It takes me back to several memories that I had about this holiday. I remember being little, sneaking in a few moments to see the women in my family, doing what they do best cooking.
Growing up, children of a certain age were not allowed in the kitchen. I would watch this dance of the chefs, as they baked, broiled, seasoned, boiled, mashed, stirred and mixed. The aroma would waft all the way outside where the men would be watching the game, always the Cowboys battling somebody. The table would be already dressed up and ready to go. I would linger too long and one of my Aunties would give me the “look”. I would run back to the room where the children where. They looked like a walking Sears catalog, fidgeting with their clothes , as they played board games. Those were the days.
As , I got older, I was the table setter for both tables (even though, some of the adults helped me). I was then the drink master and re-filler. Then, finally, I was asked to come in to watch, learn and help with the cooking. Man, you would have thought I hit the jackpot! I was ready, despite me burning the hamburger helper on a regular basis, icing cookies that were not baked yet or boiling water and scorching the pot….let’s just say cooking wasn’t my thing, yet. I got in there with my apron. I was ready. What I saw , was totally different than what I seen as a child. I saw how much love my family and friends were putting in every morsel that would pass these lips.
I heard discussions and stories of when they were young how they learned to cook. I always treated as, a chore. It was hard for me. I had taken home economics but this feeling, that year was different and more intimate. Then , my Aunties and my mama showed me how they really cooked. They barely used measuring spoons or cups. They tasted and gave me tips. They took out the wooden box with recipes or the family cookbook to make sure they had everything they needed. I stirred, flipped, tested , chopped and tasted. I found out that, the real fun was basting , even though it felt like the heat would melt my Mary Kay right off my face. I was overjoyed and overwhelmed that I got this chance to really help and guess what I didn’t burn anything! When everything was about finish. I thanked everyone in my presence as I washed some of the dishes.