Stream of consciousness Saturday #SoCS : When cooking was at its edible

To participate, visit Linda’s blog.  “Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “cook.” Find a word that means “cook,” (or use “cook” itself) and use it any way you’d like. Have fun!”



As a child,  I lived in the shadow of my big sister.  Most siblings fight.  My sister wished we’d fight and felt uncomfortable that her little sister looked at her as if she were some sort of god.  

Our mom made all of our clothing with her “portable” Singer sewing machine.  I remember holding the mini metal monstrosity in it’s thick case.  If you had two of those on each hand, you’d have a weight lifting program.

When you’re young and have no other comparisons, you don’t know that cookies aren’t supposed to be made with bacon grease or steak isn’t supposed to have the consistency of shoe leather.  Nor are you aware that spaghetti is supposed to be rinsed after cooking before you pour a sauce over it, or that the sauce isn’t supposed to be a can of whole tomatoes.

Welcome to Mother Al’s school of cooking.

My mother’s nickname, Al, stood for Alberta.  Her mother (Georgia) was a cook for a boarding house at the age of 16.  In fact, my grandfather (Albert) asked her to marry him simply because he loved her cooking so much.  Just goes to show you that cooking skills are not genetically determined, or maybe the cooking gene skipped over my mother.  She inherited the artist gene instead.  I’ve never known anyone who could make clothing so beautiful out of remnants.

As for her steaks, they can be characterized as dry, tough and chewy.  Perfect dog treats.  She once told us that it was the only way our dad would eat it (as if we believed that was the only reason for her lack of cooking finesse).  When did we start to learn that spaghetti was actually supposed to have flavor?  We went out to eat at a local cafeteria once a month after church.  I learned that chicken could be soft, spaghetti flavors could burst in your mouth, and how well Parmesan cheese covered up a lot of culinary sins.

She did have her sparkling moments in the kitchen.  We used to have duck for Christmas with oyster dressing.  I still have warm memories of those days when her cooking was at its edible.  

Along the way of life, I learned to cook an edible meal, but I’ll never be a chef.  And it’s for the same reason my mother never cared to make 2-layer cakes with fancy icing:  Neither of us particularly like to cook, except for holidays.  I love making the turkey and dressing, pumpkin and sweet potato pie. That’s because it’s a labor of love, not a day in and day out drudgery.

So then, how do I cook these days?  I’ll make up a large pot of chicken and rice,or stew, or tuna casserole, eggplant parmesan, potato soup, etc. I freeze most of it in small containers and put the rest in the fridge, which I eat over the period of a week.

Yes, I used to look at my sister as a god.  Over the years, I have transferred that status to my microwave.