By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Just A Thought Cooking Up Some Experiences
Placeholder Image
Like many girls from my generation, cooking was learned early in life. My first try at this household chore began at six years of age. Eager to impress my working mom with my cooking, I prepared a meal of fried potatoes and hamburgers. The meal of half raw potatoes and burned patties was served to her. Without showing any negativity, she ate the meal like it was the greatest, much to her credit, which helped my self-esteem. From then, as the oldest of my sister and me, I helped out occasionally cooking and it was something I learned to enjoy, guided by my mother and also when visiting my grandmother in Pleasanton. At about 11 or 12, I helped out for two weeks on a ranch assisting the rancher in serving meals to the haying crew. It was hard work but an experience I never forgot, especially when we had to clean up and do all of the dishes for the meals.

By the time I was in high school I had been making some of the meals for my mother, stepfather and five siblings. Some meals were good and some were not, with lots for me still to learn, such as making sure beans and vegetables were cooked through. By the time I married in 1947, I thought cooking was a plus. Not so, my husband had to eat some of my experimental concoctions. Finances at the time were very limited, with shortcuts taken in preparing meals. At one time, we had to subsist on potatoes, walnuts and canned cranberry sauce. Trying to improvise with that combination for two weeks until payday was a trying challenge.

When we lived in San Jose, while my husband finished college, one weekend I invited two of our male student friends to join us for a picnic at the beach. I went to the store and bought a stewing chicken to prepare. Little did I know it was a tough old rooster. After boiling for a time, I still found it tough, so I decided to make it better by frying. The day arrived with picnic fare ready in a basket for the four of us to enjoy. However, the chicken was uneatable, leaving us with my potato salad, dessert and beverages of soda. It was an embarrassing and hard lesson.