Quick Recipes and Easy

What Country Is Gourmet?

OK I admit it. I do get suckered into watching those cooking shows once in awhile. I mean, why wouldn’t someone who likes to eat be enticed by the oohs and ahhs from the audience as the aromas waft over them. And yes, I have even sent away for the mouthwatering recipe…once.

When it arrived I thought a mistake had been made. I distinctly remember the chef referring to it as a excellent ancient fashioned American dish. Could’ave fooled me! The only ingredient I recognized was salt…though I wasn’t aware that Mediterranean sea salt was any saltier than excellent ol’ iodized salt.

I reckon gourmet recipes should come with a translation chart. Who got permission to change the name of green onions to scallions anyway? And how many gardens have leeks growing amongst the tomatoes and radishes? Leeks. Now there’s a word that’ll get your mouth watering! And what’s with all the fresh herbs? Is it really necessary to include in my meatloaf a plant that can only be found growing as a weed in the garden of some monastery in the alps?

Having been raised by a mother who was raised during the depression, I learned very quickly the art of survival cooking. Convenience foods were abhorred as an unforgivable extravagance and wasting any food was punishable by 40 lashes with a wet, homemade noodle. Fortunately I married a man who came from the same humble background as myself and was baking bread by the time he was five.

Though I did learn to carefully store those last 3 peas in the fridge for future use, I’m worried I never did grasp the art of using said peas before they were mistaken for a science project. My mother on the other hand could make use of anything…even if it was a mistake.

My first real attempt at solo cooking occurred when I was 9 years ancient. I was allowed to make a batch of oatmeal cookies without supervision and immediately took on an air of superiority by allowing my sisters only 1 teaspoon each of cookie dough. I thought their gagging gestures were just designed to annoy me and I continued to spoon the dough onto the cookie sheet. As it turned out I had inadvertently place 1 cup of baking soda in the dough instead of 1 teaspoon. The final products were heavy as lead and could have been used in a discus throw. Since my sisters had lost interest in cookies that day, I gave them to the neighbor kids…who threw them to the dog. The following spring my sister kept running into them with the lawnmower. But, all was not lost. My mother carefully saved the remaining dough in the freezer and for the next decade when a recipe called for baking soda, she substituted a glob of cookie dough.

I carried on a somewhat modified version of domesticity for several years until I ventured out into the workforce. That was all she wrote. From then on, if it couldn’t go from the freezer to the microwave to the coffee table in 10 minutes…it wasn’t dinner!

Cindy Jaynes is a freelance writer and grandmother of twelve. To learn more about Cindy and how she earns a fulltime living online, visit her website at easyks.com easyks.com

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