My passion for cooking was born sometime around the same time as my girls; I convinced myself that I needed to make all their baby food as a test of my ability to be an excellent mother, and so I bought Super Baby Food and went to work, with my shiny new wedding-present appliances and a lot of determination. I graduated to quick breads once they started eating more solid food, and then to chocolate chip cookies once they were big enough to put a chubby toddler hand under mine on the mixer as it twirled around my big steel bowl. Somewhere along the way, I slowly but surely figured out how to get dinner on the table every day, and baking became one of my favorite mother-daughter activities.
When I daydream, it’s often about taking a chocolate tour in Paris or cooking vacation in Italy, but more than taking one of those trips or mastering the perfect baguette, I want my girls to grow up feeling comfortable with food, both the preparation of it and their own relationships to it. I titled this post after one of the lines in Ratatouille, my favorite animated movie, because it is such a resonant idea for me. Cooking is so mundane and yet powerful at the same time; it can be part of daily sustenance, but it can transport us, communicate our love so clearly, and evoke a flood of memories with one spoonful. If nothing else, I want my girls to feel that power within their own hands, to know they can seize it with a pot, a fork, a handful of salt, a cup or two of water, and to experience the same awe and wonder I do when I reach into the oven and pull out possibilities.