I can't remember how we even got on the topic, but yesterday Kim Ode and I were discussing "Todays Generation" and how they are kinda doomed.
When I say doomed, it is pointed at culinary, nothing else.
But we were in agreement that many of our friends, loved ones and aqauintances under the ago of 40 have expressed despair over the fact that they just can't cook/bake as good as their Grandma could/does.
Oh....I remember now, Kim had just finished doing a video shoot for her newspapers baking feature (StarTribune - Baking Central).
Her and her editor (Lee Svitak Dean) had agreed to do dinner rolls. They felt that it would be a natural fit with Thanksgiving around the corner.
Then that's when I spouted off about how every year my Grandmother would bake fresh Parker House rolls.
So then Kim asks if anybody even bakes Parker House rolls anymore, Klecko reponded with....
"Does ANYBODY bake anymore.....period?"
Like 2 vultures on top of a trash heap, our beaks raised upward at the corners of our mouth.
But then we shared a moment of silence together. It doesn't happen often, and it certainly wasn't planned.
I just think that through coincidence, the 2 of us decided to reflect inwardly about our families past dining histories in unison.
As usual, when the silence finally broke....I was the culprit.....
"Ya know Kim, I've said it a million times over the years......I can outbake every professional baker on God's planet, but I have yet to find a grandma that can't man handle me in a kitchen."
My point wasn't that granny is actually better versed in the art of baking, but-but-but......perception is a funny word huh?
You ask people about the favorate dish/meals/dining experiences, and so often it revolves around their Grandmother.
Nobody can compete against memories.
But with that said, I must of had an epiphany or something, because as if out of nowhere.....empirical evidence fell into my lap.
It was as if 1000 kitchen observations crossed the finish line at the exact same time, and now I was going to report this cutting edge concept to my friend the reporter.........
"Lets think about this for a moment Kim. First off....and I'm not asking you to actually answer this, but how many time a year did you actually eat at your Grandparents house?
It seems so often that most of my memories revolve around holiday meals, and you know what? From the time I jumped out of the womb, until I went off to baking school the menu never changed. American grandmothers learned a system, and come hell or high water....they never strayed from it. And over the course of a year...well you had Christmas, New Years Eve, Easter and maybe-maybe a 4th of July.
Who knows what our Grandparents really ate the other 361 days out of the year?"
Kim starts to laugh, and adds to the convo.......
"Yeah, now that you mention it, America's tastes have really changed considerably over the last 25 years. Let me ask you Klecko...did your Grandma ever express a desire to stop on the way to the cabin and get some Thai food?
But even more than the food itself, I think todays young women are doing everything they can to reclaim elegance."
Reclaiming Elegance....sounds like a new Julia Roberts movie, but by this point Kim no longer cared about my thoughts on the topic...she was discovering her own.......
"Yes, I think you are going to, well...maybe you wouldn't understand this Klecko, but I think it has become important once again for younger women to have household items that their mothers generation decided to let jump out of the rotation"
I would have said "Items like what?" but I knew Kim had just stopped to take a breath......
"Butter dishes are becoming big again, I didn't think woman my daughters age even knew what they are, but it seems that their importance is being reclaimed.
Things like linens at the table, or even roll baskets....its all coming back, and I want to think that it has nothing to do with being a fad, but everything to do with reclaiming elegance!"
So once again, the silent glove stepped onto our phoneline and slapped us both....hard.
For whatever reason so many of us have the thought that our grandparents were so astute in the kitchen...and yeah, in some respects they were, but they simply didn't make more than a dozen different things.
But I think what Kim was saying was that what they did, they did it with swag. Maybe a swag that people just don't understand anymore.
Today with the internet, microwaves, Kitchen Aid Mixers and that dreaded Food Network it's easy to fall in love with "The Process" instead of the outcome.
Who knows? maybe there no longer are traditional standards people go by in the kitchen.
As the both of us rambled on, it never occured to either of us to determine if one generations approach was better than the others.....
Instead we just agreed how different they were.
But I guess the "Key Ingredient" in this recipe....or this Blog Post is....If you have a Grandmother that loves you, chances are - whatever she serves you will bring you the greatest ammount of joy.
And rightfully so.