Cooking From Memory ~ A Recipe Journal

A Welcome to “Cooking From Memory” – A Recipe Journal by Paul Gauche

Food FaceThanks to you all for such a great response to this collection of favorites from my kitchen. It’s great to finally not only see many of the recipes that I’ve grown up with and prepared for my family through the years, but also to share them with you in living color. It’s gratifying to have had at least a few say they want to cook their way through these recipes. Just recently, someone mentioned in an e-mail, “I’m not working today…looks like I’m cooking!” That’s awesome… cook away! There’s nothing like kitchen counter tops laden with fresh ingredients while pots simmer on the stove filling the whole house with the aromas of good things to come. So, let’s get cooking!

As I look through the collection of these recipes that have been a part of my life and the kitchen’s I’ve been in, I realize that many of them may need some updating. That’s where you come in. I’d love to have you cook through the recipes that attract and intrigue you and then have you leave your comments at the bottom of the pages where the recipes occur. That will allow me to share your creativity and make a great thing even better.

You may encounter some errors along the way. If that should be the case, I’d like to hear from you. There’s nothing worse than finding out after you’ve been to the store and returned home with all of your treasures, done all of the chopping, mixing, measuring and stirring…and finally tasting, that it was supposed to be a teaspoon and not a Tablespoon. So if you run into something that just isn’t right, please let me know. Years ago when I was cooking at Holden Village, a good friend and kitchen mentor was quick to remind me that food is very forgiving. Except for baking, that is mostly true. Preparing food can be a rather inexact science. I prefer to think of it more as art.

So on your way, then.  Get crackin’! Get cooking. Turn the heat up! Let’s go! And whatever you do, have fun! It’s great to be in the kitchen with you!

Stirrin; it up!


Salmon, Sprouts, Carrots and Radishes 

I’ve been in the kitchen for as long as I can remember.  The gifts of family and friends together with memories of food and places I’ve eaten with family and friends have always fueled a fire in me that have blessed me all of my life.  Some of my best memories have something to do with the kitchen; the aromas, the noise, the learning, the fun, the humor, the synergy, the creativity, the mistakes, the successes all add up to passion for me.  The kitchen for me has always been a creative, intense, warm and inviting place that brings people together to celebrate.

I’ve always cooked from memory—not just in the sense of ‘making something up without a cookbook or recipe card’ while standing in front of the cupboard and refrigerator assessing a collection of random ingredients and thinking: “Okay, dinner in an hour—I can do this!”  More than that, the kitchen has always stirred up great memories and inspired me to share that with others who share this sacred space with me. 

I have so many memories of standing at the sink with my mother, Joyce.  The most poignant among them is Thanksgiving Eve in the kitchen with ‘turkey parts’ laying all over the countertops.  I experienced more biology tutorials and sex education along with spelling lessons and nutrition insights than I ever bargained for from Joyce Elaine, a woman—a lady who knew everything there was to know about cooking.  And if she didn’t, she faked it well.

I have fragrant memories of Christmas Day dinners of ham with homemade raisin sauce, sweet potatoes, green beans with slivered almonds, soft, redolent dinner rolls, relishes of all colors and shapes.  There were also linen tablecloths, napkins with their own engraved napkin rings—reserved for just the most significant family feast days: Thanksgiving and Christmas and then again on Easter.  We used polished silverware, drank from crystal stemware, candles in festive holders…it was amazing.

My passion for cooking was further inspired when I cooked at Holden Village.  What a remarkable time that was!  It was at Holden Village that I learned, to a large extent, that cooking is really very forgiving.  You’ll want to read my story in this book entitled “86” for more on that.  There can appear to be a great deal of science and detail mixed into the art of combining edible ingredients and heat—and indeed there is!  But in the end (perhaps with the exception of baking), it’s all rather forgiving.  Ultimately, this serves as a great reminder that the kitchen is sacred space where forgiveness takes place.  Healing happens around the table. 

From the Holden Village Kitchen, I went to Pablo’s Especial, a Spanish restaurant at the foot of Queen Anne Hill in Seattle.  The style of food at Pablo’s was what the owner called “Sonoran” named for the area in Mexico whose shores are washed by the Sea of Cortez in the Gulf of California which is connected to the Pacific Ocean further south.  The food we served at Pablo’s creatively combined seafood and what we would call traditional Mexican.  Among the favorites at Pablo’s were crab enchiladas and seafood burritos.  I learned to make a lot of spicy, tasty things with scallops, shrimp, crab legs and Spanish rice.  My favorite, the ‘Fruitas del Mar’ was a pineapple sliced lengthwise, leaves oiled to bring out their brilliant green.  A bowl was created by removing some of the pineapple and then filled with Spanish rice, then topped with sautéed scallops. Freshly steamed Dungeness crab legs were placed lengthwise along the top of the pineapple and then the sautéed shrimp was ‘hooked’ over the crab legs.  The whole piece of art was then quick steamed and presented at the table much to the amazement of—well, just about everyone. 

But I digress.

But it was in our own home where the kitchen became an extension of imagination if not playground.  I’ll never forget one particular Monday, many years ago, when, on a day off, flour was sent flying all over the kitchen.  We were baking cookies or bread—something with a lot of flour.  And there was this remarkable moment of “Woops, I guess we’re making a mess … (pause) Oh, well!”  And we just went nuts with flour flying everywhere!  Even the process of vacuuming up the piles of flour and the wiping down the cupboards was filled with excitement.  What fun! 

Through the years, there have been celebrations of all kinds that have brought us into the kitchen and to the table together.  We’ve added to birthdays, anniversaries, confirmations, graduations—even engagements and all manner of special events the intense aromas, flavors and presentations of cedar-planked salmon and marinated flank steak, quiche and tenderloins, salads and soups, stews and cheesecake!  We’ve enjoyed a great deal of food and fun together. 

What a gift!

So here is a collection of recipes to inspire and light your passion for what goes on in your kitchen and around your table.

4 Responses to 'A Welcome to “Cooking From Memory” – A Recipe Journal by Paul Gauche'

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  1. Alan said,

    Smashing. Way to go. I’ll send it on to my wife. She’ll love it.

  2. […] and Nancy Gauche .  You need to check out Paul’s AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS food blog called     Cooking from Memory   You will love each and every recipe and blog post he has put together.  He is quite the comedian […]

  3. Lori Jo Markman said,

    Greetings Pastor Paul…I was led to your wonderful cooking journal while perusing Facebook this morning during my breakfast. Thank you for this journal…I love cooking delicious healthy recipes, I look forward to trying the tomato basil soup which we love with grilled cheese sandwiches, a perfect combination. We enjoyed seeing Nancy Lee again at Luther last winter with our daughter Maria. Looking forward to seeing you next winter if not before at the Shaft wedding. Keep warm and keep on cooking. Blessings. With fond memories of our early days with you at OSL…<3 the Markman family

    • Paul Gauche said,

      Hey Lori Jo! Thanks for connecting here! What fun! Enjoy the journal… I update it fairly regularly. There’s a lot there and it’s all pretty good stuff! I’ll look forward to seeing you soon! Say hello to Todd for me!

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