SHARON RANDALL COLUMN FOR TUES., DEC. 20, 2011

Did somebody say eat? All I have to do is mention food and I will hear from enough folks to polish off an all-you-can-eat buffet. They’re kind enough to say they like my column, but what they really want is a recipe.
Not that I blame them.
I like food, too. Especially if someone else cooks it.
That’s what my husband is doing as I write this. Listen. Can you hear him out in the kitchen, humming away, chopping garlic, banging pots, splattering grease…?
The man loves to cook. When he can. Most of his waking hours are spent in a newsroom editing copy, leaving little time for culinary pursuits.
But he recently started a project he’s wanted to do for years, collecting family recipes _ his own, his mom’s, his sister’s, even mine _ plus a few handed down from his grandmothers.
More than just recipes, he wants to include photos and stories, the kinds of anecdotes and memories that add meaning and flavor to any family meal.
I, for instance, can provide a recipe for my children’s favorite style of “Mom’s home cooking”: Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.
On special occasions, I added hotdogs, applesauce and peas.
I am not making that up.
Over time, I’ve expanded my recipe file, a fact for which my husband is grateful. It’s been years since I bought a box of Mac & Cheese. But when I see it on the grocery shelf, I smile.
Apparently, reading all those recipes whetted my husband’s appetite for cooking. For dinner tonight, he announced that he would make Lemon Coriander Chicken, a recipe he picked up long ago, living in London.
He started talking about it after lunch, the steps it involved, all the ingredients required.
“Do we have black mustard seeds?” he said, all excited.
I laughed.
Wait. He was serious.
“Um, we might have pepper.”
Minutes later, he left with a list and was gone for two hours, part of which included buying a blender to replace the one I’d broken. Never mind how.
He came home with five bags of groceries and a shiny new blender he needed to make the coriander sauce. Unfortunately, it was missing a gasket. The blender, not the sauce.
“No wonder it was on sale,” he said, clomping out the door.
An hour later he was back with a not-on-sale blender and a notably less enthusiastic spirit.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” I said. “I can make pizza.”
“Absolutely,” he said, “you go work on your column.”
So I did. I’d planned to write about “Dutch babies,” a kind of puffed pancake I’d mentioned recently in a column, prompting some of you (and you know who you are) to beg for the recipe.
Here it is: Melt a stick of butter in a cast iron skillet in a 425 degree oven. Mix 5 eggs, 1 c. of milk and 1 c. of flour in an unbroken blender. Pour batter over butter, bake 20 minutes until puffy and golden. Serve with fruit or a squeeze of lemon, and dust with powdered sugar.
The recipe is simple. What it means to me is not. I could never in the space of a column begin to tell you about all the times I’ve made it for family and friends, for my children’s sleepovers, all the stories behind it, all the memories it conjures up, how happy it makes me to take it out of the oven and watch it fall, once again, flat.
Any food can fill a stomach.
But family food _ good, bad or even out of a box, seasoned with stories, fragrant with memories, stirred with a labor of love _ can fill the most homesick of hearts.
I will post a detailed recipe for Dutch Babies on my website (sharonrandall.com.) But you’ll have to ask my husband for Lemon Coriander Chicken.

Comments

  1. Charyl Jenkins says:

    I live in Selma In. and I attend Faith Baptist Church in Farmland In. I enjoyed you column on going back to your childhood church. I have played the piano at my church for more than 40 yrs. If you are ever in our area on a Sunday drop by and sing along with us. Yes we still sing out of a hymn book and enjoy those old gospel songs.

  2. shashi saini says:

    Loved reading each line and laughed and laughed as I read the last line including comments . You are an amazing writer . I am 58 years old and I am reading each column at least twice . God bless you many more years of good health and also best wishes for many more awards !

  3. Annie says:

    I have a slightly different recipe for Dutch Babies, from Sunset magazine c. 1980. For some reason people all over the country are talking about Dutch babies this Christmas. I love you! Annie

  4. Marjorie says:

    New reader here! I love that your husband is making a family cookbook. I did that myself about 10 yrs ago and my family LOVED it. But I didn’t anticipate how expensive it was: the 3-ring binders, sheet protectors, and color printing added up fast, and a lot of people wanted copies. Anyway, I’m now working on a 10th anniversary edition – but this time I’m using Lulu to self-publish it. Besides being prettier it’ll also be on Amazon, so my cousin’s stepdaughter’s boyfriend’s mom can just buy a copy if she wants it.

  5. Carol in Indiana says:

    I bet your kids remember “Mom’s home cooking” with great fondness. I think it would be great fun, especially during this time of year to gather around the table and enjoy food prepared as it was then; and share the memories of those days gone by. If I was half the cook my mother was and could at least come close, it would be quite a journey back in time to feast on her recipes and the memories they would bring. Wishing you and your family a joyful and Merry Christmas. Did your husband find the black mustard seeds?

  6. Debbie says:

    Where is the recipe for Dutch Babies

    • Sharon Randall says:

      OK, Debbie, here goes. I just posted the recipe for “Dutch Babies” in the “Recipes” section, which you can click on under “Categories” to the right of the home screen. Thanks for asking, and happy eating!

  7. Tomas Jerles says:

    I don’t care how good a cook he is, the world needs to hear the torch story! Everyone who is a Sharon Randall fan will be touched. Tomas

  8. Teresa Corya says:

    Please ask your husband for the Lemon Coriander Chicken recipe! I plan on being very good for Christmas and think this would be an excellent Christmas gift!

  9. Marsha says:

    I loved your column on “the husband cooking”! The results are wonderful, but the cleanup (by me) is something else; however, a freezer full of spaghetti sauce, etc. is a great exchange!

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