking tip and I try to return the favor.  I've graduated college and law school and had various academic achievements throughout the years but her warmest and most genuine "I'm proud of you" came after I made her a chocolate cake she liked better than her own.  The matriarchs in my family take this stuff pretty seriously. 

I cook almost every night, often with Joe by my side chopping or otherwise helping out.  When I stumble upon a recipe we especially enjoy, I immediately wonder if years from now this will be one of the regular recipes I serve to my family.  I see little faces around the table eating meals I prepared for them or that we cooked together.  I can't wait to fill their little bellies with warmth and care and love.

So even though it means a really long day, I'm thrilled when all Joe wants for his birthday is my cooking (okay, and a NY Giants jersey, but that's beside the point).  For breakfast, we had scrambled cheddar eggs, oven roasted bacon, and sour cream pancakes with sour cream maple syrup.  Then it was red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.  And lastly the cilantro lime tilapia tacos I'm obsessed with.  If that's how he wants to celebrate every year, it's pretty okay with me.