Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Burnt Offerings.....And That Is On The Good Days!

Thanksgiving is approaching and a question that I am sometimes asked....although not as frequently with the advent of, "What are you cooking for Thanksgiving?" My answer is, "I'm the request of my family." And I am serious!! They don't even try to be polite about it anymore.

Ironically, I did work in several restaurants throughout my life. To be fair, most were fast-food...and I was usually a cashier. My first job following my divorce, though, was as a biscuit cook. When I asked if someone could show me how, the manager replied, "You make them the same way you do at home." My answer : "I go to Hardee's. I noticed there is one across the many should I pick up and what time do you need them?" Despite serious misgivings...they were obviously desperate...I was hired. My cousin, Debbie, said that she thought her husband would pass out from laughter when she told him about my new job. I am glad my employment brought such joy to my family! :)

My kids learned early on that I can seldom even heat up anything without burning it. You would think I would get better, but I haven't. When my grandson Zac was younger, each time I went near the stove he would point at the smoke alarm and cover his ears! (This is the same child who used to pop his pacifier into my mouth whenever I would try to sing him to sleep. Some critics are made, some are born!)

My former husband confided in me once that he honestly suspected I was trying to kill him during the first year of our marriage. After too many attempts  to eat foods that were burnt on the outside and raw on the inside, he realized that I simply do not have the patience to cook a meal. (The man was so grateful when Crock-Pots were put on the market!) Fortunately for us, Michael was an excellent cook who actually enjoyed it. He would even let me help him sometime. Considering that I have even had problems boiling water, I had to be supervised.

I did have 2 favorite cookbooks when I was raising my kids.: Campbell's Soup had a good long as there was no more than 3 ingredients involved.... and Kool-Aid had a fantastic cookbook. I loved recipes that involved adding Kool-Aid.  Food coloring was made for people like me. The food may not be edible, but it was colorful!! Sadly, neither my children nor my grandchildren enjoy my fascination with brightly colored foods once they passed the preschool age. Cody just shakes his head at me on Dr. Seuss' birthday as I am enjoying my green eggs & ham!

That  reminds me of a story with Cody: A couple of years ago he asked if I would make him some scrambled eggs. I looked at him in disbelief and asked, "Me?" He thought for a couple of seconds, grabbed my phone, & I heard, "Aunt Brandy, can you come make me some scrambled eggs?" Now he cooks them for me.

Caitlyn, on the other hand, just flat out lets me know that she is a better cook than me. I suspect she may not like it any better than I do though. She did once try to get out of cooking by explaining that she could not make chicken and dumplings because the recipe was a 'family secret' and she didn't want me to know the ingredients!! Gotta love that ingenuity!!

All 3 of my kids are good cooks. It had to be self-preservation since they did not learn from me. I did teach them to cook everything at 350 degrees. Why? I don't know. That just always seemed like a reasonable number to me. Brandy even asked me for 2 recipes when she moved out on her own!! Let me share them:

Chicken & gravy: Cook chicken at 350 until it's done. Pour a can of cream of chicken soup over it and stick it back in the oven....until the soup/gravy is hot.

Sausage-Cheese Balls: Buy Bisquick, sausage, shredded cheese, & milk. Drop it all off at Grandma's house. She will call you when it's done.

Jason is the one who is constantly explaining to me that "close enough" is not always good when I am trying to remember a recipe someone has sent (I do love my optimistic Facebook friends!!) that I have left at home.
David is more adventurous & willing to eat when I have made soup or stew. His response: "Ah, cleaned out the refrigerator today. Just tell me what you had leftover first."

So, while I really wish I was one of those who slave for hours over the stove.........oh, who am I kidding!!!! I will gladly purchase the food, clean the kitchen,...just ask me to do anything, but, for the good of all


deborah_seeley said...

So who's cooking? : )

Cindy said...

Deborah, we are going to my aunt's and there will be a variety of cooks. I will NOT be one of them. I used to be asked to bring bread until they realized I have never brought bread that didn't somehow get squished in travel. Now, I am just asked to pick up some soft drinks or tea (store-bought tea!).