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WHO DID THE COOKING?
6 October 2015
The prompt for today is;
Who did most of the cooking in your house when you were growing up?
My mother, definitely. Until I was in high school, she was a stay at home mom and even after she got a job with the Bank of America, it was only a couple of days a week, to start, so she was home the rest of the time. She not only cooked dinner every night, but also fixed breakfast and packed our lunches to take to school. Never did figure out why bologna sandwiches always had mayonnaise and salami sandwiches came with butter, but to this day I often fix them that way.
We had a lot of take out food, too. Pizza (which we picked up at the local pizza joint in North Beach) or Chinese food (which we had delivered).
My father was a meat and potatoes kind of guy (with a big dose of Italian wanna be....he loved anything Italian, though he did not have a drop of Italian blood in him), so we had a lot of roasts (mostly beef) with potatoes and always vegetables, sometimes a salad. I never did get the "love of veggies" gene, though.
He was a railway mail clerk, which meant he worked the mail on a train from San Francisco to Los Angeles. This meant he would leave one morning, be gone that night and return the following night. On the nights he was gone my sister and I often had "dinners" like pancakes, or scrambled eggs, or my favorite, those new Swanson fried chicken TV dinners that had just come out.
I remember I talked my mother into making pancakes with pork gravy for me one morning, after she told me that it was her favorite breakfast as a kid. I remember really loving it and still don't know why she never fixed it again. She also made marrow bone dumplings for soup from time to time. Those were my favorites, but she stopped making them too.
My father liked to experiment in the kitchen, often something Italian. The very best calzone I ever had was one he made. I don't know, this many years later, what made it so special, but I've never had another that lived up to what he made.
But he was best known for his potato salad. I have not had one since that was the same. He said that the secret was slicing the potatoes very thin. He also used sweet pickles and always Best Food (or Hellman's) mayonnaise and lots of onions and parsley. I was his taster, letting him know if it needed more salt or not.
I don't make his potato salad because it needs lots of onion and Walt doesn't like onion. Also because I love it and would eat more than I should.
He was less successful with sweets and once made peanut butter cookies that you could drink. I don't know whether he added too much liquid (and what liquid do you add to cookies anyway?) or too little flour? But we teased him unmercifully about those peanut butter cookies for many years.
Oddly, I did not learn to cook when I was growing up.
Perfectionist that she was, my mother never wanted help in the kitchen, or
tried to teach us. She would rather do it herself. I taught
myself to cook by volunteering to cook for a bunch of guys in the house
where Walt was living at U.C. Berkeley. But I think I turned out to be
a fair-to-middlin' cook after all.
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Praying for a touchdown
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