Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Story #11 My first attempts at cooking

I am in a bad luck cycle right now. My laptop is still being repaired (I can pick it up later today....for $150.00), I threw my back out at work yesterday - but have no one to cover for me - spotting gymnastics when you can't even put on your own shoes will be interesting, Kristen may have a broken arm, Bob is still sick and I STILL DON'T HAVE MY CAR BACK!!!! Okay, done whining.

When I was around 7 or 8 my Mom decided that she needed more help from us kids. Who can blame her, she was a full-time working single Mom. I think she thought it would also teach us some necessary life skills. Her idea was that each child would have one night for cooking dinner. I was very excited. My mom had this big, yellow box full of recipes. Each month a few more came in the mail. They had a picture of the finished dish on the front and the recipe on the back. I loved looking through that box!

After my Mom finished her inspirational speech of how these cooking nights will be great for the whole family, I was elated! I happily signed up for the first turn and grabbed the big yellow box. I don't remember the exact menu, but I do know that there were many courses and the first course was some kind of fruit or prune soup. Mmmmm. I lost Marc and Lisa at that point. There was no way they were going to eat soup made out of fruit with prunes floating on top....even though I had placed a generous dollop of cool-whip on top. (Insert sarcastic yum here.) I'm pretty sure that the ingredients for the meal cost more than we usually spent for 5 meals, and I am positive that this was one of those great parental sacrifice moments, as my Mom managed to swallow something from every course.

With one elaborate meal I managed to both start and end my Mom's shared cooking nights - so really I think that Marc and Lisa should have thanked me. After that I settled down I learned some basic baking. I recall Marc and I making popcorn over the stove and forgetting to put the lid on the pot....popcorn everywhere....I also remember trying to concoct some sort of fabulous drink out of the 4000 bottles of condiments in our fridge. (There may have been vomiting afterwards.) But I knew one thing for sure, I wanted to be a good cook.

Ironically, one of the best cooks I know was Joanie. It is ironic because when I was young and she tended me, all I ever wanted to eat at her house was (brace yourself....it was her son's idea) noodles with ketchup and cottage cheese. What would you call that? Poor man's lasagna? I don't know, but we LOVED it!

I got married right as Martha Stewart's popularity was on the rise.....grey prison shawls not even a thought at that point...and I wanted to cook as well as she did. After I had Nicole and was no longer working, I would spend 2 to 3 hours preparing dinner - even though Bob and I were the only ones to enjoy it. Even when Nicole was old enough she was frequently not interested in what I was making.

But now as a working Mom I seem to have lost some of my cooking momentum, and unfortunately hit Subway for dinner on a fairly regular basis. Someone pointed out that almost all of my cookbooks say "quick" or "15 minutes" or "fast and easy." So, I hope Bob has a few memories of those three hour meals....and I will have to send my mom a thank you for eating the prune soup.


Jill said...

Oh dear, Kristen's arm may be broken?!

The thought of your first meal is oh so gross and funny. I can just imagine your mom "happily" eating it and praising your efforts.

Oh how I loved the early years of Martha's popularity!

michelle said...

How funny to think of you putting a quick stop to the kids' cooking nights! And how funny to think of you not wanting to eat Joanie's cooking...

You are a very good cook, you're just a busy working mom as well.