Food, Family & Love

          Valentine’s Day is the perfect day for the launch of my new food blog! Food is one of the many ways that I show love to my family and friends, just like the women in the generations before me. My grandmother was always in the kitchen, and I followed her in there every chance I got. She taught me the basics, like how to dice an onion and to always follow precise directions when baking. It’s a science! She taught me how to cook our family favorites, like beef tips and to always peel the legs of a shrimp first to make it easier to remove the shell. And she taught me how to trust my instincts in the kitchen. We still joke today about how she used to clean out the refrigerator when making potato salad. There may have been a base recipe, but she very rarely followed it to a “T”. Did you know that you can create a significantly different depth of flavor just by sprinkling a tablespoon or two of dill pickle juice over potatoes before making your potato salad?

          Once I got my own kitchen, I enjoyed cooking simple meals for myself.  I spent as long as I liked at the grocery store choosing easy ingredients that I could several times throughout the week. Most of the time, I made enough dinner for at least two servings so that I could have leftovers for lunch or an effortless dinner after a long day at work. 

          Shortly after meeting my husband, Ryan, he started eating that second portion of those simple meals. I guess I made them with a little too much love because he apparently enjoyed them so much that I couldn’t get rid of him! Although I may have used those meals to con him into falling in love with me, either way, he proposed. Cooking then as a couple gave us time to catch up on each other’s day while trying new recipes and new foods together. I distinctly remember trying the mini cheese balls from Kraft’s Food & Family magazine, a magazine that gave me years of easy and delicious recipes. The cheese balls were… delicious, and each time I went to the fridge to snack on them, there were fewer than the time before. We both secretly hoped to get the last one.

          After the birth of our first child, I loved her through food just as much as I did my husband. It was really important for me to introduce her to a variety of fresh, healthy foods. I signed up for emails from Fresh Baby, a site that provides nutrition education and healthy recipes, and I made all of her food from scratch. Sometimes it was pureeing the green beans from our dinner before adding the salt for our adult pallets and other times it was from a batched cooking Saturday that I stockpiled in the freezer. I promise, making baby food sounds overwhelming, but with a few relatively inexpensive tools, it is healthier and saves you a ton.  I did it with all three of my children.

          My kids are now all relatively good eaters, and I know how blessed I am by this. When they were little, they loved to help measure, pour, and stir in the kitchen, and I still love having them there. It’s bonding time! I’m teaching them the things that were taught to me by the most important women in my life, my mother, grandmother, and godmother.

          So, now I’m the one that’s always in the kitchen. I have a collection of aprons, my grandmother’s recipes, and my cutting board is my best friend.  I get excited about shopping for healthy ingredients… please, visit your local farmers market to support local farms while getting the freshest possible meat, fruit, vegetables, and herbs. I love cooking just good food for my family of 5, my entire family at the holidays, and every friend that comes to visit. I truly enjoy taking meals to support friends who are sick, grieving, or celebrating the birth of a new baby, and have been fortunate enough to have been on the receiving end of this type of love.

          As I said, this is the perfect day to begin sharing how I show love to family and friends through food, and I hope you continue to join me.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

René Wilson

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