"Swiss chard?! Farmers' markets?!" she hooted. "I think you need to remember where you came from ..."
She has a point. Where I'm from, swiss chard is just plain old greens, and my family never went to a farmers' market. We planted big gardens every summer while I grew up and a friend of the family who farmed dropped off an entire pick-up bed full of sweet corn for freezing every year in exchange for the work my dad and grandpa did on his tractors. I don't have a garden -- though it's on my to-do list, if I ever figure out Florida's planting schedule -- and don't have a farmer friend. Even if I did, neither I nor the husband would be any use as a mechanic.
I go to farmers' markets because I want The Boy to know what a tomato should taste like. I cook so much because I enjoy it, but also because I want him to remember being warm and well-fed in my kitchen, feeling proud of himself because he can help. (Oh dear, I might be veering into a Shake-N-Bake commercial here ... you get the point.) Some of my best memories are in the kitchen -- watching my mom walk the Thanksgiving turkey across the counter, scooping steaming corn kernels into bags for freezing, burning the tips of my fingers on hot cobs after I graduated to corn-cutting, baking dozens of different Christmas cookies with mom and my aunts. The kitchen is where everyone gathers in my family, not the living room.
Anyway, all of this is to say that we don't always eat the healthiest food in our house. But we do eat homecooked food. As Mom pointed out, some of my favorite things are comfort foods. I love mashed potatoes with ridiculous amounts of butter. Fried potatoes, stewed tomatoes and hamsteaks is one my favorite easy meals. I crave meatloaf, topped with plain old ketchup.
We're having another cold snap down here, so I was craving something warm and soothing. Chicken dumplings sounded good, but the only recipe I have was a slowcooker one that called for cans of cream soup and canned biscuits. I actually find cream soups useful, but this recipe created "dumplings" that were really just soggy bits of uncooked dough. Bleck. So, I looked for a from-scratch version. (Thank goodness for Smitten Kitchen.) I'll make this later tonight while I'm watching the Steelers win, right up to the part where you add the dumplings. I'll reheat this Monday night and do that last step. Also on my Sunday cooking agenda is some cornbread and already this morning The Boy helped me make potato salad -- and by helped, I mean he exclaimed about the boiling water and ate some celery.
The Boy keeping my spices in order.