Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I never knew

I was walking by the kitchen counter and could not help but noticing this recipe in my grandfathers unmistakable handwriting. I asked Dee about and she said she had several more. We used to live near them in San Gabriel when we were first married and spent some quality time there, especially after grandpa got sick for a while. What caused me to stop is I never knew my grandfather to cook anything. Dee thinks he did and she has HIS recipes to prove it. My father NEVER cooked anything while I was growing up that I know of. When my mom passed away he could not even boil water....his words, not mine. I would have questioned if he knew where the pans were. Out of absolute necessity and against his own objections he did start to learn, but he was NEVER happy about it. I cooked a lot when I was growing up. My sister was off to college and Mom was flat on her back with disk problems and dad had his heart condition so I cooked, Actually I broiled steaks 5 nights a week. Seriously. It's easy. Pop in some spuds to bake, open a can of veggies, quarter a head of lettuce (forget shredding it, takes to long) pour on some dressing and your done. My first Job was a chef's assistant at Roy Rogers Apple Valley Inn. I prepared the whole pigs Hawaiian style, every kind of appetizer, (forget caviar, it tastes like bait smells) reduced hanging sides of beef to hamburger, made blue cheese dressing 10 gal at a time, cooked stuff for the Sunday brunch buffet, and irritated the fry cook to death washing his pans. I could hold and crack 4 eggs at a time separating the egg and shell (most of the time) without leaving shell pieces in the eggs. I attended two summer school sessions in college picking up enough credits to skip my junior year and graduate in 3 years. The cafeteria was closed and I did not have the coin for eating out (McD's burgers had climbed to 19 cents each and my budget only allowed for 15 cents a meal. Did you know you can survive with a coffee pot and an electric pop corn Popper? I would buy a 10 cent box of craft mac and cheese and divide it in half. Boil it in free water from the laundry room sink, mix the dry powder cheese into the wet cooked mac (milk was a luxury) brew a pot of coffee with non dairy power creamer and dinner is served for under 7 cents. Occasionally I would get some corn from one of the guys who had practiced biblical gleaning in the corn field across the street or go pick huge avocados and naval oranges from the abandoned orchard a few blocks away. A real treat was fried bluegill from the Puddingstone reservoir where I did a little late night fishing. Ya, I can cook...if I have to but praise the Lord, I don't. After two summers of mac and corn and 5 semesters of cafeteria food I married Deanna. She is a great cook. (ok there was a learning curve in the beginning). There is a definite difference between fired plantain and fired bananas even though they look the same. Eggplant and okra have NO edible qualities as far as I can detect. When I have the flu, there is no need to bake a cherry pie with a lace crust, it has no curative powers, aesthetic yes. As I look at my boys and cooking, Daniel can cook and does occasionally. David loves to cook for everyone and is really good, especially with game meats. Dusty is more like me, a survival chef and Darin is my dad, reincarnate....except I am sure he has no idea of where a pan is. I guess no matter what cooking ability my 6 grandsons display, they can find the precedent set somewhere on the family tree.


Doni Brinkman said...

1. When I first saw that picture, before I even read what you said, I too noticed handwriting RIGHT away. Mom's. She wrote "loin". Unmistakable. :)

2. How could anyone eat Mac and Cheese with no butter or milk. Yuck. You and mom must have been skin and bones in college.

3. Jim is on "team Dad" in the cooking department.

4. Ty is begging to cook so he can make his own PB and J's. :)

heidi jo said...

precious memories in that handwriting... interesting how the most precious stuff is nearly free (ok, the recipe card and pen cost something... but the handwriting? priceless) :)