Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cooking. In Heaven

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, doing chores, driving us kids to school, picking up whatever was needed from the hardware/feed store/grocery, or attending one of her numerous Hereford club meetings/quilting/sewing bees.
Sometimes I contemplate 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???!
In a - gasp - wood stove???!
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 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 frozen. 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.
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.
Cooking.
*  *  *

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10 comments:

  1. Your mother and my mother were related.
    Trying to achieve a fraction of what she did day after day after day gives me a big attack of the inadequacies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And nothing makes me scratch like an attack of the inadequacies . . . Sigh.

      Delete
  2. I sure would have loved to have tasted her food, especially the pie!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love this line: "By the time I was ten, I figured I was doing extremely well because I knew how to eat pie." Me, too.

    I know you got the pie-making gene, though - or should I say the Pi(e)-making gene. We've seen the pictures!

    How did our moms do all that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We do love our pi(e)! I know. Just thinking about all they did makes me need a nap!

      Delete
  4. Being able to cook like that is such a gift. I do not have it, but my husband does. And I'm only too happy to eat everything he makes!

    ReplyDelete
  5. My mum wasn't such a great cook, but she could put a roast on the table that had everyone coming back for seconds and thirds. If chocolate cake was required, I got the job. Mum's always came out too dry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like a great team to me! Your Mom for the main course and you for the dessert! :)

      Delete

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