I guess the first thing I should share is that mine is a family of foodies, and we have Sunday dinner together at my parent’s house every week. This weekend the plan was to have dinner at Mom and Dad’s Sunday and at our house Monday. We are the type of family that starts planning the menu for the next Sunday while we are eating Sunday dinner. So our plans for the Labor Day weekend menus started the Sunday prior, and my Dad and I finalized what to cook mid-week. I wanted to do pulled pork on Labor Day, so we had to find something different for him to cook Sunday. We narrowed it down to either a rolled leg of lamb on the spit or a whole BBQ turkey. He went with the turkey and it was amazing! I went with Carolina-style pulled pork and started the process when I got home from dinner Sunday.
I am not sharing this play-by-play of our weekend menu planning to make your mouth water; the reason is to tie it in to cooking with the kids.
I remember cooking from an early age. The first thing I can remember cooking all on my own was scrambled eggs. I am not sure how old I was, but I remember my little cousin Jonathan and I making them with my Mom—she let us do the making while she offered help and guidance. Today I love to cook & bake. Grilling and BBQ’ing are my favorites ever since watching my Dad and Grandpa cooking on a BBQ as a kid. Every Father’s Day we would cook whatever meat Gramps or Dad wanted. I will never forget the day I took over the reins. My Grandpa bought a bunch of top quality New York Steaks and I got to grill them. I was so excited and nervous at the same time. My family likes rare meat so I didn’t have much room for error. Grandpa just gave me a few words of advice and sat down. Ten minutes later we were all enjoying perfectly grilled steaks in my parent’s backyard. I felt like I had arrived, like I had completed a rite of passage. I had indeed.
My kids have the same curiosity and joy for cooking that I had growing up, especially now that I’ve let go of some of my craziness about messes and worry over cooking-related injuries. I took this weekend as an opportunity to engage them in that joy. They were not around for the whole process, but they heard me talking and asked questions, so I explained things like, “what is brining?” I told them what I did the night before while they had a sleepover at Gramma & Papa’s. I started cooking the pork early Monday, and they would let me know when the BBQ smoked too much and when the outside of the pork looked ready. So, I was able to begin their first lesson in true barbequing—well, actually their second. I taught them one of the most important lessons in barbequing the first time they each saw me grilling: always use fire – never, ever gas. A real BBQ’er never uses gas! But I digress . . . So, I taught them about indirect heat, smoking, slow-cooking, and resting meat. The best part about it all, besides eating the delicious food, was that they got to see how excited I am about cooking, and how that excitement was shared by all those lucky enough to partake in the meal!
No matter what you grow up to be, cooking is something you can always do. I hope I can pass on what I have learned over the years along with my passion for cooking to my kids. Meals have always brought our family together and I hope to do my part to ensure that it continues to do so for generations to come.
What did you have this weekend? Any good recipes to share? How about any childhood memories about meals, family, or food? We would love to hear them.
– Kevin Williams
VP & Dad