Having been born in the 1950’s I was subject to many rituals and customs of my mother. Some of them I still continue to this day and others I have archived to a dusty box in the closet. Back in the day when people invited you to their house for dinner or lunch or anything special you then had to reciprocate by way of bringing something. When I was a little girl my mom called that a bread and butter gift.
It was a big deal to bring the appropriate gift. It could be a baked good, a casserole or an actual gift. My mom did not cook so much back then so it was not going to be a homemade item. No cookies, no cakes, no casseroles. We were lucky back then that she didn’t poison us with her cooking..but then… that story is for another time.
So back to the gift. Let’s digress for a moment… My family was part owners of a local Pharmacy in our lovely little town on Long Island. Bell and Halpern. Dad passed away this past June and just this past week Mr. Bell passed on. But to this day…when people hear the name Bell and Halpern, memories flood back to all. It was the store to find the perfect Bread and Butter gift back then…as a matter of fact..it was The store to go to, to find any gift…we had a great store…China, Glassware, jewelry, watches, wallets, luggage, appliances, TV and stereos and radios, books, fragrance and cosmetics. We used to laugh it was the Bloomingdales of Pharmacies..all it lacked was apparel.
Again back to the bread and butter gift. It didn’t need to be expensive or big…but it did need to be thoughtful…and thats what I am hoping this blog will be. I am bringing to your house a little gift of myself to thank you for having me over. Here have a piece of cake.
For all my life, cooking and baking was where I went to lose myself. Dicing, Cutting, chopping, working that knife you had to keep your mind on the task at hand. Or you would lose a finger or at the very least cut yourself..which I have been known to do when I lost sight of what I was doing.
Baking requires following a recipe. Measuring and weighing ingredients exactly. I have a dyslexia with numbers so I constantly check myself. With baking you don’t know if you have a fail until you cut into a cake or bite a cookie or your souffle’ is flat as a crepe. But I love it…and I think I am pretty damn good at both baking and cooking and the only lessons I have had were from Home Economics in Middle School or from watching fine cooking shows. Julia, Jacques Pepin, Jose Torres, Galloping Gourmet, Nathalie Dupree to name a few, were my teachers albeit through the TV and through the internet.
I always said it was cheaper than therapy and always came out of a “session “with the house smelling great and something to eat. Of course its more fattening but way more fun and no one to say to you…”do you think that was a smart thing to say or do?”
I have never been a fan of therapy, but for reasons that don’t seem logical to those who like it. No reason to comment here on it..but it has just never been the route for me…thus cooking and baking and now blogging?
So back to cooking and why this blog now when there are more than a million blogs out there with amateurs and professionals and people somewhere in-between.
Sometime back in August I lost my job. I used to sell restaurant equipment. While the job itself wasn’t all that great and the people I worked for and worked with weren’t all that great, I loved it. I loved working with chefs and cooks getting their new business started or getting their business back on track after new equipment was delivered to them.
I miss that part of my job. I miss talking to bakers and chefs and store owners. I miss the conversations about food and sharing of recipes and emails back and forth with pictures of what they did best and what I tried to do. It was a community I was part of because of me selling equipment. I want to find a way back in..
So, readers if you will allow me…I will try to educate and entertain you. Why some equipment matters more than others. Why sometimes doing something simpler is better than fussing. Why this is infinitely better than therapy.