One thing I have taken great pride in as a mother and former wife, was the ability to cook a decent meal. I learned from the best, and my mom learned from the best. I guess maybe you could say that I come from a long line of “bests”. Growing up my grandparents lived in a mobile home in our backyard. Now don’t even think for one moment that we were hillbilly people. The back yard had plenty of room and they put a nice sidewalk connecting our back door and their front patio and door. I can think of nothing nicer than growing up with my grandparents in my back yard. First off, they had air conditioning and she always kept an orange juice pitcher in the fridge with cold tap water. My goodness that water was so much better than the water that came out of the tap at our house. My grandpa was a quiet man, with a very dry sense of humor. He would come over to talk to my parents and then mumble all the way out the back door. According to stories passed down, he taught the parakeet to say “shut up El” (my grammys name was Elta). She was all of four-foot eleven inches, but had no problem getting her point across when needed. He used to tell her he hoped she got arthritis of the tongue. While this sounds cruel, it wasn’t when you knew his sense of humor. She’d just take the dish towel that was always on her shoulder and shoo him out of the room.
I first learned to cook standing in my grammys kitchen with her by my side. I can still remember the first time I made a white sauce, her hand on mine steering the spoon. She repeated over and over….do a figure eight, then go around the edges of the pan, do a figure eight, and then go around the edges of the pan, and repeat until it thickens. She was a wise woman, because it is amazing the things you can make with a basic white sauce. I think of her so often when I make the sauce for scalloped potatoes, creamed chipped beef or even creamed asparagus. Her home always smelled so wonderful, and you never knew what to expect when you walked in. Some days she would make home-made noodles and they would be drying all over that kitchen. She made the best rye bread that was sweet, and made in a pie plate. That recipe is nowhere to be found, and it is such a shame. Several years ago I bought these wonderful recipe books for each of my grown kids. I was going to put all of my favoite recipes in them and give them as a gift. Of course I have 1/3 of one done…maybe that needs to be my hobby this winter, so that another recipe won’t end up in heaven. Yep, thats the plan.