MOM’S APPLE PIE
My mom cooked almost everything from scratch. The first house we lived in had a good-sized garden and the second house had a barn and acres of farmland. This meant LOTS of fresh produce to eat, freeze, can, and cook with daily. Of course, on the occasion when she was pressed for time, she’d use a box of say, cake mix but always added an extra something to it to make it special. Other than that, she always preferred cooking and baking from scratch when possible.
One of our favorite baked goods was apple pie using Red Delicious and Winesap apples (half and half) from our own trees. Since Winesap apples are not available here in the south (something I am very upset about), I cannot seem to duplicate the flavor and texture of my mom’s apple pie.
I find Granny Smith apples hold up well, though, and my son loves the slight tang of their flavor. The Red Delicious apples are usually too mealy and simply turn to mush by the time the Granny Smith apples are cooked so I simply deleted them from the pie altogether. I remember making our own crusts half the time and the other half of the time, we used pre-made crust. Depending upon my mood, I use both as well.
COOKING FROM SCRATCH
As far as cooking from scratch goes, I cook from scratch now and have for about 25 years with rare exceptions. During my college years, I came to appreciate homemade food and have found my body is better for it.
Besides the many health benefits of cooking and baking from scratch (and incorporating as many organic items as money allows), I love the flavors of fresh produce. Dehydrated onions vs. freshly chopped onions sauteed in olive oil? No comparison. Fresh for me!
One other very important reason why I cook from scratch is food allergies. Both my husband and my son have food allergies.
Our son’s are more extensive than my husband’s so as a result, I am a detailed-reader of food labels, triple-checking before I buy anything. I even have to be careful about buying a turkey for Thanksgiving! Did you know some turkeys have milk/dairy in the “flavorful injections”? Who knew?
WHAT ALLERGIES SPECIFICALLY?
My husband is allergic to raw green peppers but can eat them when they are cooked. My son is allergic to raw celery but can eat it once cooked. Cooking apparently breaks down certain proteins and changes them in such a way that their bodies can handle the green pepper and celery just fine! Amazing, huh?
They both are allergic to most, if not all nuts; our son is allergic to all things dairy and eggs along with some fruits. My husband is allergic to most fruits but can eat apple pie since it’s cooked, but he can’t eat cherries at all. Bananas? No problem.
BEING CREATIVE IN COOKING
These are just some of the restrictions I’ve had to learn to cook around for more than 25 years and when I read this post to my husband just now, his reaction was, “Oh my God! That’s overwhelming!” I think he finally got a glimpse at the conversation that occurs in my mind when I’m grocery shopping and adapting recipes!
But, thanks to my parents’ appreciation of fresh produce and homemade meals and my mother’s lifetime love of cooking, baking, and experimenting, it’s been an easier challenge for me than most.
And because of my mom, I already knew the basics of preparing, cooking and baking from scratch; I simply had to discover substitutions and create my own variations. The most difficult part for me? Remembering to write down the amounts of certain items for the next time I make the dish, something my mom did very well. She wrote her reviews and adaptations into the cookbooks themselves.
Since it’s May and the month to celebrate your mother, did your mother have a favorite dish you’ve tried to replicate? Any success or adaptations?
Do you cook from scratch too? Did your parents?
Does your family have any food restrictions which have helped you become a more creative cook?
Please feel free to share your story in the comments below, or if you’d like, start to comment and link to a blog post to finish your cooking story. I’d love to read them!
Copyright 2011, 2012, 2013 – All rights reserved.