• February 7, 2014

The Many Kitchen Endeavors

I could share how, at five years old, I made my first pot of coffee. I wanted to surprise my parents for breakfast – this was back when the dinosaurs still roamed (1970) and coffee was percolated proper, in a silver metal pot on the stove. I filled the vessel to half with coffee and half with water, set it to percolate, and promptly went outside to play. For a LONG time.

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I could share about the time my sister and I were making jello. It was her turn to boil the water and I was none too happy with her, younger sibling that she was… Just like I tricked her into kissing a frog to get her handsome prince; she believed the electric coil was cool because it was black. And, she touched it. BOY did my bottom hurt for a long, long time…

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The time I had to create AND execute a whole meal menu for Home Ec in seventh grade – EXTRA POINTS for dessert! Thank goodness my mom was a good sport and took us to DQ when my shoo-fly pie didn’t set. MORE is better, right? If molasses made the goo, well then, it made sense that more molasses would make BETTER goo…

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Then there was the time (same house as the shoo-fly house) when my sister and I were mad because we were left to clean ALL the nasty dishes from our parent’s dinner party, the night before. There was left over raw beef from the fondue (again, the ’70s…think ABBA, bell-bottoms and fondue). Our home was almost 200yrs old, with fourteen foot ceilings in the kitchen, and the sweetest, most perfect little alcove over the kitchen sink. PERFECT for “disposing” of rotting beef. By throwing it up to stick to the ceiling in the alcove. Gravity told the truth a day later and sent those now dried and SMELLY little bits back down. Right in front of our mom. Our friends nearly forgot who we were by the time our restriction was lifted.

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An other evening my parents were giving a dinner party (WE WEREN’T INVITED TO!!! ???) and our mom allowed us to have McDonalds. We NEVER got to have McDonalds. My mom was tense and flitting about, as she usually did before a big shindig, and had to tell us one too many times to settle down. Of course, my sister, the adorable blonde younger prankster chose that moment to begin whisper-singing this little ditty: “…my french fry died to-day…”…with fries up her nose as she chomped one at the end of each line. And WHO got in trouble for bursting out laughing and choked on soda that was streaming from my nostrils? ME.

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The first time I made dinner for my very southern father-in-law, who to this day, enjoys telling how, the second night he came for dinner again and my new husband’s dinner dishes were still where he left them the night before – while his new place setting was neatly waiting on the counter. No, I’m not a selfish beast. Really. I grew up in a home where everyone took their plates to the sink, and we (hubby and I) agreed we would emulate that going forward, as “practice”…for when our family came along. I should add; as part of the story, my father-in-law loves to make sure he gets to mention the distinction between “Southern” cornbread and “Northern” cornbread, as I later learned after serving him “sweetbread”…”like the Northerners” make”… (Test me now and I’m confident my cornbread can go up against any Southerner, proper! 😉 ).

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My first Thanksgiving as the hostess, in my first home – an 800sq.ft. duplex, when one of my favourite uncles from childhood was visiting. I had a full “house” in that 800sq.ft….and ran all eighteen of us out by burning the rolls.

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How every Christmas, my children and I make the same chocolate cake my great grandma made out on the prairie as settler and wife of a locator, in the 1800s. It is our Baby Jesus Birthday cake. Christmas Eve is given over to 10:30pm service followed by “LOOK! Santa came while we were gone!” (my kids are now 18, 15, & 14), noshing until the wee hours, and bed by 4am. Christmas Day we enjoy each other’s company and revel in our reason for the season: Baby Jesus and His birthday. The cake is decorated very simply, with powdered sugar in the shape of a cross, made from a template one of my kids make each year.

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I could try to slay you with my latest mishap: Sunday dinner three weeks ago. Brand new wok, properly seasoned per manufacturer’s instructions, first-time house guest (nephew’s new girlfriend), and plastic. I made my beef strognoff in my usual pan but, it quickly outgrew the pan when my nephew called to say he and his new girlfriend were almost there. Accustomed to changing speeds according to the head count in my house, I moved the dish to my brand new wok, to finish it off. We were about half way through dinner when my son pulled a piece of plastic from his mouth, just as I put my next bite in. I next pulled plastic from my mouth and made everyone stop eating. Of course, my college-aged nephew, typical to a student with little to no money (translate: groceries), never lost stride and finished his plate with a shrug, assuring me, “…this too shall pass…”. At which point the table erupted in laughter. Aside from being worried one of might be ill from ingesting plastic, I was MORTIFIED, the guest in my home had the experience she did! Thankfully, she’s of good stock and was here last weekend for a do-over. NOT strognoff, we made ziti instead…

And to think, I’m still allowed in the kitchen… 🙂


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