“Lauren Victoria, where are you I need you in the kitchen,” my mom said to me, as she was up to here neck in flour. “You need to wash your hands first then I’m going to teach you how to cook. ” Some of the best memories I have of my life is of my mom and I in the kitchen cooking dinner. My love for cooking grew because of her. Making and creating foods has been a passion of mine and you could even say it was an extracurricular activity. Having the ability to make people happy with food is the true joy in life. My mother told me that every time we stepped into the kitchen.
Just having her with made it fun and not just a chore. She told me that anyone can cook, but not everyone has the passion to succeed. It was 1997 I was 5; she bought me in the kitchen and let me watch her make dinner she was like angel floating around on a cloud. The way in which she moved blew my mind I have never seen anyone so graceful in my life. From then on out I knew what I want to do to for rest of my life and for my family. I only watched for many years but as the years went by my desire grew more and more.
Still to this day I remember what I made first with her, it is forever in my mind and with ever dish it feels like she is there with me. I was 6 years old and it was Christmas time and I asked what cookies she was going to make this year. She told me she wasn’t making any. All in that moment I started to feel tears build up in my eyes, she grabbed me up and whispered in my ear “you are going to make the cookies this year Lauren,” she said. There was so much joy inside me I felt like I was going to explode. The first thing I did was run into the kitchen and did everything mom did.
I pulled my hair back and washed my hands it was like I was in heaven. I felt like a big girl. She let me do everything by myself but she was right behind the whole time, which made me safe and comfortable. Needless to say the cookies weren’t great, but she told me that they were the best she ever had. As time pasted she started teaching me her technique like holding a fork and how to hold a bowl. I can remember the time when I was standing on my little stool mixing eggs for breakfast and I fell and the whole bowl came down with me.
I cried because thought my mom was going to be bad at me, but she came up to me all covered in eggs and said “No use crying over spilt eggs. ” My passion grew stronger when I was in charge of making dinner for my whole family of 6. I spent the whole day planning out what I wanted to make, I tried to remember how my mom would do it and what ingredients she would use to make it perfect. For my first big meal all on my own at the age of 13, I made meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.
I was so nervous I was shaking the whole time, but I just took a deep breath and imagined my mom cooking and it just came to me all of a sudden what I need to do. As I got into middle school was the popular kid at lunch time because I had the food the kids haven’t even heard of. At the age of the 13 I was getting food orders coming in from kids in my classes who wanted me to make them birthday cakes or even lunch for them for school. My mother was so proud of me she even asked to help me with all of my orders.
One year for my mother’s 35th birthday I made her a double chocolate 5 layer cake with her own recipes, but I added lemon and raspberries to spice it up a little. She tasted it and started to cry, I asked her what was wrong with the cake. “When a daughter can blow the mind of her mother it is a true sign that she taught her right,” she said with tears in her eyes. In that moment I knew that I found my calling in life. We shared a moment that day and I will never forget when she told me that she loved me and handed me a recipe book so old I thought it came from a museum.
That old recipe book was started by my great grandma Helen Ward in 1924, and then given to my grandma then my mother and on that day September 28th 2008 it was handed off to me. I spend many of days looking over that big old green book trying to perfect the recipes the women in my family wrote in there. Cooking the food my great grandmother made back in the 20’s and the 30’s made me feel like I was stepping back in time. Progressing toward high school I was known as “Chef Lauren” many of my teachers asked me for recipes because they saw me eating lunch and wondered what it was.
My culinary teacher at my High School asked me to leader the culinary team my senior year. I was most obliged to take up the challenge my first job was finding other members for the team. My adventures started with people 3 were seniors, 2 were juniors and the last one was a freshman. I gave them a recipe from my grandmother’s cookbook it was a stuffed pork chop with a cranberry glaze. I told them nothing about the recipe just gave it to them and said to bring it to me when they were done. I watched them cook; they ran around like chicken with their heads cut off.
But there was one the little freshman named Dave Green he was standing in his kitchen looking over the recipe and then all of a sudden I saw them stand firm on the ground and close his eyes and just breathed. All in that moment he had the leveled head that I wanted, plus his pork chop wasn’t that bad. The last and final member of the team was a friend of mine Chrissy Fancy, she added mint to the plate and I felt she had a good sense of creativity that we needed. Needless to say we went to state and won, we traveled to Jacksonville, FL for the Championship and we came in 3rd place from 20 other teams from all over the United States.
It was the highlight of my life cooking in front of people and making peoples taste buds explode with flavor and go on a journey with me that I have presented to them. I graduated high school in June 2010, and guess that made the cake for the graduating class, Lauren did! As I was packing up my thing to go Ohio when I found an old photo album my mother had made me it had pictures of us making food. I sat in my room and looked back at all fun times I had with my mother and all the food we cooked. I feel that I have grown so much just by a simple act of cooking.
My passion has turned in a way of life, when I cook I feel that it is not work it is a way to express myself. Just like an artist I feel a sense accomplishment when I create a dish. Even if I’m making Mac and cheese for my siblings or making a full course meal just seeing the joy and happiness I bring to people is enough to make me keep on going and creating more food. To Conclude My life is simple and easy the only hard part is finding a way to make people feel that way to by making them a meal that melts away their problems and fills it with something delicious. My passion is food. My life is cooking.