Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mom. And Food.



The ranch cook. With Chris and Jerry.
Mom could make anything taste good.
And it didn't matter what she had going in her life, meals were always plentiful and on time.
She would serve a full, cooked breakfast of ham, eggs, pancakes and oatmeal, with lunch simmering on the stove and dinner baking in the oven so both meals could be produced quickly as soon as she got done gardening, cleaning or doing chores, got back from driving us kids to school, picking up whatever was needed from the hardware, the feed store, and the grocery, and attended one of her numerous Herefrord club meetings or quilting or sewing bees.
Sometimes I think about the scheduling nightmare that her life must have been.
Thinking about it makes me tired.
But back to the food . . .When Mom was 10 years old, she went with her dad and brothers up to the Berg family's 'other place' to cook while Grandpa and the boys brought in the hay crop.
She often described the little wood stove she used for her meals.
“It had the littlest oven,” she told me, “just big enough to fit in one pie.”
She was making pie???!
At ten years old???!
By herself???!
Okay, amazing just doesn't quite cover it.
By the time I was ten, I figured I was doing extremely well because I knew how to eat pie.
But I digress . . .
So, at the age of ten, she was doing all of the cooking for her father and three older brothers.
Well, she certainly learned how to cook.
Mom could open the fridge (that same fridge that one of us kids had just looked into and pronounced, 'empty'), and produce a hearty, rib-sticking meal.
In minutes.
And totally without the aid of a microwave.
Okay, she had all the modern conveniences. Electric stove. Running water.
Toaster.
Cheese Whiz. (But that is another story . . .)
But still, the meals she could produce.
Her roasts were works of gustatory art.Her pastries and pies had to be tasted to be believed.
Even her vegetables were unsurpassed by anything available in the vast dining world.
Mom could take cauliflower that she had grown and preserved (freezer – another story). Cook and serve it in such a manner that not a scrap was left over.
I tried it with my kids.
Somehow, when I prepared frozen cauliflower, it just came out . . . soggy.
And disgusting.
Oh, Mother, where art thou?
I did learn how to make her pies. But that was all.
To this day, my siblings and I contact each other regularly, asking if anyone knows the recipe for . . .
No one does.
When I cross over to the other side, it will be with a pen and paper in hand.
The first thing I will ask Mom will be, “What the heck is your recipe for your angel food cake topping?”
Notice I said 'heck'. That's because you can't use anything stronger in Heaven.
Where I know Mom is.
Probably cooking.
Sigh.

5 comments:

  1. Your Mom -- like my Grandma -- are indeed in heaven. In the kitchen, with a dish towel over one shoulder, and probably laughing...

    Oh, those meals, the joy and laughter, the smells of those kitchens.

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
  2. The gals could cook...that's for sure. Certain foods make me think of Mom (lemon meringue pie) Gram (home made breads and rolls) Grandma (turkey dinner).

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can smell the roast and pie from here!

    I love this line: "By the time I was ten, I figured I was doing extremely well because I knew how to eat pie." That was me at 10, also. Goodness knows, Mom tried with me, but it didn't "take" until I was out on my own!

    ReplyDelete
  4. OMG, this was a cute one and I loved the thoughts. In fact it all brought back a few memories of my Mom, her schedule and the things she made that are my comfort foods even now. I am missing my mom too.
    Blessings and hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  5. My goodness Diane, I just laughed so hard when you wrote the part about your mom being ten, backing pies... I had the same reaction WHAT??? lol... oh my, your mom sounds amazing <3

    ReplyDelete

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