Does Your Mother Cook?

If she does, be glad!  My mother could not cook.  We loved her dearly but she would be the first to tell you that her cooking stinks!  This is not being mean, but rather being factual.  She hated cooking.  I think this was a major reason for her marrying our dad.  He loved to cook and was great at it!

To explain just how much our mother hated cooking I will need to share two stories with you.

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Once upon a time there was a woman who really hated to cook.  To say she hated to cook is not completely accurate.  She was not very good at it which led to her hating it.  Early in the course of her life she met a man.  This man LOVED to cook, and he was very good at it.  The two fell in love, were married and proceeded to have three silly daughters.

One perfect summer day, the woman thought she would make something simple for her family to eat.  Noodles and tomatoes should be simple enough, or so she thought.   The woman was born and raised during the Great Depression, and this dish was one of her favorite family dishes.  In her time, growing and making your own was a normal way of life.  Noodles and tomatoes – all homemade/homegrown – perfect!

She had every good intention of putting together this wonderful, family favorite, easy dish for all to enjoy.  The woman did not take into consideration her numerous distraction on the farm where they now live.  She started out with a smile filling the metal pot with water.  A warm breeze was flowing through all of the open windows and doors.  She could hear her daughters playing joyfully outside.  She placed the pot of water on the gas stove, added about a tablespoon of salt (as you do with noodles), turned the flame to the appropriate height, and went about her chores.

This is where her distaste of cooking comes into play.  While she was going about her chores, cleaning, laundry, checking on the animals and kids;  the pot continued to boil.

  • It boiled till it was a rolling boil.
    • It boiled until there was no water left in the pot.
      • It boiled until it melted all over the stove.

She and the girls all saw the smoke billowing out of the kitchen.  She told them to stay put as she ran in to find the disaster.  To this day, this beautiful, warm, touching family moment is shared amongst siblings during any moment of childhood recollections and laughter abounds.

flaming-pan-on-stove

(This picture gives you an idea – sort of – it did not flame, it just melted, caused a ton of smoke, and a huge mess.  We, unfortunately, do not have any pictures of that ordeal – this is the closest I could come to it.)

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This second story is a bit of a history lesson.  During my high school years (mid to late 1970’s), we moved around a bit.  It was also the time that the “microwave oven” came out and was all the rage.  It can cook anything – ya, sure!  The reason I remember this historical fact is due to my mother and her cooking inabilities.

The only thing she really could do well was boil water (unless she got distracted).  This just happens to be the main necessity for noodles.  Thus, noodles were her specialty of meals.  Stoves were another thing of distrust.  Then came the microwave cooker!  Now, don’t let the name fool you as it did her.  She only caught the “cooker” part and began assuming (there is that darn “ass” word again-grr) that this new wonder of the world would be her savior.  This miracle of science would not turn her into some type of Julia Childs.  Ahh, such is the thing that dreams are made of!

Dad happily purchased one of the miracle workers for mom during our 2nd (maybe 3rd) move.  We were very strapped for cash, so a purchase of this kind had to be especially special.  Excited as mom was she could not wait to try her beloved noodles – so sad.

She read all the instructions so carefully, just as a normal female does (jab jab male species).  Took her time.  Obtained the appropriate container (this alone was a shocker).  Put in the correct amount of water and salt.  Added her noodles and put the wonder to work.  Approximately 20 minutes later we had a marvelous bowl filled with mush!

My amazing mother, the eternal optimist, tried again – and again – and again.  When she final got discouraged, Dad made supper and all was satisfied.  After this fiasco, she came to the conclusion that a microwave cooker was not for cooking any more than the stove was.  That moment on she swore to only use it to re-heat food, and thus it went.

She got so good at the re-heating part, that one year for Christmas my younger sister bought her a book called “101 Things to do with Ramen NoodlesRAPTURE!  She was now going to be able to cook, and had a goal of making every single recipe in the book (which she did with great flare!).

         ramen-noodle-book     micrwave   ˭

valentine-heart-filled-with-hearts

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helbergfarmstories

I love to write. It is one of the constants in my life that brings me joy. I also love to tell stories, read, knit, crochet, weave, plant gardens, raise our own food, play game with my grandson and throw out my wicked sense-of-humor every chance I get (parents fault – they raised us this way, and I am very glad of it!). I have hundreds of great stories from my life that I want to share. Most are very humorous, some maybe not so much. I hope that all are found interesting. Some of the things that have happened to me in life are: • Growing up on a farm in Wisconsin. • Raising and creating 4-H projects for the fair. • Growing food through natural methods (no chemicals here). • Learning (via trial-and-error methods) how to process all kinds of foods. • The death of several loved ones: Parents, fiancé, grandson. • Living through 2 house fires (2nd of which cost me the one grandson). • Having and raising a disabled daughter (20 surgeries in the first 20 years of her life). • Surviving a rape and abusive x-boyfriend and now being able to talk about it. • Giving up everything and moving to another state with $100 in my pocket. • Giving up a steady well-paying job to buy a farm. • Learning and sharing how to really enjoy farm life. • Writing through all of it. These are just samples of all the amazing things I have experienced. I had parents that were amazing! They encouraged all of us to try everything, at least once. Mom tried to get us to enjoy the riches of the world – fine dining (got some great stories on those episodes), how to sit up straight and walk straight to be noticed. She showed us how to walk into a room as if you owned the place. The best thing she taught us was the fine art of storytelling. She grew up with only the radio era folk, so the art of conversation was everything. One regret I have is that I did not keep the letters between her and our Aunt Elaine. They were filled with family happenings and priceless! Dad was a different egg. He and mom seemed like such opposites, but no two opposites were more meant for each other. He was a big, strong, tough man that had been through war times and then something much worse – surviving three daughters! EEEK! Now, looking back, I realize why they both grayed prematurely – we three gremlins. The thing that stands out most in my memory of my father is his compassionate humor. No matter how mad he got at something stupid one of us did, there was always the little twinkle in his eye that told us it was ok. My little sister had him wrapped around her finger – she could do no wrong in his eyes. To best describe him is to let you know that his knick-name for me was “Dumb Shit.” To understand it you may have to watch old Archie Bunker shows – that was my dad. My sisters and I all have some type of talent. The oldest is the wet-noodle. She falls for any stray that comes her way. Then has to feed it and the world (she's an excellent cook by-the-way!) immediately. The youngest is the Artist. She can draw, paint, and/or create so many different things and she too has the passion for cooking. The biggest difference in the two is the first can’t even draw stick people and cooks using shortcuts. The 2nd does everything from scratch – art and cooking. Me, I’m the middle kid. I love to tear things apart and put them back together. I create from scratch – yarn, paint, draw, paper crafts, clay, wood and a number of other things. Cooking is not my passion, I will do it if I have to or if I get an inclination, but it’s not where my heart if. The one big thing we all have in common is our humor. So, my wish here is that as you read my blog (stories), you will find enjoyment in them. What is life if we cannot have a little fun in it?

2 thoughts on “Does Your Mother Cook?”

  1. Wow, just wow! She really was terrible! Ha! Well, we all have our skills and knowing where we do NOT have the skill is just as important!
    My mom tried and tried, and had many successes… but dad would come along and make crazy new things and gourmet food. She “let” him do it more and more…until about 30 years into the marriage he made one too many disparaging comments about her cooking (Pork chop scabs, I think it was). She did the cooking version of a mic drop (ladle drop?) and said she was never cooking for him again.
    And she never did. Go, mom!

    Liked by 1 person

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