Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lessons from cake

For Christmas last year I gave my mom a promise to make her one supper every month. The gift of a promise- yes, really. But it is now October, and we have only missed one month (June, I think- crazy market business.) Anyway, this has been a fantastic gift for me because I get some guaranteed, uninterrupted time with my mom, and because I get to cook things I have never made before for a very loving and safe audience.
So, RVA was in the NYTimes the other day, and ever since then I have wanted a piece of the Tres Leche cake from Kuba Kuba which was mentioned in the piece. So, what a better time to try to make such a (seemingly daunting) cake than for supper with your biggest fan? I had also been wanting to check out the Pioneer Woman's blog, and as it turned out, she had a gorgeous recipe for Tres Leche cake. Pioneer woman uses a TON of photos for her recipes which I thought was silly- that is, until I started making the cake. Then of course, I loved it. Having all of those photos is like learning to cook from an actual person, not just from a recipe.
Yesterday at the Market I had several discussions with different people about why folks don't cook anymore. There are several theories, but one I think is really important is that we truly learn by teaching each other, and somehow we stopped taking the time to give those lessons in food. I used to take ballet classes, and the most beautiful thing I learned from that experience was how important the human element is in teaching something with as many subtleties as ballet- and I believe the same thing is true for cooking. These lessons and techniques are passed directly from one person to the next, as are our beliefs about the components. So, I hope you spent the summer getting dirty in the garden with your kids, and I hope you will invite each other to the kitchen table this winter. There are still so many lovely things to learn.

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