I have a bit of unscheduled time this weekend. I've collected a few cookbooks this past summer and have marked some recipes to try. Since the weather is cooperating and it isn't a zillion degrees in Los Angeles, I might just pop on my apron and do a bit of cooking this weekend.
My Mom taught me cooking basics. She learned a bit from her mother, but really honed her kitchen skills after she married my Dad during World War II. In those days, cooking with canned goods and packaged mixes was all the rage. Campbell's cream of mushroom soup seemed to permeate most of our meals when I was a kid. When frozen vegetables were introduced, Mom was in heaven. Most nights our dinners consisted of: Iceberg lettuce salad with Wishbone dressing; main dish of some sort of protein with cream of mushroom soup baked in; frozen vegies sprinkled with Lawry's Seasoned Salt and butter; rice, potatoes or some other starch. Dessert was easy...ice-cream, pudding or Sarah Lee cake. When there was a special occasion, then Mom would take the time to cook something more involved. Otherwise, she thrived on quick and easy meals, afterall there were bridge and tennis games to be played! That was my culinary training ground.
When I was married the first time in the mid-1970's, the cooking revolution had begun! We always watched Julia Child on TV, along with Graham Kerr (the Galloping Gourmet). Haute cuisine had come to Los Angeles, via Patrick Terrail of Ma Maison Restaurant. Cookbooks like the Silver Palate and Renny Darling's tomes were my go-to sources during this era. I was even a member of a monthly gourmet club with four other friends. We alternated cooking elaborate meals for each other and dining out. It was a heady, foodie time in Los Angeles.
For the last 20 years or so, I've taken a page out of Mom's book and gone the way of Trader Joe's recipes and easy cooking ideas. By the way, the new Trader Joe's in West L.A. opens tomorrow!
Well, now it's time to re-cycle the past and consider nutrition and care in the preparation of our meals. I may just drag out a few of my old cookbooks, along with my recent purchases and prepare feasts for the week! Larry will be so impressed.