I grew up in a very small town in Western, NY. I lived a very short distance from my grandparents, I was very lucky. My grandma was a Chef in a small hotel and she loved to be in the kitchen. Her cooking was phenomenal.
She brought me into the kitchen at a very young age. I can't remember exactly how young I was, but I was little. One of my favorite meals, whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner was French toast. To this day, I love it!!
I have so many wonderful memories of my grandparents. I remember going to "the farm" with my grandpa, on Fridays after work, to buy glass bottled milk. He'd always buy me an ice cream treat and say, "Don't tell Nanny." If a stop at the farm wasn't in order, we'd stop at the small store near their home for whatever necessities Nanny had put on the list. Pop would buy me a can of Dr. Pepper and some Suzi Q's. Oh, how I loved those things.
One weekend my grandma decided that I could help her, rather than just watch. She asked me what I wanted for dinner... naturally, I wanted French toast. She walked to the fridge, pulled the eggs and set them on the counter. I remember her turning around and saying, "Well, you'll need this too" as she pulled my step stool/chair up to the counter. She handed me a whisk and an egg. My first couple eggs were a bust.... the bowl was full of shells. My Nan didn't complain, she simply fished the shells out, handed me another egg, and said, "try again."
I wish I had my grandma's patience. I become very impatient with my own children in the kitchen. I'm getting better, but it's a work in progress. I think it's because when Nan & I were cooking, it was just the two of us. When I'm cooking, I have three little ones under my feet. The oldest of my three could care less, in most cases... but every now and then he really wants to help. The other two simply get in my way when they try to help. Most of the time, I'm simply in a hurry because we've got to get to dance, or football practice, a doctor appointment, open house.... whatever. Though, now it's summer.... I can take the time to stop and teach the kids to smell the roses.... or, properly crack and scramble an egg, or whatever.
Once I had those eggs in the bowl, I started to whisk away. I remember my Nanny adding a touch of vanilla extract to my eggs and thinking that was really weird. I remember she poured in a splash of orange juice as well. I was learning her secrets. She wasn't telling me that they were secrets, but they were because no one knew what made her french toast SOOO special.
It was a meal I'll never forgot. My Pop was SO proud of me. He said it was the best meal he'd ever eaten. (He said that ever time I cooked!) I also made the best cookies, the best cupcakes... everything I made was perfection. Oh my goodness.... I miss my grandparents something awful.
My grandma inspired my love of cooking. My daughter inspired me to make a career out of it. When she was diagnosed with Celiac, 4 years ago, I had to learn to cook (and to love to cook) all over again. I have yet to teach her how to make french toast because she's always reacted to eggs, until recently. A few weeks ago she had a small bite of a scrambled egg. Two weeks ago, she ate an entire egg. Soon, perhaps... I'll be able to take her into MY kitchen, with some wonderful gluten free bread, a bunch of eggs, some vanilla, and orange juice....and teach her my grandmas secrets. =)
Many thanks to Shauna - the Gluten Free Girl - for inspiring me to write this blog post. =)