Something about the onset of winter has me baking and cooking in the kitchen. I love to cook but I love it even more when the wind is blowing and it is rainy or snowing out. It just makes me feel all snug and cozy and warm.
I have to tell you too, I have the world's smallest kitchen. Seriously. It is a very small counter and the kitchen can fit two people in it at once, if they squeeze tight. But it doesn't stop me. And it didn't stop my grandma either. This kitchen may be small, but it produced our family's Thanksgiving dinner every year when I was kid, forever and ever. My grandma made it all too~ turkey, mashed potatoes, green veggies, pies of all kinds, and my very favorite, Yorkshire Pudding. Just thinking about that Yorkshire Pudding brings tears to my eyes, with missing her. It was always made last, and we all anxiously awaited its arrival at the table, fresh from the oven. My uncle and I are both end piece lovers, and I remember being very little and hoping that when it made its way to me, there was an end piece left.
So now, when I bake in the very same kitchen, I think of my grandma, and I feel so connected to her and those family holidays.
One thing I made recently is this Challah bread.
Raspberry-Sea Salt Challah from Girl Versus Dough.
She made hers with fig as well, but I don't care for fig so I left it out. It turned out so good! The process for me was messy and slow going ~ it took me five hours as I am not an experienced challah maker at all! But the end results were pretty and tasty, and I was pretty darn proud of myself. I think my grandma would have been too.
I've also been churning out my own version of Spicy Vegetable soup by the potful, and assorted pastas, including the Pioneer Woman's Mac and Cheese. I love that stuff and could eat it every day! My husband was even hit by the baking bug, and made the most delicious Madeline's, so light and lemony, that I enjoyed one morning for breakfast.
Of course, I am looking forward to Thanksgiving as well. I plan to make Nantucket Cranberry Pie, which I made last year, and it seemed like people liked it.
Baking pie was a specialty of my grandma's. She always made her own pie crust by hand, and I loved to sneak the scraps of dough to eat. People say there isn't a difference between homemade and frozen crust, but maybe that is because they haven't had quality homemade crust, like my grandma used to make.
Food is memory, is sensory. Food is family, and love. I think of all those memories of my grandma, of baking shortbread with my mother, of baking now in my little kitchen that has seen so many meals, the kitchen I will bake in for my own child one day soon, and there is something soothing and wonderful about it all.