Friday, January 14, 2011

Home Made? Why Bother?

My dear friend, Jen, recently brought by a home made pear cake.
It was delicious.
I wanted to brag about how awesome she is, so I posted a picture of the cake on Facebook.
Another friend of ours asked Jen, "where do you find the time?"

I hear that phrase a lot.
I think I probably use it a lot too.
But I haven't really thought much about it.

This time I did.  
We all spend our time in ways that matter to us.
Very few people have lots of time on their hands.
Except for the independently wealthy types, with servants and chauffeurs and all that, that are so far removed from my reality I won't even bother mentioning them.
For the rest of us, well, our time is pretty precious.

So why would I spend my time making fresh squeezed orange juice?
Or making home made hummus?
Why would Jen make a pear cake?

Each of those things can be bought at a store, right?
How do we find the time in our busy days to make things from scratch?
That's just it.
It isn't about finding the time.
It is about making the time.
We make time for the things that are important to us.

Perhaps home made food isn't important to you.
But I'm sure something else is.
Going to your kid's soccer game.
Not missing your favorite show, even if that means you dvr it and watch it the next night.
Giving hand made gifts for Christmas.
Going to the gym.

Whatever it is, we all spend our valuable time on the things we value.
One of those things for me, obviously, is making home made food.
Yes, part of it is about the taste.
I may sound like a food snob, but a home made cake most often beats a store bought one.
Even my 6 year old knows that.

It's also about knowing what is in my food and where it came from.
When I make my own hummus, I know just what goes into it.
There are no preservatives.
There is nothing I can't pronounce.
I like that.

But it is also about the experience.
From walking out to my orange trees and picking the fruit, to the act of rolling the oranges around on the counter to loosen up the juice, and then the squeezing of each orange in my old, red citrus press.
I love the way the kitchen fills with the strong, sweet smell of oranges.
I even love the way the sink fills up with the peels.
I love the color of the juice in the glass.
It glows.
It's beautiful.

It reminds me of being a little girl.
I loved making myself a glass of fresh squeezed juice then too.
I guess I have always been a romantic.

Sometimes, making home made food is just that.
Like the morning I made this juice.
The house was still quiet.
The sun was rising and I watched it through the kitchen window as I rolled, cut and squeezed.
It was calm and meditative and a perfectly lovely way to begin my day.
Handing my kids a glass of juice squeezed from our oranges feels pretty lovely too.

But sometimes making home made food is just more chaos.
Like the night before, when I was making hummus to go with our dinner.
And my 2 and 4 year old wanted to help.
I was in a hurry.
They were slowing me down.

That, however, is the other part of making home made food.
The experience part I mentioned before.
In the same way that I remember making myself a glass of fresh squeezed juice and enjoying it with my breakfast while I poured over Marion Cunningham's "The Breakfast Book," my kids will remember making hummus with me.
They will remember using a citrus reamer to add the fresh lemon juice.
They will remember that Mom always used kosher salt.
They will remember spending time with me there at the counter.
And that is important to me.

I make time for home made food because I like it.
I like to eat good food.
But also because it is one of the ways I am making memories with my kids.
It provides a place for us to talk and be together and to learn many different things.
It is a way for us to bring joy to others in the way Jen's cake brought us joy.
It is a way to show love.
And, it's fun.
Most of the time.

And that is why I bother.
Happy cooking!
Love from,

PS.  If you are a cookbook reader and a breakfast fan, that cookbook is a must.  It is on my list of cookbooks I'd like to own.  And not just for nostalgic reasons either.


simply brookes: said...

agreed. Well said, friend.

Katie @ minivan diva said...

The vivid color of that juice is amazing!

Megan B. said...

Marion Cunningham is a goddess deluxe! I grew up baking with my mom from her re-vamp of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, and now, her Fannie Farmer Baking Book is one of my most treasured resources. It's where I found my husband's most favorite cookie ever :

Rachel said...

Funnily enough, as I read this post, I am drinking orange juice from my favorite coffee shop on 2nd St in Belmont Shore, Aroma Di Roma. The best orange juice ever... and I watched them squeeze it before it went into my glass... the little home made things in life are the best...

Erin McDonald said...

I so can't wait until I have my very own kitchen again to make tose special home made goodies! LOVE IT!! And I love you!

Erin McDonald said...

Uhh Can you make this for when I come over? I understand you may not have any left on the tree BUT if you do that looks mighty good!