My over-indulgence recently with Julie Powell and her grand blog experiment with cooking her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking must have influenced my sudden desire to cook.
Now you have to know that cooking has not ever been one of my passions. As I’ve mentioned before, my mother taught me how to make several dishes, but she did most of the cooking. It’s not that I can’t cook, because I can. The meals I make are very simple. Most of them can be pulled together in less than half-an-hour, a trick my mother learned because she worked at the Camera Shop with my dad, closed the store at 5:00, and had a full meal on the table no later than 5:45 each evening.
Of course, growing up with Miss Betty Crocker as an older sister didn’t give me much room to experiment in the kitchen either—although I do remember a few huge messes I made at Grandma Heffner’s kitchen, learning how to make pie crust with lard, peeling apples from the trees in her yard for pie, and smashing others through the colander to make homemade applesauce with Red Hearts candy.
You think I’m kidding about Sue being Betty Crocker, don’t you? Well, I’m not. When she was a senior in high school—the year I turned ONE—she passed a test in her high school home economics class and was awarded the “The Betty Crocker Award.” And she deserved it—I’ve never known anyone who could bake as well as my sister. Her desserts were to die for!
So, here I am—completely possessed with the idea of cooking, and having the ability to do it since my Grand Chef Master and former Craft-Service husband is working out of town—considering the recipes from Sue’s own repertoire, organized into a family cookbook by her daughters, Connie and Melissa, to honor their mother after her death in 2003.
The holiday foods are here—cranberry salad and creamed eggs, check—and even the world-famous Grandma Brobst’s macaroni & cheese. Breakfast, Main Dish, Salads, Breads, Rolls, and the DESSERTS! Yum!!!! The desserts which somehow managed to fill over half the volume of the cookbook—the same desserts I used to want to start the meal at Sue’s house because there were always so many and every one of them delicious.
And that brings me to my project. Like Julie Powell, I’m going to cook my way through a cookbook—but my cooking will be much more special to me. I’m working my way through a cookbook by Susie B.
This past week we concentrated on soups—the chili and chicken noodle were both homemade, the tomato came thanks to Campbell’s—with a grilled cheese or buttered bread on the side. The boys ate like they had never been fed before, with every pot so clean in the end they already looked liked they’d been washed. I did find it interesting that I wasn’t nearly so hungry later in the evening. Is there something about being homemade that satisfies my appetite in an entirely new way?
My trip to the grocery store this afternoon was planned to help me continue along the planned course. Potato salad, ham salad, Watergate salad, Breakfast Casserole, and Dried Beef Gravy with Biscuits are all on this week’s agenda. I’ll let you know next week how this new fare went over with my houseful of boys.
Onward and upward, as the saying goes—let the challenge officially begin. And if I’m ever going to make it through the cookbook in a year, I’d better get started on those desserts. The plan for tomorrow? Texas Sheet Cake. Double-yum! I can almost already taste it.
But for now, it’s time to stop thinking of food and move on to other things. Oh, but on an interesting side note—I got word this week that I will have a BYU student as an intern next semester in preparation for her becoming my student teacher next year.
Her name? Julia Powell.
It must be kismet!