WISDOM NUGGET: DON’T GET SO FOCUSED ON PERFECTION THAT YOU FORGET THE JOY OF THE OCCASION
Food is my passion. It fuels me, soothes me, helps prevent sickness and generally makes my belly really happy. It’s one of the most important ways that I show people that I care, that I’m thinking of them. If I were to try to explain how and why, well… that story wouldn’t be complete without giving my Mom & Dad some credit.
Food was always so much fun growing up! Mom and Dad both cooked. Dad’s almost-famous meatloaf and Mom’s lasagna, scalloped potatoes and chicken tenders top the list. We ate together as a family -- no matter what – and there were laughs, discussions and, of course, fights. The annual Christmas party took two months to plan and was ALL about the food. Friends and food. Food & friends…and laughs.
I’m not alone in the realization that many of my fondest memories are intertwined with food. My childhood food memories, though, are very specific to my parents’ extraordinary sense of humor. Being able to laugh at the occasional food folly taught me early on that as important as food is – even on special occasions – it’s not brain surgery. It’s okay to make mistakes and it’s good to laugh at yourself.
Two Classic “Walton Food Follies”
Juiciest Ham Ever: Mom made, “one of her best hams” we all said; man was that ham JUICY! Turns out she never took the damn thing out of the plastic-shrink-wrapped packaging! She was a busy mom & just forgot to unwrap it – baked it for a few hours shrink-wrap and all. Guessing that plastic was loaded with chemicals that leeched into that ham but to this day it’s the juiciest ham I have ever had!
Dad’s Tasty Nuts: Dad starting serving, “his tasty nuts”, a yummy but ridiculous holiday tradition, long before Alec Baldwin came along with his “shweaty balls”. People can’t get enough of my Dad’s “sweet, sugary nuts.” At Christmas, the ladies where Mom worked will ask with a giggle & smirk, “When can we get a taste of Mattie’s nuts?” There’ve been hundreds of wildly inappropriate adorations of my Dad’s nuts. Are Mattie’s nuts tasty? Yes, yes they are. Will I eat this holiday treat? Hell no.
Food for Thought: don’t ever get so amped up about making something perfectly that you forget the joy of the occasion you’re making it for. Laugh…learn…laugh some more and share all the trials and tribulations along the way with friends and family.
chef mel has been creating food experiences for over 20 years. she embraces an "aspiring homesteader" lifestyle & grows over 40 types of edibles when she's not teaching classes & hosting farm dinners. she adores simplicity, new food & edible flowers. her writing reminds us there's wisdom & humor among the seeds, stalks & sauce pots. we're not perfect & that's okay - keep it genuine & journey on!