|Mom at Flanagan's in Bermuda|
|Pork Chops Spaetzle|
In early 1998 I decided that someone had to get my Mom’s recipes from her. I would frequently go to see her on weekends, often with my wife, and sometimes on my own. Aside from shopping for her weeks groceries, often we would watch TV or play cards. Her game of choice was “Pinochle.” Since that required more than two people to play, we often ended up playing Gin rummy.
|Mom could get gravy out of a dry hole in the desert|
|Making Lots of Gravy|
|A tale of two roasts|
|Fried scallops, cottage fries and broccoli|
In 1998 I had completed about 40 of moms recipes. I went to the nearest Kinko's and found out how incredibly expensive it would be to get this recipe book printed. So instead of printing 50 books I decided that I would print 14 books. After printing these books I gave 1 to my Mom, kept 1 for myself, gave 4 to my siblings, one to each of my 4 children, and 4 to the older grandchildren for Christmas. I was so happy to be finished.
|Macaroni Goulash, a.k.a. American Chop Suey|
Now that the recipe book was printed I started hearing comments about some of Mom's recipes that I had left out of the book. I was called by some people who didn't get a book at all and wanted one. Then one day, one of my siblings suggested that rather than writing a new version of Mom's book (you know who you are), I write a family cookbook combining Mom's recipes with those from our family. My first reaction was "no way!" Then there were offers to "help me" so this really wouldn't be that difficult. So I began adding recipes from my family and then, cousins, friends of the family, their friends, and my friends as well. When will it ever end?
My abilities in desktop publishing were growing and I now had the ability to include color pictures in moms cookbook. In 2008 I printed the 2nd edition of Mom's cookbook, omitting the family recipes because I was not even close to finishing them. I included one color photograph for each recipe. The new edition had about 43 recipes in it.
With two small cookbooks under my belt, I continued collecting, testing and writing family recipes.
Imagine this, I'm cruising to Bermuda on a very small ship (675'), sharing a very small cabin with my Mother. One day I lost her. Where could she possibly be? I searched the ship stem to stern, checking her usual haunts, like the breakfast and lunch snack bar at the rear of the ship. During this cruise she acquired a real fondness for bread pudding with bourbon sauce (a great way to get rid of stale bread) during our trip. She wasn't there. Then I tried the casino, the pool, back to the cabin and was beginning to get a little concerned. "Where could she be?" I wondered. Maybe she fell overboard. I went back to the cabin and checked out the ships activities for the day. I quickly ruled out the driving range, skeet shooting on the fantail and continued down the list until I came to "cooking lessons." Every day on the souvenir menu they would include one or two recipes for you to try when you returned home. I went off towards the dining room until the wonderful aroma of Italian food hit my nose. I spotted her learning how to make Fettuccine Alfredo.
When we arrived in port we went to a restaurant overlooking the harbor for lunch. Mom waited at a outside table while I went to order drinks. When I returned with a drink in each hand Mom was talking to 5 men, in their 40's, and apparently well to do. She was so happy to see me as the men introduced themselves. They were on a adventure cruise from New York to Tahiti on their very own sailboat. Apparently their cook took sick and was in the local hospital. Mom jumped in and said that she told them what a good cook I was, and that I could take over for their missing cook for the continuation of their trip to Tahiti. Mom had done a fairly good job of embellishing (gilding the lily as only she could) my cooking experience and they offered me a job for 30 days and airfare back to Chicago from New York. The money issue was not even discussed. Imagine this, I am in Bermuda with my Mother, a job offer on the table to go to Tahiti? So what did I do? I called my wife and asked how she would feel if I went to Tahiti. This was a very expensive pay phone call and her only response was "are you drunk"?
Ultimately I declined their offer, but every now and then I wonder how this trip could have altered my life forever. As of this date I have never been to Tahiti, and sailing is still on my bucket list priorities.
On the subject of cooking lessons, Mom would frequently sign up at one of the larger supermarkets for cooking lessons. She was given a printed bio of the chef giving the class, information about his restaurant or hotel and of course the recipe. Mom would experiment on us after attending these classes. Life was good!
Fourteen years later, I'm finally finishing my cookbook. What will I do now? Stay tuned for another chapter.
THIS PAGE IS A WORK IN PROGRESS
© Tmelle 1998-2014