Thinking back over the years I find there are things I might have done differently. Sometimes I feel guilty about the things I wish I could do all over again. One particular thing always comes to mind. Truthfully, I can say without a doubt my mother was never a cook. Mother hated the kitchen and avoided that particular space in the house as often as possible. Okay before you start thinking about my Mother neglecting me, she hired a cook to prepare meals for the family.
Nevertheless, I don’t Want to!
Nevertheless, I don’t want to, never came out of my mouth, at least not where my mother could hear. Mother said, “I want you to understand this so listen carefully. Whatever you do, you do it well. Follow the rules, be a good citizen and all will be fine.” I suppose the provocative question in everyone’s mind would be, “Did you break the rules?” Yes, I broke the rules but no one ever caught me. I did it well.
One Sunday afternoon my Mother called us all into the living room to make an announcement. I shudder when I remember the determined look in my Mother’s eyes. “We all are going to learn to cook,” my Mother said. My brother James started to laugh but stopped when he saw my mother’s face. My Mother was serious and when she was serious, you better, pay attention. I recovered my voice enough to make a sound and asked, “When do we start cooking lessons?” My Mother gave my sister a sheet of paper with a supply list.
Schedules are schedules.
Mother gave printed schedules to everyone and sat down gracefully on the large wing chair to the right of the couch where I sat. I looked at my mother and asked if my schedule could be changed? I received a short clipped harsh ‘NO’. Okay, I really did not mind missing my Trombone lesson and I had tried to tell my mother about the conflict. I continued to read the schedule and found my Trombone lesson was moved to my Paton Twirling lesson time slot. Mother despised my Paton Twirling lessons but she would not take the lessons away because I won trophy after trophy. I did well! Okay, I could cope with the schedule and do it well. No one complained they just gave mother pained looks and left to follow their respective schedules. A schedule was just a schedule and I knew that sometimes schedules needed to be changed because of unforeseen happenings.
Cooking Class 101
The Cooking Class was held in the local college Culinary Arts Department room 101. The room was lined with Conventional Ovens and Microwaves. The large center of the room held student desks. The hooks lined on the side of the wall next to the ovens held white rubber aprons. Our class was two hours long and the assigned groups had five members. The first assignment was a long list of Culinary Arts tools that we placed in a communal drawer that listed our names on the outside. The group members were responsible for the cleaning and safety of the assigned Culinary Arts tools. The aprons had student names printed on the out side. All the females in the class had cartoon Bunnies while all the males had cartoon Teddy Bears.
Class 101 B
My Mother found she could not cope with not doing well in Culinary Arts Class. Mother did learn how to boil water, bake a cake, and make a passable ham and cheese sandwich but she admitted cooking was something she would leave to others. I on the other hand excelled at cooking and did do well. It seemed all the members of my family did do well in cooking class with the exception of my mother.
When I had my children, I insisted they take a Culinary Arts Cooking class. I think that class was one of my mother’s best ideas. That class taught me a plethora of things I used repeatedly in life. Cooking is a life skill necessary and whether or not a cook is available. Hey, you guys out there who only do grill cooking widen your horizons and learn how to cook other things besides hot dogs and steaks.
Author Whitney Joh is a retired Science Teacher and CEO of seven websites.