I have great memories of cooking with my aunts and cousins and family. During the holidays we would come together and make tamales(which is a long process). If you are unfamiliar with these delicacies you can find out about them here.
What is interesting is that I really don’t remember eating the tamales as much as I remember the laughter and closeness with my family. We would sit around the table (all 15 of us) and talk about our what crazy things our family members were up to. The kitchens were often very small but it helped us get very close as we passed the ingredients. We would sit close to our aunts who were showing us how this traditional meal was prepared and they had learned it all from their aunts and mothers in the very same way. That feeling of being a part of a family and joining together to make something to enjoy has stayed with me to this very day. I want that for my family.
although we seldom make tamales ( it is my goal this Christmas to make them again) we do gather in the kitchen and make something together. Be it homemade cookies, muffins or an apple pie the outcome is the same. Being together and laughing while creating something good. The laughter comes and the closeness is felt as we pass the sugar or get the muffin tins ready for the batter. Sometimes it is just a slice and bake cookie event but we are still all in the kitchen together watching the cookies bake through the oven window or dancing around waiting to devour them. The Rodriguez family in my hometown still gather together often to cook and eat. They are a very close-knit group and I believe it is because they routinely participate in this activity.
I encourage you all to spend some time this weekend in the kitchen making a dish or a desert with your family. If schedules are crazy then a few of you or just two of you can gather and enjoy the process.
Here is my recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/3 cup oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt ,
add after all mixed- 1/2 cup choc. chips( I use mini chips).
Sometimes I will add a tbsp of sour cream, if I have it on hand. Just makes it taste yummy.
Heat oven 350 and grease muffin cups. Mix 1st 5 ingredients together and whisk, then mix dry ingredients and then add flour to pumpkin mix and stir. Add chocolate chips. Bake until golden, about 25 min.