Now that the holidays have run their course, it’s a good time to reflect on the interactions and experiences you may’ve had, even if those were non-traditional or more solitary than usual.
Here at Bex, we take the slower season of the winter to regroup, refresh, and recalibrate, and we’ve been adding some cookbooks and food books to the shelves at the Bex Cafe. Recipes call to mind family or a way to bond between gastronomes. As we’ve said before, there’s nothing like finding old cookbooks and some of their dishes that are now dated and ultra-retro, if not downright strange. We found a humorous take on a cookbook in The Gallery of Regrettable Food, check it out here.
Family recipes are great because they provide a landmark for a family through time: not only do they give instructions for making a dish, but they reveal food tastes and culture through the recipe. Recipes also provide joy because a specific dish often recalls a specific person. One of the hidden gems in the arsenal of Bex is that Chef Becky can recreate your family recipes if you have something of nostalgic or sentimental value that is tricky to make.
Keeping Food Human
In a world of increasing food automation and orthodoxy, it is nice to know that chefs like Chef Becky still see the value in working with food directly and keeping the human in humanity. “Of course, [meal/dish] consistency over time is major in the culinary arts,” she explains, “but it’s great to know that there are unique, iconoclastic recipes out there, like for rattlesnake, or dirt-floor, mom & pop fruit and vegetable stands, like in the Carolinas, that provide straightforward, local ingredients. Sometimes you have to mass produce food for the masses, but, in general, the more focused the meal is for a group, event, or theme, the more it has that mysterious ingredient chefs and gastronomes often call ‘love’.”
In the old days, one of a family’s prized possessions was scrapbooks of family photos, which have since gone the way of the cloud and storage devices. But it’s nice sometimes to get retro and peruse an analog book of recipes. “If you’re kitchen-shy or new to the kitchen, recipes are a great way to learn basic skills,” Chef Becky enthusiastically says. “You can get familiar with ingredients, the math, and science of measurements, and by reading a recipe you’ve mentally gone through making the dish, which is like a positive visualization, and helps your mental game when cooking.”