I watch a lot of cooking shows: some for recipes, some for techniques, and some just because. Jacques Pepin (my favorite chef) brought back a lot of memories the other day. I was 18 when the Kids' dad and I married and, to be honest, I couldn't boil water. My mother did plain cooking straight out of the Midwest and was not very adventuresome in the kitchen. I only remember bay leaves, chili powder, and cinnamon in her spice cupboard. KD (Kids' dad) liked to eat and set about schooling me, bringing home recipes to try and critiquing my efforts. His sister was probably my biggest and best inspiration. It was she who stocked my cabinets with spices and herbs I'd never heard of and taught me how to use them. I found out I liked to cook, which was a good thing because the Kids arrived and soon there were a lot of mouths to feed.
KD's family had a once-a-year get-together at Christmas for adults only. As time went on, it fell to my sister-in-law and I to take turns hosting the event and there was mild competition between us to see who could outdo the other. One memorable dinner was the year I had a Greek theme, complete with blue-and-white dishes. I'd rented Greek music (this was back in the day when music came on records, probably 78s, possibly 45s, but maybe the newer LPs) from the library. The menu included Avgolemono (lemon and egg soup), moussaka (eggplant and beef casserole), classic Greek salad, and baklava (walnuts and honey layered in filo dough). I don't do much cooking anymore, but I still like to learn and keep my hand in once in awhile.
Ralph came and sat in my lap during the race yesterday. He never stays long so I enjoy his company whenever I can. There he was, nestled up cozily, when my stomach grumbled and rolled right next to his head. I wish I could describe the look on his face. Priceless. He left, and I laughed.