We’ve all heard the expression, “Food is Love.” In the Sixties, a famous Pillsbury slogan was “Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven.” Last Friday my husband, Bill, read to me a “What to Cook This Weekend” column by Sam Sifton of the New York Times. I had never heard of Mr. Sifton or of his column and was very impressed by his writing skill and literary references to Autumn (Thomas Wolfe—la-di-da!). Bill decided immediately to go to the grocery store and pick up ingredients for the Apple Green-Chile Pie with Cheddar Crust.
I cannot remember if or when I ever wanted to spend an afternoon trying out a new recipe “for fun.” Eating for fun: yes. Cooking for fun: not really. In some families, food is love or, more accurately, cooking and serving food is a way of expressing love. Think of the place that preparing meals and enjoying them together holds in so many cultures. I grew up in a predominately Italian community and always looked forward to dinners at Mrs. Bertuccelli’s table. My Croatian Grandma Angela Juracich was also a fantastic cook and effortlessly turn out meals for my father’s large extended family.
My mother came from Irish stock; I’ve never heard anyone rave about the pleasures of Irish cuisine. Mom cooked because she was a good mother and took her responsibilities seriously. Meals were fresh and nutritious but though there was plenty of love going on in our house, it didn’t turn up via meals. Bill’s family is different. He remembers his mother as a fantastic cook who loved to cook meals for large groups. He and his sister, Sue, are both wonderful cooks and love to talk about food. It is one of their many bonds.. Bill taught my daughter, Sara, to cook when she was a little girl and regularly exchanges recipes and food photos with our niece, Angela, another one of his cooking buddies.
There are lots of ways of expressing love. One way is by saying, “I love you.” I like this one because it doesn’t involve grocery shopping. But “lovin’ from the oven” is pretty darn effective, too. Apple Green-Chile Pie, anyone?