Cooking is my passion and standing in the kitchen, with Dean Martin singing in the background and cooking for friends and family, brings joy into my heart. I learned cooking from the best cook I have ever known, my Grandmother. She could make delicious meals out of nothing, she never used a recipe and she taught me the true meaning of important measurements like “a little bit” and the most most important one “to taste”.
I try to recall if we even had a real cookbook when I grew up and I don’t think we did. She had a handwritten, little notebook that was overflowing with original recipe labels and handwritten cards were sticking out left and right. It was always there on the kitchen table when we made special meals, even though she didn’t really used all the step-by-step instructions.
I must have been a smart child, because I realized that I would be hopelessly lost in the kitchen without my own notes and so it begun. I made little notes when my Grandmother was throwing “stuff” together. I watched her often and later on, long after she was gone, I remembered more and more of her little secrets.
I started cooking Italian and Austrian dishes first, then I adapted and Americanized some of my favorite recipes. Not all of course, sometimes I just make them think I did and still cook the old, authentic way. My husband doesn’t mind, he loves my cooking.
I have an enormous amount of cookbooks and love looking at different recipes, when I plan a cookout or gathering in our house. My favorite cookbooks are plastered with sticky notes and have hand scribbled notes on the sides. I assume it’s an inherited disease. 🙂
However, I adjust ever recipe to our taste -my taste- and started writing my own cookbook over 30 years ago, the same way my Grandmother did. I cut out recipes from magazines and food boxes, kept original labels of jars and still use some of them today.
I had to re-write my cookbook already two times. The first one didn’t have enough pages, the second one had an encounter with the kitchen sink. Each and every time I copy all my recipes in the new book and finally ad the lose pages and printouts I collected to it -it got thicker and thicker over time.
My cookbook is the one ingredient in my kitchen that I wouldn’t want to miss. My Grandmother’s wisdom is in there, as well as my first American disaster recipes. It’s my history in form of recipes, collected in different languages, showing the different states of my life.
Cooking without it would not be the same. It’s always on an old book stand in my kitchen and gets used quiet often.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Ingredients.”
What’s the one item in your kitchen you can’t possibly cook without? A spice, your grandma’s measuring cup, instant ramen — what’s your magic ingredient, and why?