The Kitchen Window. The picture above you see is my Mama’s kitchen window. The window I grew up with in Germany. It doesn’t always look that pretty and organized but it’s always had meaning to me. Just like the little town of Neckarburken pictures to the right – where I grew up my entire childhood. The kitchen is a place where family gathers, where we get together to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee and cake, celebrate birthdays, get-together’s, and even meet to receive terrible news. It’s the central place of a family – at least that’s how I’ve grown up.
It’s where I found and discovered my love for cooking, baking, spices, herbs, different cuisines, heritage recipes, and yes, even crappy pre-packed food.
Growing up I spent time in my Mama’s kitchen, and my Oma’s. We were fortunate to grow up in a multi generational house so I had the best of both worlds. My Opa has green thumb and grew an incredible garden with lots of variety we planted, took care of, and harvested when it was ready.
Wondering what kind of fruits he grows? Well let me tell you..
- Strawberries *Big & Wild!
- Red & Black Currants
I have a hunch I forgot something but I miss it!
If you thought it was just fruit you’d be wrong.
- Butter Lettuce
- Iceberg Lettuce
- Green Beans
- Sweet Peas
I believe I covered our garden.. he also doesn’t use chemicals to keep the critters out – he uses natural methods he learned. Oh, he’s not a fan of snails & slugs lol. Also, fruit and veggies don’t *have to* look perfect. It’s the taste that is important!
Yep, my families kitchen and garden has fostered my love for food. I’ve learned not only professionally but also from 2 of the best cooks I know. Oma & Mama – I spent hours in the kitchen with them and they each are good at something different. Heck Opa is an incredible chef (but he’ll never admit it) Even my dad, the American, taught me how to make food from scratch – not the fresh garden kind – he was brought up with cornbread, milk, beans, biscuits and gravy (scratch-made – yeah, I make an amazing sausage gravy & biscuits..) He’s very much a meat and taters kinda guy and growing up I don’t remember him eating much fresh fruit or vegetables but it did change a bit over the years.
It’s been interesting to have the two types of upbringing and cultures (my dad is from the hills of Tennessee) and my mom’s family from Baden-Wurtemberg in Germany. I’ve always loved the fresh approach to food and didn’t realize the difference until I moved to the US and gained weight immediately. And lost it within months of returning to Germany. But I’ll save this topic for an entire blog *series?*
I remember noting the difference in upbringing – my mom and grandparents raised to grow their own, we canned, juiced, pickled, and baked fresh. See the picture of my kids, my sister and niece picking fresh strawberries to take home to make jam, cakes, and more! Germany is home to bakeries & butcheries in nearly every little town. We don’t buy 2 weeks worth of groceries. We really go every or every other day and buy what we need. The giant fridges were new to me when I moved. The concept of not having access to fresh butchered meats and cuts, or fresh crusty bread still bothers me. So I learned to bake. But I haven’t learned to butcher yet 😉
I know I like to ramble on and on but this part is important. Family, the meals we share like here with my kids, Oma & Opa, in the garden, grilling outside with meat from the butcher, salad from the garden, enjoying time together, creating memories. I don’t know if my love for food is because I just love food, or because it’s powerful. Food can make you sick or healthy. Food unites, brings together, creates memories, and fosters a sense of belonging. Food is wondrous and amazing in its ability to change flavor, texture, and experience, not just from recipe to recipe but culture to culture. Food is more than just something that keeps us full. It’s nature, it’s love, it’s a bonding agent in a busy world, it’s medicine, it’s comfort. It’s home.