I remember being in the kitchen a lot as a child. Sometimes my grandma’s kitchen, most the time at home. My mom and dad both cooked. My mom is a great cook…one of those people who doesn’t really have recipes, just knows how to add some of this, a little of that…that type of thing. My dad made stuff like hamburgers, macaroni & cheese, salmon patties and side dishes. He made the best Rice-A-Roni. Absolutely the BEST. He made other stuff too, I’m sure. I just can’t remember what.
Anyway, back to my story. I don’t remember anyone specifically teaching me to cook, I think I just picked up a lot of it by hanging out in the kitchen. I was interested. And I’m a pretty good cook now. My sister? Not so much. She still has a limited repertoire…and that’s ok. She has mad skills in areas that I could never compete with.
I do have one kitchen failure that will always follow me…until the day my mother dies. And my sister, but she can’t really make fun of me when it comes to the kitchen.
I was maybe 9? Anyone remember Fudge Jumbles? They were a box mix. You put the crust/dough ingredients together and pressed part of it in the pan, then layered on this packet of fudgey filling (or whatever flavor you bought, there was a variety) and sort of sprinkled/spread the rest of the doughy stuff on top. Bake and eat. Pretty easy.
So I really wanted to make some one day while my parents were watching TV. My mom told me to go ahead…just read the box. That’s exactly what I did. Until I had the ingredients in the bowl and came to the part where it said to “stir by hand”. hmmm. I asked my mom if I was really supposed to stir them by hand. She said that was right, so I went back to the kitchen. Read it again…but I wasn’t so sure that I really should stir by hand. Asked mom again. Same answer…stir by hand. Ok then. Shortly after (probably a commercial break) my mom came in to see how it was going, only to find me with that sticky dough almost up to my elbows! I was stirring by hand, and now most of it was smeared up my arms from trying to get it off me! Mom laughed and laughed and cried and laughed. She probably wet her pants a little too…but she’s never admit it.
I don’t remember how they turned out. I’m sure they were ok…just not the usual look. And to this day I always think twice when a recipe says to “stir by hand”!
Well, Grace now has her own kitchen story. One Saturday while Dan & I were scouting out rummage sales she called to see if she could make cookies. I told her to set the butter out to soften and she could make them later.
Sometimes it is so hard to wait. She and Stanley were so anxious to get that dough made that they went ahead and mixed up some chocolate chip cookie dough. Or at least they tried.
Grace added all the ingredients in the order they were listed on the bag…butter (not soft), flour, salt, baking soda, sugars, vanilla. You get the picture. Thankfully she didn’t put in the eggs or chocolate chips right away. Then her brother got down the mixer for her. Except it was the broken one from the back of a cabinet. We came home to find an interesting mix in that bowl.
Grace thought she was in trouble for sure. All I could think of was Fudge Jumbles. I laughed and shook my head.
Then I got the mixer that worked and we got those mixed up. By now the butter was soft and mixed much better. We added the eggs and chips and baked some cookies. They aren’t like any chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made, but that’s OK. With a glass of milk, does it really matter?
She had an important cooking lesson that day.
One she won’t forget until the day I die.