As a child, I remember my grandmother in the kitchen cooking. Everyday, she made "light bread" for dinner. I loved the dough, before it was placed into the oven to become our bread for dinner. Of course, after the second or third pinch, I usually had my hand slapped. She would mix the dough and add the yeast. Then, she would carefully place plastic wrap over the top, and on warm days, the bowl was placed on the warm porch for dough to raise. You had to be careful walking on that old wooden porch when the bread was raising, you surely did not want the dough to fall. I would slip out and check on it in antipication of it rising to the proper height so that it could be placed in the oven. The aroma of the bread cooking would heighten all of my senses as I waited. Then, when the bread was coming from the oven, I could not wait until she placed a pat of butter on it for me. She would hand me not just a piece of delicious hot bread, but also the joy and love in her heart. That bread was much more to me than just a woundrous joy to my taste buds. It was a like a hug, an embrass from her heart to mine.
The joy of baking was passed to my mother, to me, and now is being passed to my daughter. There is something magical about sharing time in the kitchen creating meals and baking delicious treats for family and friends. It is a passion that comes from the heart and one that I love to share. But, its more than just baking or cooking, its a time of bonding generation to generation, passing down wisdom and sharing the passion of family. I know that as I am cooking with my mom and my daughter that I am carrying on a long tradition of women, those before us and those who will come after us.
I feel a sadness for the y0ung girls whom I come into contact with who do not know of the tradition of mother teaching daughter, preparing the young woman for her family, and passing down the tradition. As mothers become busier and busier they have less time to cook and spend time teaching their daughters the joys of cooking and of sharing, creating the joy, love, and memories that comes with it. For me, cooking is much more than just preparing the evening meal. It is an expression of my love and passion for my family. Its a joy to see their faces light up when you have prepared their favorite dish, or baked their favorite cake, or yes, my grandmothers light bread. Oh how I wish for just another slice of grandmother's bread, and to have my little hand slapped again. As I look back now, being in the kitchen with my grandmother was one of the highlights of my childhood, a memory I hope to give to my own grandchildren one day.