When I was growing up, my mom was in love with baking and cooking from scratch. I lived on all the homey foods any child would love, and since my mom was Italian, we had the added bonus of having authentic, Sicilian pastas, soups, and recipes, handed down to her from past generations. She also made a Biscotti cookie that was out of this world. My mom was always in the kitchen, either cooking or baking something, amazing! She was content as a homemaker and it showed; when she put on her crisp white apron, you just knew magic was going to happen. I remember the smell and aromas of something bubbling away at the stove, her curly, black hair pulled back, and her hands were busily, kneading dough. The sounds and smells of a happy mom were all over the place.
When I was fourteen years old, she taught me how to make homemade bread and this started a tradition of weekly bread making. She bought for me a crisp, white apron to wear on our bread making day and she got me started with the wheat berry, itself. I would grind these berries in this small machine that I had to manually crank. My arm was sore, but what I saw was exciting…I made flour! We spent the rest of our time together by teaching me how to proof yeast, knead the dough (this was fun because my hands were submerged in the soft dough) and to let rise. After my first batches of homemade bread—I was a changed young woman. I would bake a couple loaves and freeze the rest of the dough in separate bags for the rest of the week. Eight loaves of bread every Tuesday; it was my job, and it felt fantastic! Photographs of me pointing to my homemade breads are forever memories of my wonderful experience in our kitchen while I was young.
These aromatic memories are with me forever and I’ve been sharing all I know with my children who want to know the fine art of bread making. Like my mother, I, too, love to cook and bake from scratch and spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Homeschooling my children gives me such an awesome opportunity to always have them helping in the kitchen. It can get overwhelming when two or more chairs are being drug to the counter, but with everyone taking a turn, and a whole lot of patience, we not only learn math and science, and get to taste our homemade bread… we make memories. Like me, once they learn the fine art of bread making, they can take that with them forever. But even for those children of mine that don’t have the interest in learning how, they will always remember the smells and tastes of homemade delights coming out of our oven.
I’m glad my mom took the time to teach me how to bake bread; it was something I took ownership of and enjoyed it. Her love for creating nurturing, delicious meals was inspiring to me and I love passing on all her recipes to my own family.
Eight loaves of bread every Tuesday; it was my job, and it felt fantastic!