Pat Willard’s blog, at https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/109621129/posts/3158858832, talked about what I thought was a funny cooking adventure and it reminded me of some “make me smile” cooking memories from 40 years ago.
In the early 1980s, while attending university, I lived in a small house by myself and my girlfriend would come over to study. She shared her apartment with three other girls and sometimes they did not want to study, so my place was a nice and quiet “study hall”. (I guess at age 60, I can call 18 year old women “girls”…..)
One night while we were studying, pre-med for her and engineering for me, I offered to cook some dinner for the two of us. My cooking was limited to hamburgers, french fries in the oven, “nuked” baked potatoes in the microwave oven, eggs and bacon. Chicken was a *huge* “leap of faith”.
These college kid meals worked until she noticed the Betty Crocker Cookbook that my mom and grandmother had left for me. When they had given it to me, I did the “guy thing”; look at it, thank them and put it on the shelf “for later”. She saw the cookbook and started looking through it, much like my wife just did with the Ball Blue Book. After a few minutes, she commented that a particular recipe didn’t seem that difficult and the next thing I know, we were walking to the grocery store to buy the stuff we needed for the meal.
The food we cooked actually tasted good and neither of us got sick, so it obviously turned out OK.
When we would find terms in the cookbook that we couldn’t figure out, we would ask my neighbors. They had sold their “mom and pop” restaurant and retired, so they had no problem answering even the most complicated questions, like “What is Sautee?”
After finding a recipe that we liked, we would practice making it until we felt confident that we could duplicate it without messing it up. Then we would invite the retired neighbors or some friends to my house for a nice meal. It was a lot of fun being the host and hostess.
Later, as our skills improved, we watched the cooking shows on the local public broadcasting television station and made notes on the recipes that were presented on the shows. Sometimes the recipes worked and sometimes it was obvious we had missed “something”. If the food was edible, but was just missing “something”, we’d make notes about what to try next time and then try it again. Most of the time we could figure it out and make a presentable meal, even if it wasn’t exactly what was presented on the television show.
Sometimes, however, the outcome was so bad that there was no hope. I can still remember my girlfriend’s scrunched up facial expression and her tone of voice when she would say, “Ahh…..if we have friends over for dinner…..let’s not make this…” That ALWAYS made me smile.
For some reason I could imagine her using the same facial expression and tone of voice when calling the professor to come over to look at an unexpected discovery in a human cadaver. My apologies for creating that image, but that’s what I envisioned when she would make “the announcement”. I guess that is what made it so funny for me.
Pat’s blog entry, with the sheep’s head, complete with teeth, while it probably would make a good meal, would have likely elicited the same scrunched up face and tone of voice that always made me smile.