Friday, May 11, 2012


(Happy Mother's Day!  As you enjoy a meal around the table, honoring your moms, I'm taking this occasion to tell the truth about myself. . .as a mother, concerning food and cooking.  True confession time.)

Mothers and young children have strange conversations, like when our first born was about four years old.

"Mama, can I have a cookie?"

"No, Kimberly. It's too close to supper."

"Mama, ple-eeease ma-aay I have just one cookie?" She thought adding two words, please and may, might yield results.

"No, Kimberly Ruth! It'll spoil your supper."

"But I'm hungry now."

"Kimberly Ruth Henderson, I said no cookie! You'll have supper soon. And stop asking!"

"I wish I could have a cookie."

My head spun her way and my eyes threatened her, when she decided to clarify her statement, "I didn't ASK, I was just wishing!"

"Well, young lady, you better not ask or even wish for a cookie! End of discussion."

And it was. For about 15 seconds. She muttered the inevitable last word, "I wish I could wish."
My mama was a good country cook and baker. I did not inherit that gene. A few months before my wedding, we both realized that fact. So she gave me two things:
  • a crash course in cooking
  • a little book of her recipes
I still have that tattered book and treasure her hand-writing on the pages. I laugh now at how detailed it is. Beyond boiling water, I needed full instructions!
A recipe for CANNED HAM!  Seriously?
That's just sad.

At this empty-nest stage of life, I rarely find myself in the kitchen. Even our supperclub ladies know their way around mine as well as I do. A friend posted on her facebook page:
I only have a kitchen because it came with the house.

I totally get that. But my daughters and daughter-in-law absolutely LOVE cooking. I totally DON'T get that.

Kent reminds me sometimes, "Mom, you gotta realize Mary loves being in the kitchen just like you love playing piano." Passions vary vastly.

Katy observed my kitchen-shunning and was puzzled at first when I informed her, "Honey, I hate to cook!"

"But, Mama, you used to LOVE cooking. You always made us good meals, even desserts!"

"That doesn't mean I enjoyed it!"

I do find it strange that God gave me a passion for eating but not cooking. Maybe that's His diet plan for me. The combo genes would make me super-sized in my jeans!

Doug and I sit down monthly to coordinate our calendars.

"Kathy, on Monday I have a meeting and we're eating at Jack's."

"Good. I don't need to cook."

"Tuesday night B-Men are having a low country boil supper."

"Great!" I'm so happy. For him.

We both have Wednesdays penciled in for church supper. Spaghetti this week.

"Doug, remember Thursday night we're eating out with friends then going to Florence Little Theater."

Suddenly I realized I cook on Sunday then not again until the next weekend. Doug smiles, knowingly, "Honey, it's gonna be a great week for you. No cooking for four days straight!" He gets me.
Doug tells people, "She thinks the oven is just another cabinet that happens to be metal."

That was funny until recently. For over a week I couldn't find 2 pot lids and a baking sheet. I searched and so did Doug. He offered, "Maybe you took them to some event and left them."

"But, Doug, I would't take a baking sheet, nor bring home pots without lids." We were both at a loss.

Until one evening I opened my oven door to roast some vegetables. Doug came running when I squealed, "I found 'em! I FOUND 'em!" I'd placed them in there to dry. They were pretty dry after a week and a half. My own version of the lost coin, sheep and prodigal son. . .rejoice with me!
I have quite a deal with my friend, Cathy Steinert. She runs our church sound room and takes piano lessons from me on Mondays. A few years ago we worked out a bartering system. Home-cooked meals are swapped for lessons. After teaching, I'm hungry but want to stay home. Works beautifully for us both. I take my cooler to church Sundays and find it filled by the final "Amen!" It might be a chicken pot pie or baked spaghetti, maybe a roast or chicken and dumplings. It's like opening a Christmas gift every week! Then Doug and I eat off it for two or three days.
Recently my trip to New York City included rooming with my friend, Ivy Spera, in her apartment. I wondered how we'd get along. When she opened her 'fridge to show me where to find creamer for my coffee, I smiled and said, "I feel right at home." It sparkled and held only 3 things: coffee, creamer and an open box of baking soda!
We ate out a lot. Soul sisters.  NYC has the best in pizza and cheesecake!

Ciao! Chow?


  1. It also had a brita pitcher filled with water!!! =) You're absolutely right, my 'fridge is PRISTINE. Nothing in it. No wonder we got along so well!!! LOVE YOU.

  2. Ha! We share the "love" of cooking. I keep telling myself I love to cook, but I don't really have time to cook well, so I don't.

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