Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's All About the Food. And My Mom

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.
I've said it before, I'll say it again . . .
She was a saint.
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, 'saint' 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.
Mmmm.
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 caluiflower, 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 eachother 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.

1 comment:

  1. Too bad you don't have her recipes:(. My husband is always saying his Mom made the best this or that but no one in the family have her recipes either:(. So he has to suffer thru my cooking which sound about like yours (soggy cabbage):)

    ReplyDelete

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