Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Bless This Food..."

Adrian and I rolled into Ventura this evening with the windows down, gulping sea air into our lungs as fast as we could. A has some shows in Santa Clarita and we're very fortunate that our grandparents live only a hop, skip and a jump away in Ventura so we get to stay with them.

Grandpa's father was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and Papa Lary has the red hair to prove it. If more than three or four of us gather for a meal it feels like we instantly turn clannish and the noise and hilarity goes up by a factor of 10. We BBQ'd a tri-tip, popped the cork on a couple bottles of wine where my uncle is a vintner and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

It's an awesome thing how family history, personal tragedies and triumphs are shared and passed down, not just in the branding pen or round corral but also around the dinner table.

Knowing of my odd hqbbit of reading cookbooks like novels, my grandma brought stack upon beautiful stack of earmarked and food stained recipes out before dinner, and she shared with me a little history on her favorite dishes. We broke open a jar of homemade dill pickles and ate them as we read over great-grandma's recipes. I imagined her pulling weeds and carefully watering her garden in a calico dress and then lovingly canning food for her family later in the year. Grandma and I set aside a stack of recipes for me to copy and take home and make my own. The pickle recipe was the first of the quickly growing pile.

It may seem a little thing, just a dinner here, an old recipe there, but to me there is so much that is shared and passed on through a meal. I got to grow up watching my mums prepare three meals a day, praying for each member of the family as she cooked and baked. It feels like a part of a heritage to cook for the people that I love, a way of saying, "I care abou you. I love you." Some of my favorite memories of Buckaroo Barbies that I admire the most involve a meal, lovingly prepared for me by their caring hands.

I can't wait till Adrian and I return home and I get to bust out my family's stroganoff recipe, the pickles, a German chocolate cake and who knows what else I can find in those recipe cards.

And if you're in the area, stop on by. I'd love to cook you a meal. :)

xo xo Liz


  1. ... And I thought I was the only one to collect and read old cookbooks like novels...
    As we speak the weather is cold and dreary and I have a vegetable stock simmering in my mother's old pot, ready to make some creamy, heart warming pumpkin soup this afternoon. To me, every meal I cook, I put a little bit of myself in it, and I hope whoever enjoys it feels that. And I know I get the greatest joy when I see my loved one's faces eating and loving what I have created. For a 23yr old gal I feel old beyond my years, and love every minute of it.
    Thankyou :)

  2. I collect recipes and cookbooks too!!
    My family of zany farm wives didn’t' write their recipes down - until my mother took it upon herself to set my grandma down one day and at least get the ingredients down. My husbands aunt also gave me a copy of her hand written cookbook that contains the family recipes as a wedding present. I really was touched by that.
    I agree that it’s a great way to connect with the family history by keeping those recipes alive today! Great Post!

  3. Loved this one! Relating, relating on so many levels! The Ballantyne bunch always morphs into Clan mode when we all get together ;)