From baked beans to zucchini relish, stuffed quahogs and strawberry rhubarb pie, these are recipes from the kitchen of a Cape Cod family straight from my mother Val's handwritten file. Even if you just have a day, an afternoon or an hour, you will find pleasure and comfort in taking a step back to savor the smells, the sights and the tastes of a home cooked dinner, snack or dessert. Enjoy creating your own memories in the kitchen with simple recipes that please even picky eaters. Local, inexpensive and easy to find ingredients serve as the back bone to all of the recipes in this book while family anecdotes add rich flavor to them.
I grew up in a house of food snobbery, although I didn't know it at the time and it wasn't at all intentional on my mother's part. What is considered today a"foodie" diet-and part of the slow food movement-was a way of life, and in fact, survival for us back in the 70's and 80's at 540 Old meeting House Road in Hatchville, part of East Falmouth, MA. My mother, Val, still has her organic garden full of fresh fruits and vegetables and, although she doesn't grow as many varieties as in earlier years, she has an abundant crop. Creativity and a need to save money combined with a knack for learning the "old way" of doing things was the inspiration behind her cooking. Back in elementary school, I was jealous of the kids who ate bologna on Wonder Bread while I was "stuck" with homemade jam and peanut butter on freshlymade bread. Val was always trying new dishes to serve at dinner using what she had on hand. Pretty much everything I have learned about cooking and life I learned from her.
LESSONS FROM VAL'S KITCHEN Published March 10, 2009