I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I didn’t like food and I didn’t like to cook. I inherited that from my Mother and Grandmother. However, I can remember when I started preparing holiday meals and my Grandmother or Mother would say, “Cooking is Hard Work.” At the time, I was excited about preparing holiday meals and I could not imagine saying that. However, as time has passed, I do realize that cooking is hard work. After you have made Thanksgiving or Christmas meals over and over, you can almost think of it as just a routine. I like to change things every now and then when I cook and if you have started a tradition, your family may say, “It just wouldn’t be Christmas or Thanksgiving if you didn’t make the pumpkin roll or whatever. If you have a large family and five different people tell you five different things they are expecting to eat, your meal has just about been planned and with no new creativity involved.
Cooking is not hard work when you lose yourself in it. When I find a recipe and really have to concentrate and make sure all of the ingredients are right, I enjoy cooking. When I am sad or depressed, the best place for me to go is the kitchen and start making something. When you feel you have no control over anything or just can’t do anything right, preparing something in the kitchen and having it turn out right is a great confidence booster.
Last week, I included this picture in my blog and told you I would give you the recipe this week. This is a Summer Fruit Crostata. This recipe is from one of my Ina Garten cookbooks, Barefoot Contessa At Home, and I am so proud of how it turned out. Here is a link to the recipe from the Food Network website: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/summer-fruit-crostata-recipe/index.html
My husband asked me how I could include Ina Garten in my Southern Food Blog. I have been thinking about that and I do not plan to use her recipes a lot; however, I know other Southern cooks that love her too. I can only say that we have so many fruits in the summer and I used cherries, peaches, nectarines and blueberries in my Crostata and it was awesome. Ina uses a lot of fresh ingredients and that is something that has been handed down to Southern cooks. Our parents and grandparents usually grew just about everything they ate.
As I was making this recipe, I realized I was challenging myself and doing something I have never done before. Ina inspires me because she is so specific when she tells you how to prepare something. I am not good at crust or rolling dough and as I was preparing this, I would have the thought, You Have Got To Be Kidding, I can’t do this. I would continue to follow the specific instructions and lose myself in what I was doing. It turned out wonderful and the best part is: The recipe calls for dough for two crostatas and I froze one portion so I can make another crostata before the summer is over.
I think we should always be open minded to how other people cook and I also love to just get lost in myself and prepare something that turns out just delicious. When I do that, I never think of it as being hard work. It is just lots of fun.