I've Served 41,913 Home Cooked Meals
I've been married to Roger for 42 years and from the first day we were home from our honeymoon I had my menu plans written out and I was cooking.
Growing up in East Pakistan, I watched our bengali cook, Barua, cook the meals. Every 4 years we would come back to the States for a furlough, and I'd watch my mom, in her element as queen of her own kitchen, cook for us. On Sunday's I'd watch my Ma-Ma cook. In my kitchen today, I have her wooden-handled 2-tine fork. I watched her poke and turn fried chicken, hush puppies and fresh-water trout in her cast-iron skillet. It still pokes and turns better than any other utensil in the drawer!
As our family began to grow from 1+1+more until there were 13 of us all around the family, I was still cooking. Going out to eat was a rare occasion. We weren't invited out to friend's homes to eat much either as most were not prepared to cook for a small army. And so our table was often filled to overflowing with friends gathered in my kitchen and dining at our table.I pulled out my calculator on my phone the other day. Counting the days, weeks, months and years that have gone 'round...I have cooked at least 41 thousand + meals at home! Now that all my children are grown, I'm adjusting very slowly to cooking for 2. It just doesn't seem quite right not to be cooking for a table full every day.
Back in 1996, we were a few years into our venture of opening a backyard bulk foods market. The phone would ring often ring around the time I was preparing our evening meal with customers questions. They were home cooking too. This was back in the day when the phone hung on the wall in the kitchen and if you were lucky enough to have a 12 foot cord you could still reach the stove and brown the hamburger while you held the phone between your shoulder and your ear.They had questions about cooking dried beans and how to make taco seasoning without using a packet from the store that has MSG. Could they use plain flour and just add baking powder if they didn't have any self-rising flour?
Soon I had the bright idea to begin printing recipes on cards as giveaways and adding them in front the products on our shelves to help give them ideas on how to fix this and that. Then I thought to self...if we are selling these foods in our little backyard market, why not sell cookbooks to teach them how I use these foods?
c.1995 Wooden shelves in our backyard country market. All the wood for the shelves was free. Roger and our boys took a dilapidated old farmhouse apart piece by piece and re-purposed the wood for our market shelves.
I began writing down our rotating menu plan and how I fed my family using whole foods and cooking and baking from scratch. That's how Martha's Family Cookery Book was born.
Today cookbooks are not in style as one can simply google for a recipe and have it pop-up on their ipad. This is a an old-fashioned cookbook, with paper pages, and a spiral binding, self-published and printed for those who want to look back and keep some things just they way they were.
I designed it, typed it, published and printed it all from scratch way back in 1999! Some things just never go out of style like delicious home cooked food.
- Martha Greene