“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at ones most solitary, a cook in
the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and
menus of cooks present, and the wisdom of cookbook writers.”
My dad just got home from Newport and brought me a little tin box full of family recipes. They’re all written out by hand and spattered with pasta water and melted chocolate. Although I have never met any of the women behind these recipes, each one gives me a glimpse into the lives they led.
I know that Ms. E. M. Langley felt very strongly about adding extra cheddar to her stuffed peppers, and that Mrs. Pierce liked to dip her doughnuts not once, but three times in powdered sugar. Even though I don’t even know their first names, I think Ms. Langley, Mrs. Pierce are pretty cool, and I think we would all be very good friends. (I don’t joke around when it comes to powdered sugar)
This got me thinking — what recipes define my immediate family?
We don’t have many heirloom recipes. I don’t have a Greek grandmother who taught me how to roll a phyllo dough. I don’t come from a long line of bread-makers. We don’t even have a family recipe for lasagna.
Then realized that there are so many tastes that remind me of my family.
This rosemary chicken is one of them. It’s a recipe that’s always been there. It was simmering in the background when I learned how to ride a bike, when I broke my arm, when I thought bangs would be a good idea, when I went on my first date and when I got my first cavity. It will still be simmering on the back burner when I learn to drive, when I go off to college, and when I get my first job. It’s that good.
It’s a simple recipe — chicken breasts covered in a luscious rosemary cream sauce that fill the entire house with the warm, comforting smell of rosemary and caramelized onions.
Someday, I want to be the lady behind a family recipe. I’ll always add extra cheddar, and hopefully an aspiring cook someday will look at my recipes and think that I sounded like a pretty cool lady.
Do you have any family recipes?
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chopped garlic clove
1 chopped onion
4 pieces of boneless chicken breast
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 pint heavy cream
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large skillet, saute the garlic and onions in olive oil.
Add chicken and brown.
Place browned chicken in a baking dish, leaving the browned onions and garlic in the pan.
Add cream to the skillet and mix with the onions and garlic. Add the cider vinegar.
Cook over medium heat, scraping up the brown bits, onions, and garlic from the pan. Add chopped rosemary. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce to about half.
Pour sauce over chicken in baking dish.
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.
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