A long time ago I would have never envisioned one of my happy places to be right in my own kitchen. Looking back, my mother and grandmother were always cooking. It was just what they did, or at least what I thought all moms were supposed to do. Thoughts or desires of cooking myself rarely crossed my mine unless I was incredibly hungry and couldn't find anything worth eating by glancing in the fridge the first five times. Like most lessons in life passed down from ones parent's, I didn't come to appreciate the wonders of cooking until after I was living on my own. Eating vegan became a large contributor; in my discovery of new foods and recipes, one is forced to experiment and cook. This once dreaded chore evolved slowly into a passion. It became a place where I could create, relax, and just have fun. It became a hobby that I can share freely and fervently with one of my best friends, my mom.
She has a true talent and way about her in the kitchen. It comes with ease, but also years of trial and error. When I go home to Illinois to visit, a typical evening is never finished without food discussion or recipe testing. She is a relentless food critic, much to the annoyment of the rest of our family, but without her unyielding standards I dare say I wouldn't know what good food was. When I'm in the kitchen with mom, problems disappear and the focus is on the creation at hand. We share stories, laugh, and take photos of our work. We use our hands to manipulate dough and to stir sweet batter. We create and then we eat.