from the get go, this book tapped into my earliest of food memories, the family tables that shaped my life. about a paragraph in, i looked up and closed two dampish eyes (i am a major
weeper). first, it brought me back to sitting at my childhood family table with my mom, dad, sister and brother. our meals, our laughter, our ups and downs... growing up with mom's famous lasagna, waffles.every.weekend, steak dinners, tuna casserole (oh i need to make that again!). my dad unequivocally teaching me the art of food experimentation (close your eyes lindsey and taste this!)
secondly, it took me back to my "grandma.on.the.farm's" family table. my grandma dorothy canning everything from her huge garden; i can still taste her peaches on my tongue; her rolls were made by hand with local lard (cinnamon rolls were the very best); my favorite job was picking fresh beans from her garden for dinner (and eating them raw of course); she was the first person i had ever known to make homemade salad dressing (because my grandpa tom hated "that crap in the bottle").
thirdly, i traveled back to my aunt valerie's family table and my "grandma.on.the.lake's" family table where emil and millie inspired us to make and eat kolachki, potica, cream sausage, beet salad, cucumber salad, and crab dip with endless fruit-veggie-cracker spreads - the mullies kitchen sits in the footprint of their quaint cottage i miss almost everyday.
ooooohhhh the memories of these family tables and all who dined together with us!
this cookbook successfully wove together my past, present and future kitchens: memories of cooking and eating as a child, teenager, adult, wife and mom well into 14 years of marriage and a family food change. all of it swirling together with my current daydreams of my children (all grown up) cooking in their own kitchens and coming back home to me.
what kind of food memories will i leave in my children as my mother and grandmothers have given to me? will mac, abbie and tommy wax poetic about dishes from their childhood and request recipes to make over and over again?
so i just asked them: "what are your favorite dishes that i make?
mac: "the dish you made last night and homemade pizza"
tommy: "taco nachos with cheese"
abbie: "homemade pizza, taco nachos, ribs, the cheesy pasta we had last night and smoothies."
honest food sophistication.
gulp. i'm in the process RIGHT NOW of forging their food memories. i've made plenty of mouth watering dishes for the kids (+ plenty of thumbs down meals) but perhaps i haven't made any dishes often
enough (other than pizza, tacos and nachos apparently) for my kids to be remembering
them enough to request them.
this list must
blossom in 2015.
what perfect timing for the pollan family table
to enter into my kitchen. i clearly need some help in forging a shifley family table full of favorite meals. lori, dana and tracy all have kids, they all lead busy busy lives and these recipes work
at their family tables. and that's exactly
what i am looking for:
dishes of awesomeness
to get my kids waxing poetic and coming back for more at our family table = a 2015 new year's resolution.
michael pollan explains it perfectly in his forward:
"My mother and sisters are not professional cooks, and this, oddly enough (or maybe not so oddly), probably explains why this eminently practical cookbook really works
. Because most of us aren't professional cooks either. They never lose sight of the few core principles that set this cookbook apart: All the dishes can be made with ingredients available at any American supermarket; most can be put on the table in less than an hour (some in half that time); the recipes take nothing for granted and never assume lots of prior experience in the kitchen; and they all appeal equally to kids and adults."
this book is not a special diet book. anyone can cook from it no matter where one is on the food continuum. they don't overly proselytize about eating "healthy" or tell you to cut this or that out of your diet. the focus stays on cooking, sharing and togetherness around the table. they discuss the importance of using fresh, organic, local and sustainably sourced ingredients when you can & when budgets allow. if you are on a special diet or if you have an allergy, substituting for it should be a snap (many recipes are naturally gluten free!). i like to cook plant based as much as possible so i'm itching to try out the"vegetarian and meatless monday" section on my family. most importantly, their pantry item list is no fuss, simple and solid. i super love
the "culinary ABC" section and "sage advice" - it is so helpful to have these vital tips & practical (best friend) explanations of cooking terms all in ONE PLACE.
the pollan family got me thinking about what kind of family table i want to create, about what really happens when we all get a chance to sit down and share a family meal. our table captures the full range of human emotions... a 5, 8, 10, 37 and 41 year old's happiness, sadness, frustration and excitement... you name it and we've been there
. it's a pendulum swinging back and forth, teaching and breathing life into our hectic, hungry souls. thank you pollan family for helping me to embrace everything
that happens when we sit down together.
so our pollan family table adventure begins with baked ziti.
this ridiculously simple recipe sent mac back for three
helpings and sent us all to.the.mullies with my best cooking compliment yet. i subbed in some breakfast leftovers - farmer nick's bacon and sausage (a local lake county farm that produces antibiotic free, pasture raised livestock)
that i buy now from our new mundelein gem: dakotah's indoor farmer's market
. you better betcha the kids and i will be back to make those luscious turkey meatballs soon!!
baked ziti with bacon and sausage
inspired by the pollan family table's "golden baked ziti with bite-size turkey meatballs" pg 158
1 pound gluten free ziti
4 strips of antibiotic free/nitrate free bacon
6 links of antibiotic free/nitrate free pork sausage
1 c of homemade tomato sauce (i had leftovers i needed to use!)
1.5-2 c grated manchego cheese
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
preheat oven to 375 degrees. salt boiling water and add pasta. cook pasta until "al dente, about three minutes less than directions on the package. meanwhile, chop up the bacon and sausage. drain the pasta and transfer it all back into the still hot cooking pot. dump in about a cup of pasta sauce (mine was leftover, thick tomato soup) plus the meat and mix thoroughly. dump it all into a baking dish and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
"it has some sort of cheese layer over it and the cheese layer makes me die of awesomeness because it is so good. it has bacon, i mean, who doesn't like bacon. i don't know how you did it mom, but you put all my favorite foods in one dish. i love it." - mac
a worm hole has opened to my past, present and future. i am quilting my kitchen & cooking adventures into fabric made from food and family. for good food is the one thing we can never walk away from nor stop from doing. eating and cooking well is the one thing i hope my kids will do with or without me.
it's time to eat and cook more together for good food is for-ever
. thank you pollan family for inspiring me and my evolving family table.
now i need to go call my sister - cuz i have a book i really need to talk to her about...