We had the great pleasure of serving dinner in our home to our friends Marie and Thayne this evening. We had invited them a couple of weeks in advance, but hadn't discussed the menu. When we saw Marie about a week ago, I decided to ask what they would like me to make for them. Would it be my famous casserole? Or perhaps my green chili? I was so pleased when, without a moment's hesitation, she said, "Oh, can we have paprikash?" Of course I agreed. I love any opportunity to share a bit of my Hungarian heritage, especially in the form of food. And I was thrilled that she likes it enough for me to want me to make it for her.
I think one of the dearest gifts we can give each other is to share with them the foods we love. For me, at least, when I am cooking or baking something for people I care about, it seems that the food tastes better. I have often shared my recipes for cookies and other dishes with my friends. And have been told time and time again that "they just don't taste the same." No, I am not a kitchen genius. Yes, I most definitely have my special tricks and techniques. But my knife skills are abysmal at best, and my "techniques" would likely get me laughed out of any and all culinary schools or professional kitchens.
I have come to the point where I can make my signature dishes without referring to recipes or instructions. Instead of cooking these dishes with my head, I am able to cook them with my heart. Is it possible that one's good feelings can add flavor to the food? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Maybe I am looking at the wrong end of the equation. Does knowing that the food we eat is well prepared as well as lovingly prepared improve the flavor? I'd like to think both things are true. So I will continue to share my love through the kitchen, as well as in other ways. I encourage you to do so as well. And in the words of the mean green mother from outer space, "Feed me, Seymour!"
As a child in Chicago, I was a member
of a family that sometimes made a meal for six people out of one potato,
so I know how real the problem of hunger is. I would like to remind everyone reading this that there are children and adults everywhere that do not have enough food to eat. Please remember them when you see donation boxes or "spend $5 to feed a family" promotions at your local market. And when you go out to a restaurant and are asked to donate an extra dollar or two to help feed the hungry, please consider doing so. I thank you on their behalf.