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Slice of Life Sunday – In the Beginning…my first cooking experience.

May 11, 2008

 

 

Slice of Life Sunday is a meme dedicated to preserving the accounts of events cut out of the lives of average people just like you and me from all over the world. And like having ice cream with your pie, there is more to this meme than meets the eye – it’s a meme a` la mode . I hope you will join me and share a Slice of your Life.

 

In the Beginning . . . my first cooking experience

 

I will readily admit that I am barely an average cook. Oh, I have my dishes in which I not only excel in making, but also enjoy making. I seem to have more success using the oven part of a stove as opposed to the top burner area. Thus, I like baking the good foods of pies, cakes and cookies. I make a very good meat loaf and an excellent pot roast. If it can be baked, I am the woman for the job. I believe the reason I have excelled in baking is due to my first time cooking, which was a real half-baked experience!

 

I was one of three daughters, Toupey, Cricket, and Joy-Joy, all just a little over a year apart in age. I do believe our mother was a visionary in family planning, at least in that our ages played a very important part in scheduling household duties. My older sister was taught how to cook at an early age. After fifty years, Toupey is still a very good cook. To the best of my memory, I believe she was in charge of cooking the evening family meal since she was nine years old. She would come home from school and start supper, which was always, and I mean always, served with all family members sitting at the table (not in front of a television) at 4:30pm sharp. As dysfunctional as my family has been, I must say our dad insisted we all ate dinner together at the table. And Toupey never disappointed us. Regardless of what the budget was and what food ingredients had been purchased, she was very good at making a dinner we all looked forward to eating. I was banned from the kitchen. On the other hand, Joy-Joy, was assigned to dish duty. Our mother must have thought this was enough of a punishment, and this was Joy-Joy’s only household chore. My being relieved of kitchen duty was not due to any mistake I may have made in trying to learn how to cook, but more due to the assignment of chores.

 

My job, also from a very early age, was housecleaning. I un-expectantly walked in on my ex-mother-in-law talking to my ex-sister-in-law one day and overheard these half-baked words of praise, “Well, Cricket may not be much of a cook, but she knows how to clean!”  I must confess she was correct in her assessment of my homemaking skills. I was, and am, very good at polishing and making things shine. I was also taught from a very early age how to do laundry, including ironing, so stains and wrinkles beware. However, needless to say, at the age of sixteen I was not prepared to be the chief cook in a marriage.

 

I was married on a Saturday evening. Our honeymoon consisted of one night in a motel in a neighboring town. On Sunday afternoon, we returned to my parent’s home to pick up my things, our wedding gifts and enjoy a good last supper. On Monday morning, my husband went off to work and I was left alone to figure out how to be a wife. I began doing what I knew best – cleaning the two-bedroom mobile home from top to bottom. We were very fortunate in receiving many wedding gifts and were given everything we needed to set up housekeeping. I had so much fun that first day opening boxes and putting everything away. I was done by 2pm and was feeling pretty proud of myself. We had planned to buy groceries after John got off work, but I wanted to surprise him and have dinner on the table when he got home.

 

I walked the couple of blocks to the local grocery and spent almost an hour reading the back of boxes trying to figure out what to buy that I would be able to fix. I finally decided upon a box of spaghetti that had a can of sauce with meat that only needed to be heated. I remember my sister always made her own sauce and it took a lot of ingredients and time, not to mention know-how. I felt confident I would be able to make this spaghetti and also purchased a cake mix along with a box of icing. A loaf of bread and a few other items and I was prepared to make my first meal. I was so excited about my surprise dinner, I almost skipped the blocks back to our trailer despite the weight of the bags.

 

It was just after 3pm when I turned the oven on to bake the cake. I may not have known much about cooking, but I am an organizer by nature and I quickly determined the timeline needed to have dinner ready by 5pm, the estimated time of arrival of my husband. I carefully read the directions on the cake mix box and had the two layers ready for the oven when it was heated to the instructed temperature. I then read the instructions on the spaghetti and got the needed pans, one for the water to cook the spaghetti noodles and one for heating the sauce. I turned the water on to heat at precisely the right time and waited for it to boil. I soon learned the adage, a watched pot never boils. I finally tired of watching for the water to boil and decided to read the instructions on the icing for the cake. Sure enough, I no sooner stopped watching he pot and it started to boil! I put the noodles in and “occasionally stirred” them. My cake was done, as verified by a fork poked in the center – I remembered this trick from the many years of watching my grandmother bake. I set the pans on a towel to cool and began making the icing. At 4:30, I turned the heat on low under the pan of sauce. I set the table with our new dishes and made a centerpiece from a glass of water with flowers I had picked from the hill behind our house. I taste-tested one of the spaghetti noodles and turned the heat down to low. I iced the cake and placed it on the table. At 4:50pm, John pulled in the drive, ten minutes ahead of schedule. I quickly stirred the sauce into the noodles and was just about to pour the spaghetti into the waiting bowl on the table when John walked in.

 

He greeted me with, “Hi wife!” and big hug. “What do you have here?”

 

 “Surprise!” I exclaimed. “I wanted to have dinner ready when you got home so I walked downtown and got what I needed.” I poured the spaghetti into the bowl and we both stood and looked at it for what seemed like forever.

 

John, who in the early days of our marriage was quite loving and sensitive to my needs, finally said, “Hmmm, I don’t think I have ever had thin sauce on spaghetti before. I like trying something new though. That cake sure looks good. I can hardly wait for dessert!” With that, we sat down and ate my first home-cooked meal – spaghetti from a box, and if that wasn’t bad enough, I forgot to drain the noodles before adding the sauce. But, the dessert was great! Oh, and the cake was good too . . . an hour later. We were newlyweds – need I say more?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 13, 2008 8:24 am

    ROFL…this is hilarious! We rotated chores at our house. My sisters are 12 and 11 years older than me, so my cooking experience didn’t start until I was older. I still had no clue how to cook meat. my cooking experience thus far consisted of kraft dinner, hot dogs, anything from a precooked state. So my first day with hubby consisted of me calling him at work every 15 minutes…how do you know the pork chops are done? do i add anything to the potatoes to mash them? LOL
    I burnt every meal for about a year….seriously, I burnt a lot of meals….I’m good at it now 😀 but hubby still takes over once in awhile, like last saturday, he made the roast. I’m glad his mom taught him to cook….my mom taught me to boil….LOL
    I’m like you with the baking though! I can bake anything and people often ask for my pastries cuz I’m really good at the crust….don’t mean to toot my own horn but toot toot….hehe

  2. May 13, 2008 10:56 am

    I think everyone has a similar first time cooking experience. Mine involved a piece of steak that was as tough as an old boot by the time I had incinerated it. I’m surprised anyone could actually chew it. I just wanted to tell you that I am really enjoying ‘Slice Of Life.’ Thank you.

  3. May 14, 2008 8:43 pm

    I got an award for you on my blog!

  4. May 14, 2008 10:38 pm

    Girl. you make me chuckle sometimes with your ‘way with words.’ I am having some health issues that will hopefully resolve soon and I can get back to doing your meme.

    Dessert? Rotflmao…

  5. May 15, 2008 11:06 am

    Thank you for good information~~*

    Please comeback to visit my blog too : http://about-culinaryarts.blogspot.com/

    I’m sorry , If you think this is spam. but may i thank you again.

    Bye

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