I came to the realization that the reason I haven’t been posting so much lately is that I feel my posts aren’t as “pro” as some of the other culinary blogs i’ve been reading. I feel like all these other bloggers make incredible things, visit incredible places, and work with rare and unusual items. Then there is me – I love sausage and chocolate. I felt like my blogs were not nearly as interesting. I kept thinking of unique topics to write about – but then I didn’t have the time to execute them. I would make dinners and feel like posting but think nobody wants to hear about the usual panini i just made. I decided that the thing that makes me stand out is how passionate I feel about cooking. I’m not passionate about cooking because I want to get ahead, or because I want to be the next big thing. I’m passionate about cooking because I want my Grandma’s legacy to live on. She was my inspiration for my love of being in the kitchen.
When I was just a little kid I used to envy the praise my Grandma would get every holiday after a big meal. People would be fighting over the leftover pierogis or the last bacon bun left on the tray. Family members would beg her to make her famous fudge or heath bar cake. Even though at the time I didn’t have the palette to respect sauerkraut and smoked sausages – I still understood that to other people this was the meal they looked forward to for months. Nobody in the family had the respect for what she did. They enjoyed her cooking no doubt, but nobody wanted to learn how to do it. They just wanted it to appear on the dinner table. I remember sitting with my grandma and being only seven or eight and she would be explaining all the ingredients and how she prepared it and always ended it with the same line “Oh Danielle – WAS IT GOOOOOOD!”. Being so young I didn’t understand how she could be so enthusiastic about food. At that age I felt it was a great day if I got a Lunchable and some Oreos.
In time I started to understand what good food was. When I was about 10 my Grandma started to be more worn out and started to get arthritis and didn’t have that passion for cooking anymore. She enjoyed food a lot but she didn’t have the energy to cook as much. She would still make her meals but she would complain about how her knees and hands were sore and there were rarely leftovers because she only made enough to get through dinner. This is when I realized she wouldn’t make these meals forever and nobody else had the interest to learn her recipes. I asked her to teach me her pierogi – she seemed thrilled that someone else wanted to help and she said “once you learn this Danielle, it’s all you! I’m done!”. She handed me little Christmas decorated glasses and told me “This makes the best shaped pierogi!” Since then I still use that Christmas cup to make pierogi. I still remember when I perfected her pierogi. My Grandpa tested one out and said “I think hers are better than yours Minnie” She snapped back “How can they be better!? I taught her how to make them!” He said “its the dough – she does something with this dough” her loving response – “Oh shut up Chester its the same”. I smiled – I knew she meant it with love. My Grandma was a “rough around the edges” kind of person, held immense grudges and maybe wasn’t always the most friendly. But our passion for cooking brought us together. She never treated me with any disrespect – she was always the most loving person to me. I feel that my interest in her hard work made me something special in her eyes.
In time she passed me all of her prized recipes. I took over a majority of the cooking for holidays. Unfortunately a few summers ago my Grandma did pass away. Cancer had consumed nearly all of her body and it was a short battle after it was found. She wouldn’t eat much in the hospital so I even cooked her famous bacon buns in hopes she would eat it. She did. However, on her death bed she managed to mutter out “needs more sugar”. I didn’t take offense to it. My Grandma was the best cook and I know she didn’t want anyone else to be in the kitchen spotlight. Even though I do care to have my family see me succeed as a chef – my Grandma is the only one I wanted to see at the grand opening of a restaurant of mine. I did end up getting a tattoo in my Grandmas honor (a red rose – she loved roses) so that she can still be with me – especially when I open my own restaurant with all her favorite recipes.
I may not want to become an executive chef of some big hotel or restaurant but I do want to cook amazing things even if its just a simple potato salad – but it’ll be the best gosh darn potato salad you’ll ever eat! My passion for food comes from being with family and friends who will enjoy it. My dishes may not be the most impressive or unique but they are all made with passion. I live to cook – I LOVE to cook. I just wanted all my readers to understand where I’m coming from. What I write about may not “Wow” you – but I hope you feel something by reading it.