In The Kitchen

In the kitchen is where the party happens! Our house in Irvine, CA had a large kitchen that opened to a family room so we had a “great” room. The counter in the middle held all the snacks and even though there were many places to sit and visit, inside and out, people always collected in the kitchen around the counter. There were often too many cooks in the kitchen, especially at Thanksgiving. I’ve been known to take a wooden spoon and chase people out while trying to put the final touches on the turkey and gravy. Then I learned it’s best to just give everyone a job! Mash the potatoes, stir the gravy, carve the turkey, whip the cream! Makes life much easier and creates happy memories.

While there are a LOT of good cooks in our family I give credit to the 4-H program in Illinois for starting my daughters on the road to good cooking! Two recipes have withstood the tests of time – 4-H Spaghetti Sauce and 4-H Brownies. Daughter Renee has perfected the Spaghetti Sauce which is often requested as the special dinner for birthday celebrations. Family members are always happy to get her gifts of the delicious sauce. 4-H ers had to demonstrate how to make the recipes so the members really learned the basics of following a recipe, preparing the ingredients, and enjoying the results!

When we moved into the motorhome for our life on the road I copied my favorite recipes and have them on my computer. Sometimes I just took a picture to capture the “memory” of the recipe. Here’s one of my favorites that daughter Laura brought into the family when she was in Kindergarten! Aggression Cookies:

Laura’s first recipe card. Note how she forgot to write “quick oats” and just wrote “quick!”

The teacher had the kids make these in class ….to get out their aggressions! I love how Laura wrote “mix with hands until formed into a large glob.” So professional! 

But the most special thought I have about “in the Kitchen” is this. On February 18, 1959, I was in my Mom’s kitchen with a young man at the end of our third date. He had taken me out on 2 special weekend dinner and dancing dates. I had known him for nearly 3 weeks. He was getting ready to leave and as we walked in the kitchen I stopped in front of him, looked up (probably batted my eyelashes) and said, “Aren’t you ever going to kiss me?”  He did. And it was Magic! My toes got hot, my body melted and I thought, “This is it!” Without that kiss there wouldn’t be any of these stories!

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