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Monday, November 19, 2012


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Like so many of you my first real experience cooking started when I was young, about nine as I remember.

I suppose in comparison to some that makes me a late bloomer.  Up until that time my mother was available for the culinary task but cometh the Second World War, my mother like so many others got a job and went to work.

Each weekday after school it became my job to prepare the after school sustenance, because mom wouldn't get off work until seven and by the time she arrived home and cooked our meal it was usually eight o'clock or later.

Our city was made up of districts, each of which was like a city within a city with everything you needed to get by.  We had almost every kind of store you might need from banking to hardware to a movie house. My brother and I would arrive home from school about three thirty and first it was off to the grocery store and then to the bakery. 

We had twenty five cents to spend for our meal and our menu was always the same.  One can of soup, one quart of milk, and two fresh bakery cup cakes all for a quarter. 

It was up to me to prepare our meal, and my younger brother would be anxiously waiting to be fed.  Our soup of choice was Campbell's vegetable which I heated and divided the can between us.  My brother always wondered why I got more veggies in my bowl than he did, but I couldn't help it if the veggies favored me more than him.

From that early experience to making banana and mayonnaise sandwiches, little by little I learned how to suppress my appetite by cooking whatever was available in the pantry.  I must grudging admit there were a few failures along the way, some of which was one bite and out to the garbage can.

I still find that method of dealing with creative failures to-date has not been improved upon. 

After the World War II not only did the soldiers come home but also many moms returned home to household duties, cooking being one of them.

Then I no longer was required to prepare food on a daily basis, yet on occasion I would fix myself a snack due to the hunger of a growing boy.

It was when I was seventeen I got a job herding cattle, and I had to cook for myself. At last, I got to eat what I liked best instead of eating what was set before me or do without.

For the next ten months I was the chief cook and dish washer. It was during that time I honed my culinary skills, and thankfully never poisoned myself.

Having secured a job in town, for the next couple of years I ate in restaurants except when someone from the church invited me over for dinner.

For some reason I got invited over to one family home quite often. They always had a good meal, and I made myself at home there. They had a daughter of marrying age and for some reason I invited her out on a date, and another and another.  Before I knew it I became the son-in-law of that family.  It was after that I figured out why they were feeding me so often.

After we got married I found out I knew more about cooking than she did but thankfully she had finished high school, and could read a cook book.

During the next forty five years she did most of the cooking with me filling in occasionally.

Circumstances changed in our household and during the last fifteen or so years I have once again been the chief cook; and thankfully I haven't poisoned us, yet!
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Also Shared with Naomi at What Joy is Mine
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