Actually the tears help to salt the eggs;) This made me want to cry, I couldn’t help thinking of my Mom. I’m pretty sure she taught herself to cook, I can’t imagine her mom patiently guiding her around the kitchen. And she had the scars and disaster stories to support that theory, one more question that just came up and I can no longer ask her. I do remember her with a bloody dish towel wrapped around her hand as she tucked the crust on an apple pie, with Dad’s boss coming to dinner. That pie turned out pretty good, a lot better than the one she accidentally made with salt instead of sugar, not to mention the one she bumped into a sink full of soaking dishes. Usually these things happened before a big social meal.
The thing was, this was the 50’s and 60’s, she was expected to cook despite her categorical lack of home making skills, and she was determined to at least master this end of her “wifely duties”. So “nevertheless, she persisted”. She actually got pretty good, and while to the end she could trash a kitchen making a peanut butter sandwich, she loved to cook and she loved to host dinners.
I still have a favorite shrimp recipe she brought to my house on her annual holidays visit. I had friends over, even though she was in her 80’s she always insisted in staying through New years so she could cook a birthday dinner for me. Somehow she managed to light the 8 by 11" reprint of the recipe on fire, I managed to beat out the flames before they reached the text and we all had a good laugh. We also raved about her pop overs and the killer cheese pie that was her signature desert.
Persist A.J. If you enjoy working with your guy then cook together. Have fun with it, feed each other, laugh, eat your mistakes. Cook with your kids, try to keep the salt and sugar well separated, learn to clean up as you go and don’t park the pie next to the dish sink. Shared meals are one of the strongest glues that hold families together. Mom taught herself to cook, to write music, to garden, to teach piano, and these things became her passions, they helped to construct a circle of loving friends, of grateful students, of fellow performers. At her memorial a year ago November two of her fine musician friends brought some of her songs to perform, she would always leave one on their piano after house sitting for them. We ended with a group sing, “Stewed green tomatoes, stewed green tomatoes, some people cry for peppermint pie….but I like stewed tomatoes”;)