BY PHILLIP MORGAN
It’s easy to make food that people like. Across Ellis County you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a gentle liking to staple southern dishes – chicken fried steak, brisket, baby back ribs, pecan pie, ‘nanner puddin – soft spots to the soul of many native Texans. Having been a member of the Lone Star state myself for nearly four decades, there’s a lot to like about our cuisine – from barbeque to Tex-Mex.
While I’ve hosted my share of get-togethers for family and friends alike, there is one fact that I do know – it’s easy to make food that people like, but takes creativity, patience and attention to detail to make food that people LOVE. Love is passion, love is commitment, love is choosing just the right flavor of meat rub for your Memom, love is putting the crispy ends on the chicken just for Uncle Jay, love is cutting the steak just right for your little girl. Love carries significant weight in this culinary relationship – so to make food that someone truly loves to eat, your heart has to be in it. That’s where the detail comes in. Preparing and cooking food worth ‘love’ is something I’ve been working at mastering since high school. Let me be the first to admit that it’s a labor of love – because if you don’t love experimentation, failure, and exploring new foods, you’re going to struggle with the patience it takes to master food that folks deeply and truly love.
As a school district administrator in Waxahachie ISD, I have to admit that I’m committed to being a lifelong learner, but also that I’m as vulnerable as anyone when it comes to my once-fragile ego regarding whether people like or love my cooking – especially when it comes to the smoked meats! However, the maturity that comes with loving what you do and loving who you cook for tends to expand your tolerance of criticism, and that growth brings you to a whole new level of understanding when it comes to cooking with love. They say, “the devil’s in the details”, but truth be told, the devil’s in trusting yourself at the stove or over the grill – the love is in the details of what you cook, the care in preparation, the attention in execution, and the heart that motivates you to break bread… and barbeque… with those you hold dear. Eat up – you know we will.