11 Ways cooking brings the family together

11 Ways cooking brings the family together

We all love food, so why not share it?
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Cooking occurs in the kitchens of almost every household across the world. It’s the expression of an imaginative mind, hungry belly, and love for creating delicious food. Sharing the experience with your family can be a fun way to create lasting bonds and memories.

Here are just a few ways in which cooking brings a family closer.

1. Memories

Some of the best memories may be those of a family member creating one of their favorite dishes. My grandfather and I used to soak tomatoes in oil and spices hours before a meal so that they could have time to sit. When you have a family who loves to cook, the memories created while preparing a meal are often cherished for a lifetime.

2. Lessons

The passing from generation to generation of “secret ingredients” and tricks of the trade. Whether it’s a special way to make sure your pie crust doesn’t stick to the pan, or being able to recognize when an egg white is whipped to perfection, it’s all done through the teachings of family members.

3. Healthy competition

Whether it’s a holiday meal or a simple family dinner, a little battle of the wooden spoons is a great way to add some spice to the action. My dish usually wins…

4. Providing for your loved ones

Being able to cook a meal for the people you care for is a rewarding experience that brings everyone closer together.

5. Bonds created while working in the kitchen

The ties with your family grow stronger as you work together to prepare a meal, even though it may get a bit tight when everyone has to use the same cutting board at once.

6. Passing on the lessons that you’ve learned

One day, the lessons in which you were taught are once again ready to be passed on to another generation. Passing your skills onto children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews are key to keeping tradition.

7. Sharing

Whether it’s handing out jams and Jellies made fresh in your kitchen, or using your household as professional taste testers, you can always count on someone to try out your new creation.

8. Reminiscing

Creating your favorite dishes can bring back old memories of meal time conversations, loved ones, or a “taste of childhood” we all know and love.

9. Tradition

Keeping up with tradition can be a fun aspect of any meal time or preparation. Games, cooking roles, and special dates are just a few ways of maintaining those special memories.

10. Holidays

Celebrating holidays with family wouldn’t be the same without food. Lots and lots of food. Turkey, Christmas cookies, pasta, casseroles. You name it.

11. Spreading the love.

The best part after any cooking session, is being able to sit down with your loved ones to enjoy it.

Cover Image Credit: Personal photo

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I'm The Customer That Doesn't Always Tip 20 Percent

I can be your best friend or your worst nightmare, but it depends on YOU.
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As a server, I fully understand that myself, and others like me, make a living off of our tips.

I know how nice it is to get a $50 tip and how frustrating it is to get merely change when you did everything you could to make the unpleasable table happy. I am well aware that an acceptable tip is anywhere from 15-20% and I typically tip way over that.
However, I can easily say that there have been times where I have tipped anywhere from 5-15%. In these times, the tip was well deserved...or not deserved.

As before mentioned, I am a server, bartender, and part-time restaurant manager. It is safe to say that I know the business quite well. This makes me aware of the tipping process and what is deemed acceptable, but it also makes me aware of what a serving job entails. We are, without a doubt, the worst critics when we are out to eat. We noticed everything you did or didn't do and we timed how long it took to get our drinks -- it's just in our blood.

We also notice if you are genuinely good at your job, or if you are just there to be there.

The key point to any serving job is knowledge. I, as a customer, expect you to be able to answer almost all of my questions. If I ask you something absurd like "exactly where was your lettuce grown?" ....Like what the f****? Who knows that? But when I ask what beers you have on draft, or what all comes on a salad, I expect you to know it. If you don't, I dock it off your tip. No, it's not mean, it's you not holding up your end of the deal when you started this job.

I know that sometimes you get busy and it's hard to cater to someone's every need, but I do expect my refills in a timely manner and would also expect you to check back with me shortly after I get my food to make sure everything tastes good. I feel like that all is just common sense. If I have to wait for five minutes with an empty glass before I even have the chance to call you over, that's going to affect your tip. If you never check up on me after I get my food, guess what, I take it off your tip. If something goes wrong in the kitchen or you forgot to put my order in, do not avoid me. Tell me. I know how hard it is to tell a table that you are the one who screwed up their experience, but it is so much better to be honest and shows more about your integrity than by saying, "I don't know, the kitchen lost your ticket. There was a computer malfunction and then things caught fire. The firemen had to come and put it out, and then they found your ticket under the smoldering embers...so that's why your steak is five minutes late.".... Just tell me you got busy and it slipped your mind. I'm okay with that.

The worst one to me is when I see my server on her phone. I know that today's generation has some need to be in contact with everyone 24/7 and I have learned to accept that. But when I need something at my table, and you fail to notice because your girl friend just broke up with her boyfriend who cheated on her with his supposed best friend...I'm not going to be happy. You are here to work and this is your job. And, not to be conceded, but I come first. I am the one paying the bill that allows you to keep that phone your on in service, so make sure that I am happy before Samantha can't call you the next time shit hits the fan with Andrew. It's common sense.

Despite all of these, probably the number one thing I look for in a server is a positive attitude. We all have our own lives outside of work, and not to be cold, but I don't really care about yours. I am here for a nice dinner and a night out to not worry about my own crazy life let alone wonder about yours. As soon as you walk into work, the outside world needs to stay there. Do not be in a terrible mood because your girlfriend is psycho. Do not show the customer that you simply don't want to be at work. You don't want to be -- I don't tip you. Easy as that. If you engage in even a small conversation with me, I will tip you more than expected. I am extremely easy to please and really understanding.

I know that every place is different and every store/restaurant has different standards, but I the guest-service industry all lies on the same guidelines. The number one rule is to make the guest happy. I am not that guest who asks for the world from my server. Nor am I that guest who doesn't tip my server if my food came out overcooked or doesn't taste good. I know what lies on the server and what lies in other areas of the store. I know what they can and can't control.
As a customer, I can be your best or your worst, but that all lies on the service that I receive from YOU.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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Pho Fixes Everything

A bowl a pho keeps everything bad away.

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Pho might just be the best thing my taste buds have ever endured. If you haven't had pho, you're missing out. It's a Vietnamese soup, but it's not just any soup; it's the soup to my heart.

And no, this is not like ramen. It makes ramen look like random noodles in a bowl of water….yeah I know that's basically what it is, but you get the point.

Pho helps with everything. Having a bad day? Pho. Want to have 2 meals, one here and one to go? Pho. Bad break up? Pho. Need some emotional support? PHO IT UP.

Best part, there are so many options for pho. If you're vegetarian, no worries, there's pho for you. If you don't like spice, no worries! There's pho for you! If you love different kinds of meats… THERE'S PHO FOR YOU.

Please, everyone, just go get a bowl of pho and be happy. Doesn't matter if it's 100 degrees out or -13, pho is still amazing. You won't regret it.

Not going to lie, I'm craving it just from typing this.

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