Food was my parent’s love language.
Their love affair with all things culinary began with my father. As a teenager, he ran away from boarding school and worked in a bakery until he signed up with the RAF at the commencement of WW2.
He married my mother in India during the war and when they arrived in Canada after it ended, my mother didn’t know how to boil an egg. She’d had servants all her life. Cooking was not a necessary life skill.
Dad taught mum how to cook and over the years, they both shared not only the ‘how to’s’ of kitchen magic but also their love for the art of creating all things foody.
Depending upon what I’m creating, childhood memories flood my body when I am in the kitchen. If it’s bread, I am with my dad, hands immersed in flour, kneading and kneading dough. I can hear him telling me to be patient. That baking bread isn’t just about combining flour and yeast and water. It’s alchemy. An ancient art form evoking our ancestors hovered over earthen ovens buried in the sands of sweeping deserts and time’s passing. My father was a romantic by nature. Baking bread always brought out the poetry of his soul.
Appetizers and charcuterie, first courses and desserts… I hear my mother’s voice exhorting me to ensure everything not only tastes delicious but looks beautiful too. My mother was an artist at heart. The beauty of her food a song of love to all who sat down to share a meal at her table.
I thank my parents for the gift of being a romantic and an artist. Creating culinary delights is the counterbalance to my joy of creating beautiful tablescapes.
The gift of this time spent sequestered in solitude at home is the opportunity to spend time in the kitchen experimenting, playing, creating.
I just wish the scales weren’t tipping so awkwardly to one side with all my baking. Because, while C.C., my beloved, is delighted with fresh baking every day, my waistline is beginning to wish it had a built-in elastic band! It’s easy for my beloved to eat his full share without moaning. His waistline doesn’t seem to budge an inch no matter his consumption of savouries, sweets, treats and cookies.
But it doesn’t stop me. This solitude keeps drawing me back to the place where I find the most comfort. Where I feel most connected to my family circle. The kitchen.
Tune into one of our weekly family zoom calls, and you’ll find much of the conversation between my two sisters and daughters is all about food.
Creep my youngest daughter’s Instagram account and you’ll see video after video of meals being prepared in their newly renovated kitchen.
And check any of our email Inbox’s and you’ll discover a swathe of recipes shared and well-chewed on.
We love to talk about food. We love to create food. We love to share what we create.
Thank you mum and dad. These memories and the love of being in the kitchen you ignited in my life, shore me up no matter the times, no matter what’s happening in the world.
That’s why, when C.C. (my beloved) and I renovated our home, our kitchen became the focal point of our design. It’s a win/win. He likes it when I spend time in the kitchen. I love spending time in our kitchen.
I am grateful for its beauty. Its utilitarian nature. It’s many appliances (and gadgets) and the flavourful memories that awaken every time I step onto the kitchen mat.
Earlier this week, on my FB page, I shared the photo above and a friend asked me to share the recipe!
My daughters have always loved my Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.
The original recipe is in the the Silver Palate Cookbook which became my cooking bible when it came out in 1982.
I’ve adapted it over the years and share my adaptation here:
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup butter
½ cup margarine
2 tbsp. milk (I use Oat Milk)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup unsifted white flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cup Rolled Oats
1/2 cup firmly packed Demerara Sugar (original recipe calls for light brown)
1/2 cup Coconut Sugar (original recipe calls for white sugar)
10 ozs dark chocolate chips
You can also add in 1/2 c of walnut chunks.
You can also replace the chocolate chips with raisins.
Preheat over to 375F
Using the large bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk device (a hand blender works too) – blend together butter and both sugars until creamy and smooth. Whisk egg in a small bowl, add milk and vanilla. Add to butter sugar mixture and whisk until well blended.
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to mixing bowl (the electric mixer will not work well for this part as the dough gets very heavy and thick.)
With a large wooden spoon, slowly add in the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture a little a time. Combine all.
Add in the oatmeal, one cup at a time. Then the chocolate chips.
Bonus! Because this batter gets thick and hard to stir you get a good arm workout! You can also add in a couple more tablespoons of milk to manage it better.
Refrigerate for ½ an hour (or more) I make a batch a day from the same batter.
Drop by tablespoon onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly. You should get almost 50 cookies (medium sized) from one batter.
Bake for 12 – 14 minutes or until edges begin to brown.
Let cool on wire rack.
The muffin recipe can be found here: