One time a woman I admire (I’ll call her Emily) told me a beautiful story about hospitality and cooking. “It was 70 years ago,” she said, “and I was to meet my fiance’s parents for the first time. My future parents-in-law! The only problem was, they dropped by unexpectedly. There was nothing in the house to feed them! No cookies, no pie, nothing. If I would have known, I would have put out a whole spread for them, but I was completely unprepared.”
“What did you do?” I asked, feeling the embarrassment she must have felt on that day.
“Well, I was quick on my feet! I smiled and said ‘it’s 2:00!’ Time for tea and toast!’ and I made some toast and served it with jam, and I fixed some tea. And let me tell you, I think I made an excellent impression.”
I love Emily’s story, because it is a story about keeping one’s cool under stress of “entertaining.” It is a story about confidence. Most of all, it is a story about making simple things beautiful.
This blog is inspired by the idea that simple things are beautiful when they are prepared and received with great love. I often lack confidence in cooking, and I have often lost my cool under the stress of entertaining. Because of this, I longed to create a space where I could begin to show, first to myself, and ultimately to all of you, that good cooking and good entertaining follow the principles of Emily’s tea and toast story: smile, keep your cool, keep it simple.
Mrs. Smith Cooks is a real-time journal of my ascent to culinary greatness, and it is my great hope that these techniques and recipes will help others who long to consider themselves cooks, too.
Special thanks to my husband, Mr. Cabarcas, for giving me endless encouragement to learn to cook and to start this blog. He has never said a single negative word about anything I have ever cooked, and that has made all the difference.