A few years ago I typed up a version of this and I share it every year on social media for International Women Day. This year I'm editing a bit and posting it on the blog.
There is no doubt in my mind that I would be no where near where I am in life and in reaching for my dreams if not for the strong women in my life.
Something I will never get used to, but have come to know as fact, is that female cooks and chefs in restaurant kitchens are treated vastly different by (some of) their male counterparts. Recently, I was looked upon and spoken to as if I were just the "lowly woman home cook" who had supper on the table by the time her husband came home from his day of work.
I wasn't completely offended; I've bitten my tongue at times, because I know that I am good and that I work harder than quite a few people I've worked with past, present and future.
But none of that is why I have never been offended by being compared to a "home cook"; it doesn't matter that restaurant chefs work in higher volumes, higher temperatures and higher frustrations than in a home. In my experience, the "home cooks" are the women who come home from their jobs to cook dinner while kids cry, fight and bicker around their feet and men vent about their day or watch TV at loud volumes.
They are the women who can provoke a memory of childhood with one bite of a salmon patty, one spoonful of chicken and dumplings, one square of chess cake, one chocolate oatmeal cookie and one tooth-achingly sweet (& after a few years just not that tasty) piece of Mississippi mud cake.
I am not offended when I am treated as a "home cook" because I learned to make gravy, fudge, biscuits and brownies from the strong, amazing women who raised me.
One of my earliest memories was being handing a binder filled with my grandmother's recipes; having been born after her death, this was all I had of her. The white binder is covered in splashes of sauce and stains and filled with recipe clippings and print outs, from it’s use in my kitchen over the years; I still use her recipes for guidance and inspiration every time I’m in the kitchen.
The women, these recipes and the skills learned along the way have gotten me where I am today. I've met idols and inspirations, worked in restaurant kitchens, learned new skills and techniques, started my own company and provide food and baked goods for busy families and over worked individuals.
I love you all, and miss those that have gone on before me. Thank you to the strong, incredible "home cooks", in my life. From the kitchen table to church potlucks, I've ate everything you've had to offer.