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The Joys Of Cooking: What I Learned in My Mother’s Kitchen

The Joys Of Cooking: What I Learned in My Mother’s Kitchen

I’m grateful to my mother for so many things. She taught me how to do laundry and showed me how to coupon. Most importantly, she let me experiment in the kitchen. My mother regularly cooked for our family while I was growing up. She was a master of quick dinners and improvised casseroles. Her uncanny ability to combine raw ingredients to create a flavorful meal is one I’m glad I’ve inherited. When I think about what I learned in my mother’s kitchen, I realize she taught me more than how to follow a recipe. She taught me how to find joy.

Text by Annika Bastian

Learning Means Making Mistakes

During summer breaks in high school, I developed a love for food-themed television. Soon, I couldn’t stop flipping through food magazines and fancy cookbooks. I started cooking with several disastrous attempts at desserts. Early adventures included cookies that were hard little rocks, pecan pie with salt instead of sugar, and pudding congealed so thickly it was nearly inedible.

Girl holds tray of burned cookies.

Practice Makes (Almost) Perfect

Thankfully, even after these less-than-successful attempts, my mother still let me back in the kitchen. She gave me pointers on where I went wrong and tips on how to improve. After mastering the art of boiling pasta and making béchamel sauce, I felt invincible. Thanks to her guiding hand, I now feel comfortable handling fresh vegetables and raw meat. And I even know how to make cookies that actually look like cookies, not rocks.

Mother teaches daughters to cook.

How to Help Newcomers Learn and Love to Cook

If you’re an experienced home cook, I hope you’ll pass on your love of cooking. I encourage you to give new cooks the same freedom my mother gave me. Let newcomers experience the basic cooking techniques offered in many simple dishes. You can even buy a pre-prepared main dish and teach them how to make simple sides. New cooks can sharpen their skills by making roasted broccoli, glazed carrots, or mashed potatoes. If they manage nothing but making a mess of the kitchen, offer up encouragement and a dish rag. They’ll figure it out soon, and, with your help, they’ll learn that cooking really can be a joy.

When it comes to cooking, everyone starts out not knowing what they’re doing, but somehow we figure it out along the way. With lots of tasty ups and bitter downs, every dish shows a beginner how to better their techniques.

Text By Annika Bastian

What Every Picnic Basket Needs

What Every Picnic Basket Needs

Spring has sprung and we’re enjoying warm weather and vibrant greenery all over Birmingham. Why not celebrate with a picnic? Kids and pets alike will love the freedom to run and play, while adults can catch up on sunshine and their friends’ lives. In honor of National Picnic Day, here are Market Table‘s picks for what every picnic basket needs.

Text By Annika Bastian

Large group of friends with food.

The Food

The kind of food you pack in your basket depends upon the time of your picnic outing. Is it a brunch picnic? (Yes, those exist, and they are just as awesome as they sound.) Is it a lunch picnic? An afternoon snack picnic? Picnics early in the day can feature inventive brunch options, like our scrumptious Spinach, Artichoke and Goat Cheese Frittata or an eggs-cellent sandwich tray.

If your outing falls around lunch, provide hearty deli style options, like White BBQ Chicken or Beef Brisket Sliders. Or, if you’re serving guests with wildly different tastes, check out our Light Lunchboxes. From Cilantro Lime Chicken to our Zesty Quinoa Salad, you’re sure to find healthy options to keep your whole picnic party happy.

And if you’re picnicking between meals, go for fun snack options — both sweet and savory. For larger picnics, invite everyone to bring one of their favorite snacks to make a potluck fun-in-the-sun picnic at the park.

Water bottles in cooler.

The Accessories

There are a few things every picnic basket needs, but they may not be the first things on your mind. First, don’t forget to bring trash bags. You’ll want the leave the beautiful outdoor space that hosts your picnic as pristine as you found it. Next, make sure to include insulated water bottles among your drink selections. When it comes to hydration, there’s nothing like a cool bottle of water. Lastly, paper towels will come in handy to both hold food and to clean sticky fingers.

hands holding popsicles over picnic blanket.

The Desserts

The perfect way to end your sweet day? With something sweet, of course! Dessert is a delicious must at any spring picnic. Often, you’ll find Farmer’s Markets with fresh food and tasty treats to bring a picnic from good to great. So make sure to pick up easy-to-eat desserts for a sweet finish to your fabulous outing. Market Table‘s Cookie and Marble Brownie Trays are picnic-basket-ready perfection!

Partner Profiles: Creekstone Farms

Partner Profiles: Creekstone Farms

Founded in 1995, Creekstone Farms has produced high-quality USDA certified beef and pork for nearly twenty five years. Located in Arkansas City, Kansas, Creekstone Farms is one of America’s most committed providers of high quality meat. Market Table proudly sources our premium steaks from Creekstone Farms and their grain-fed cattle.

Text by Annika Bastian

What Makes Creekstone Farms Different?

Creekstone Farms is one of only a few USDA certified programs. They source their meat from single family farms. Then, they undergo rigorous USDA inspections to ensure both cattle and consumer are safe, sound and satisfied.

In addition to the USDA’s safety policies, Creekstone Farms looks to specialized independent programs to test the feed they give their cattle. This allows their cows to live antibiotic-free and hormone-free. These extra steps are part of their commitment to excellence.

Tagged black angus cow lying down.

Creekstone Farms Owns Their Entire Operation

Creekstone Farms manages the cattle they procure. They also process their cattle at their own plant, designed by animal science expert Temple Grandin. By owning their own facilities, Creekstone Farms manages every aspect of their operation. From start to finish, their beef is just the way they like it: perfect.

This freedom allowed Creekstone Farms to become Certified Humane® in 2016. Humane Farm Animal Care certified Creekstone Farms because of the great care they give their animals. They provide their cattle with plenty of room to express natural behaviors and graze green pastures.

Farmer pets angus steer.

They Care About Their Cattle and Their Customer

Creekstone Farms’ non-GMO beef provides an ethical animal protein option for our kitchen and your table. We are proud to partner with Creekstone Farms, who source their non-GMO beef from a single-family farm. They raise their cattle on grains and foraging, free of all genetic modifications.

The cows’ grass-fed and grain-finished diet results in healthier cows and leaner meat. Also, Creekstone Farms works hard to lower their carbon footprint and maintain more sustainable farming practices. Creekstone Farms’ approach to grain-fed, non-GMO beef betters the industry, and we’re proud to provide their better beef to our customers.