I love food.

I really do.

Food is delicious and fun and adventurous. It provides nutrition and sustenance.

But that is not why I truly love it.

I love food because it brings people together.

Since I was a tiny tot, I have been around good food because I have grown up around good cooks.

These cooks are some of my favorite people on the planet.

And, they make some of my favorite foods on the planet.

I’m working on gathering the recipes so that I can share them with you. I may have to perform some choke holds to draw the recipes out of these women. But I will do it.

For you.

You have to make me a promise though. If you make these recipes, you have to make them with love for someone that you love.

It is the only way they will turn out right.

I’m sure of it.

So, let me introduce you to the cast of cooks that I’ll be berating for recipes.

Before you meet them, I must warn you… I do, in fact, suspect that they are all lying liars.

Because I have some of the recipes from these gals that I will eventually share with you, and I cannot for the life of me recreate them. At least, not perfectly.

They never taste exactly the same.

So, I think all of my relatives are sneaky, withholding liar-pants.

I’m sure it isn’t my error.

It couldn’t be.

Right?

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My mom can cook. My grandma can cook. My aunts can cook. My cousins, sister, and brother can cook.

My dad cannot cook.

Well, he can make a perfect bowl of cream of wheat. And popcorn.

But I digress.

My mom makes a mean spinach pie, knock-you-over lasagna, melt in your mouth angel food cake with chocolate frosting, and the list goes on and on.

I seriously took for granted the homemade meals that came out of my mama’s kitchen every night when we were growing up.

Now that I’m cooking, I more fully understand the planning, time, and effort that went in to making something that fed seven people, kept the majority of them happy, and was nutritional and delicious.

That is an amazing feat.

My Aunt Patti makes Italian Wedding Soup that will make you weak in the knees. It is easily the number one food that I look forward to at Christmas. You have not had Italian Wedding soup, until you have had her version.

You. Have. Not.

Then, my Aunt Stephanie… her ribs are famously delicious. And so are her cookies. And everything else she has ever made.

I mean it. Everything.

And my Grandma. You can feel her love in her pasta sauce. It is the essence of her… where she came from, what she loves, what she is proud of. Food is how she serves her family.

I have tears in my eyes right now thinking about the love that is poured into the food made by these women. And more importantly, the love that was shared around the table as we devoured it.

And reflecting back I know that my mom, grandma, aunts, sisters, brother, and cousins have all fed (both literally and figuratively) this passion for food that I have.

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If you think it couldn’t get better than that, it does.

Because not only did I come from a family of culinary masters, I married into a family them as well.

Brad grew up very similarly to me, and his mama knows how to make a meal.

She’s famous for her coleslaw, cheesy zucchini, taco dip, and her love of all things chocolate.

Aunt Kim can take a breast of chicken and some salt and somehow create a five star gourmet meal.

Aunt Chris has introduced me to more delectable delights than I can count, but topping the list is her tomato pie. Oy vey.

I’m not sure what deep thought I’m trying to conjure up here.

Or if I have a point to make.

I was just thinking about why food makes me happy. Why do I like to stand over a hot stove with tired feet? Why do I enjoy the failures of a recipe gone bad as much as the triumph of creating a delicious masterpiece?

I think it is because in my life, where there has been food, there has been connection.

There has been conversation, confession, understanding, and love.

And so that is why I cook.

To feed my face and my soul.

I’m so eloquent.

This is my public thank you to the women in my life that have shaped who I am today- in and out of the kitchen.

That’s all.

Leah

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