You are never too old!!

10 Jan

“I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” — Julia Child

I, like Julia Child, am a foodie.  As my blog readers, family and friends alike know this about me.  At any given meal, I begin planning a future meal or dinner party.  I ask just about everyone I meet about food at some point.  And perhaps even their favorite recipe or cooking tips.   Everything inspires me to cook, to create, to share.  Food to me is passion, it’s sensual, social, an expression of love.  I touch food, talk about it, I smell it, let my imagination run wild.  I simply cannot help myself.  Thankfully, my friends love me for who I am.  No matter how much I tend to prattle on about food sometimes!

Although classic cookbooks are important for learning basic techniques, my favorite cookbooks are generally the homespun cookbooks.   One from a charity league, for example, or a local church organization in a location that I do not live, is sure to provide inspiration.  It is certain to contain nuggets of information, nuances in the recipes that may be a bit unfamiliar to me.  And no one loves an opportunity to learn more than I do!  In one such cookbook from Louisiana, a recipe that I wanted to try used the term “vegetable liquor”.  I had no idea what that was.  The cookbook was originally published in the 1950’s, so I immediately called one of my friends that is in her 90’s.  She was able to explain the term beautifully.  And therein lies the challenge and the desire to create!

It is never too late to begin cooking.  Give it a try.  If the late great Julia Child started to cook at age 32, you can begin at any age.  I was recently at a wine dinner.  A young professional, a woman in her late 20’s, asked me how I learned to cook.  She had no idea how to shop, to read a recipe, what pans to use, or how to cook.  I am a lucky girl.  My mom was a fantastic cook.  I cook very differently from her, but she gave me the basic knowledge and inspiration from which to launch my  own talent with food.  She forever instilled in me the love of family and friends gathered for meals.  She taught me that the food need not be sophisticated to be shared and enjoyed.  Everyone was welcomed into my childhood home for a meal, no matter how rustic the food.  That gift from my mother will always live in my heart and hopefully always inspire my generosity to welcome all to my home and my dinner table!  You can do the same.  It isn’t difficult.  Start with something simple.  Start with what you know.  Then build from there.  Here are some super easy recipes to get you started:

Appetizer:

  • Frozen phyllo cups (they are found in your grocers freezer)
  • brie cheese
  • mango chutney (pepper jelly also works well with this recipe))
  • chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place frozen phyllo cups on baking sheet.  Chop brie in small pieces to fit into cup.  Place brie in phyllo  cup.  Put 1 teaspoon chutney or jelly on top of cheese.  Sprinkle with walnuts.  Place in preheated oven for 20 minutes till warm and bubbly.  Serve.  Super easy and so good!

Salad:

  • Chopped romaine lettuce 1-2 heads
  • 4 ounces Sliced mushrooms
  • 2 Thinly sliced green onions, green tops included
  • 1 Chopped apple
  • Goat Cheese crumbles
  • Commercial balsamic vinaigrette

Mix together first 5 ingredients.  Toss with vinaigrette, sprinkle with salt and pepper,  and serve chilled.

Main dish:

Oven fried chicken:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 c skim milk
  • 1/2 c bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c AP flour
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese
  • 1 T. each parsley and basil
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Rinse and dry chicken.  Set aside.  Mix bread crumbs thru salt and pepper in a large zip top bag.  In a flat dish, such as a low soup bowl or pie plate, place skim milk.  One at a time, dip chicken in milk, then put in seasoning bag and shake.  Remove and place on baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Place in oven and cook 30-40 minutes.  Serve hot.

Vegetable:

Baby Carrots

Pull out a bag of baby carrots.  Take a sauce pan out.  Put about an inch of water in the bottom, and 1 T of margarine and 1 t. salt.  Bring to boil.  Add carrots and return to boil.  Cover and simmer until desired doneness, about 10 minutes.  Serve.

Starch:

Herbed rice

Microwave a bag of brown minute rice.  When done, empty bag into bowl.  Add salt, pepper, and a small jar pimento for flavor and color.  Stir.  May also add 1 T parsley for added color and flavor.  Serve hot.

This is a very simple meal that can be tossed together easily.  The food is relatively easy to prepare and serve.   Everyone can help pull this meal together and participate.  Welcome all into your home.  Make the meals about family, companionship, and socializing.  Whether you are older or younger than 32, if I can do it, if Julia Child did it, so can you!!

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