Sunday, January 9, 2011

Home Sweet Homer

'Home Sweet Homer' -- view of my backyard this morning

Homer Township, Michigan.  Ever heard of it?  Unless your last name is Cronkright, then probably not.  Homer Township is a teeny, tiny little area on the outskirts of Midland.  It's so small that it isn't even considered a city.  This is where I grew up and the day I was finally able to move away couldn't come soon enough.  I wanted heavy traffic, skyscrapers, and nights that never ended.  Little did I know 'Home Sweet Homer' wasn't so bad after all.

Today I stopped by my Grandma Cronkright's and we had shrimp cocktail for lunch.  She is extremely hard of hearing and I was trying to explain to her that I was heading to the church to help our Pastor make lasagnas.  After I was done explaining (more like yelling...), she said "Who's Theresa?!"  Theresa?  I had not once mentioned a Theresa to her.  Maybe lasagna sounds like Theresa; I'm not really sure.  It's kind of like talking to Aunt Bethany... for anyone who is familiar with Christmas Vacation.  

My Grandma and Grandpa Cronkright had 7 boys and somehow my Grandma managed to keep her sanity through the years.  Every night she was expected to have dinner on the table when my Grandpa C got home from work.  Roast beef, homemade bread, and chocolate cake were staples in the Cronkright household.  Leftovers were always packed in Pa's lunch pale for lunch the following day.  She once told me "You should always have dinner planned out by 11:00 in the morning."  Having a home-cooked dinner on the table was extremely important to her.  It didn't have to be anything fancy or gourmet; just simple, old school cooking.

After my lunch with my Grandma C, I got to thinking about plain old comfort foods.  I have been taught to focus on fine dining and perfectly presented dishes.  I have spent the past two years studying food in Traverse City and last summer in Aspen, Colorado.  Everytime I come home and cook for my family, they call me a 'food snob,' because I have introduced them to new ingredients and fancy plate presentation.  My younger brother, Larsen, won't even eat my food because it's "too fancy" for him. 

There must be something about comfort foods and home cooking that continues to bring us back.  If you think about it, is it possible to return home without a home cooked meal from mom?  Fine dining is definitely where I'm headed, but I will be sure to always remember my roots in Homer no matter where this road takes me.  If my Grandma can keep 7 boys satisfied and coming back for more, maybe 'Home Sweet Homer' isn't so bad after all...


  1. I think it is all about the origins or roots. From family to food, it all goes back to the basic fundementals. Your 'gourmet' style is the next generation. The trick is creating new while respecting the old. In people and food. In doing so, your roots and comforts are never lost. A touch of home in each experience and dish. Great work Kelsi! Very well done!

  2. I love this Kelsi!!!! Your writing is so easy to read and it make soooo much sense. Thank you for sharing this story and I second everything that Tod said- there is nothing like home sweet home- in my case TC!

  3. Kelsi, you really have a knack for this!! Hopefully,"Food Snob" is always used as a term of endearment!! You are just a doll and will serve as a liason for preserving the old and ushering in the new. There is a place in this world for both. Keep writing-and keep trying with Lars-he doesn't know what he's missing!