I Want My Kids To Remember This

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When I think of my childhood, I remember spending many happy hours in our dining room. I don’t have many memories of our family eating meals together, unless on special occasions. I guess our parents didn’t live by design, back then. Today, when most parents work 9 to 5, it makes perfect sense to have meals together and always at the same time. Where I come from, we followed a more relaxed schedule. I had school in the morning and lunch (usually with my grandma) in the afternoon.  The afternoons and evenings were reserved for playing outside with friends, so I didn’t get to spend much time with my parents.  Our dinners were very informal and served upon request. My mom cooked every day, but I don’t remember having to be home for dinner at a specific hour. As I mentioned, I played with my friends, and when I felt hungry, I went home to eat. Life was simple, back then. I still remember our dining room. We had a very long dining table made of solid wood. Perhaps, it wasn’t that long, but I was just a kid, and to me it looked humongous. I spent many hours writing my homework there. The table served as a temporary storage place for mail, keys, and other things. It was also my brother’s favourite hiding place. I remember sitting in our dining room and watching mom work in the kitchen. I can still hear the different sounds coming from the kitchen: the sound of sizzling, boiling, chopping, and slicing. Most importantly, I remember the wonderful smell of home cooked meals. Yes, the home cooked meals. Those are happy memories that, I believe, inspired me to be the person I am today. I want my children to grow up remembering things like these. One day, I want them to look back and say:

My mom baked and decorated all our birthday cakes!

Or: Mmmm is that a cheese pie you’re making? Love it! That’s my favourite. My mom made the best cheese pie!

Or: We had a beautiful dining room, but we often ate dinners in our family room, while watching family movies together. That was so much fun!

I mean, why not?! I appreciate sitting down and enjoying a meal in our dining room, but it’s ok to relax the rules sometimes. What’s important to me is the time we spend together, as a family. If that means watching a movie together while eating dinner, then so be it.

From childhood to adulthood:

Cooking has always been a hobby of mine. I have enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen from the moment I moved out of my parents’ home and started university. Living on my own meant enjoying the freedom of preparing and eating whatever I wanted. I cooked every day. I was also very excited about the occasional visits from friends and family. Having someone to entertain and cook for was a dream come true. I also remember spending hours choosing, and sometimes even shopping for, the right serveware, cloth napkins, and other decorations for my table. Everything had to match and look perfect for each special occasion.

Today, spending countless hours in the kitchen and feeding our family of five can be overwhelming, but I still enjoy it. I don’t worry much about matching plates or buying colourful cloth napkins to dress up our table. I’ve learned to be practical, but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost our appreciation of good food. It’s quite the opposite, actually. The focus is more on the food, and less on the presentation.

What do we eat? Although, the kids have their favourites like: pasta, chicken strips, and Nutella crepes, our menu is a lot more colourful than that. I would say that we have a fairly healthy and well-balanced diet. We eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (although my kids prefer steamed over fresh vegetables), grains, and proteins. As every person in our family has a sweet tooth (unfortunately), we also enjoy homemade desserts that we often make together.

So, why have I created this page? The idea came to mind when my eldest daughter said to me once: “Mom, why don’t you go on some kind of a cooking competition show? Your food is delicious.” I laughed and responded: Thank you honey, but I’ll leave that to professionals. I’m just an ordinary mom, with passion for cooking.

I’ve never worked in a restaurant or cooked professionally. I’m more like Remy, Disney’s funny rat character from Ratatouille, who’s interested in cooking. I combine flavors and create new recipes. In other words, I experiment, and my family and friends enjoy my experiments. My recipes are mostly traditional. That means I’ve learned them from friends and family who have learned them from their mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers. I often modify these recipes to my own liking. That’s really all I do, but I enjoy the process, and that’s what makes cooking my passion and a hobby.

For the past ten years I’ve developed a particular interest in decorating our cakes for special occasions. I started just before my eldest daughter’s second birthday, when I decided to decorate and personalize her birthday cake. I watched YouTube tutorials and read blogs on cake decorating and learned a thing or two. Since then, I’ve been making and decorating every (special occasion) cake in the family. Everyone in the family appreciates it now, but the kids love it. Every year, just before their birthdays, they place their cake orders and tell me what cake designs they want. Regardless of how tired and busy I am, I always find time to make and decorate their cakes. If you’re like me and want to add a personal touch to everything that’s important to your kids, then check out dozens of YouTube videos on cake decorating. There is a wealth of information out there for you. Don’t be discouraged if your cake doesn’t turn out the way you wanted. The important thing is that you are trying to do something for your family. They will appreciate the effort. Everything else is less important.

Take a look at some cakes that I’ve decorated using fondant and/or icing sugar HERE.

Written by Vedrana Vodopivec
October, 2020