“The only thing that will make a souffle fall is if it knows you’re afraid of it.”

Today is warmer than it has been which is good as I have a few errands to do. The cats need dry food, and I need bread, life’s essentials for the cats and me. I did vacuum and dust a bit yesterday so I have a small sense of accomplishment.

I didn’t even know how to work the washing machine my freshman year in college. The bell went off once, and the machine wouldn’t work no matter what buttons I pushed. The idea of an uneven load never entered my head. I didn’t even know the load could be uneven, unbalanced. I ended up pulling out the clothes and wringing them by hand before putting them into the dryer. When I mentioned the bell to my mother, she explained about redistributing the clothes in the drum. I was thinking we should have had a laundry lesson before I left.

My junior year in college I had an apartment. My roommate and I had been classmates starting in the first grade and all the way through except for the year on the Cape. She had always worked to put herself through school. She was one of those waitresses who could heft full trays. Her right arm had more muscles than her left. She could cook anything, and I was amazed. I could cook things like eggs, hot dogs or hamburgers, but that was it. She even made meatloaf and gravy, onion gravy. I was more than happy to do the dishes if she cooked.

I was mostly inept when it came to household stuff. I never did laundry, never cooked and didn’t even have to make my bed. My mother did it all. That made apartment living an adventure. Learning to clean was easy. Learning to cook took a bit more time, but I got good at it.

Being in Africa was a test of sorts. I had to survive without machines or devices including an oven and a washing machine and dryer. My wringing skills came to bear on wash day, all done by hand. I ate mostly chicken with a sauce. The meal was cooked over a charcoal fire and the sauce was usually made from tomatoes and onions, the two most plentiful veggies. I did a little frying as well. I was spreading my culinary wings.

Nothing fazed me after Africa. I conquered the wash and kitchen duties and could cook just about anything. I was never to be afraid to try. That was the best part of it all. I had some failures, the bagels come to mind, but the successes were delicious, still are.

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20 Comments on ““The only thing that will make a souffle fall is if it knows you’re afraid of it.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    Across KTCC land Powerball fever has taken grip – $700 million will be scooped up by some lucky KTCC subscriber.

    Over cornflakes this morning, Mrs MDH and I were discussing, rather un-uniquely, what we plan to do with our new found fortune. 75% to charity says Mrs MDH, buy a football team and take them to the Premier League says I.

    Perhaps within the World of KTCC I would arrange for a Judy Collins private event, with Mike Love as the opening act. The possibilities are endless.

    Guess I should probably buy a ticket

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I also dream of how I will spend the money, but then I never buy a ticket, but I can still dream! I have decided I will give my sisters each a hefty sum of money, start a college fund for my grandniece and grand nephews, donate sums to my favorite charities and travel the world to see all the countries on my wishI could go there list.

      I love your KTCC way to spend the money!!

  2. Richard Says:

    Hmm. The Mississippi River is close to cresting tomorrow and we have rain on the way … then it’s supposed to get cold after Friday. The most puzzling thing is that people are actually possessed of the belief that they can magically ‘Do something!’ about any of it. What they can do is watch.

    I’ll have a dry day for my physical therapy first visit, tho’, so there’s that. With luck, it’ll be the only visit I make to ’em. No matter how much this stuff hurts, I have to remember I’m the one who caused it by not following proper form. When it’s all better, I’ll have to figure out a way to get my foot to kick myself … yes, ‘there.’

    You said ‘uneven load.’ Whoa. I had one of those just a few days ago. Used to be that I’d stop the machine, rebalance things, and set it to spinnin’ again. No longer. It just spins and makes noise and then stops to refill before spinning a second time. One of these days it may go thru a wall. I’ll make sure to take pictures.

    All of my roommates – as well as my own self – cooked. One of ’em had an absolutely great recipe for what he called ‘Frickin’ Chicken,’ and it involved the use of a pressure cooker. I will not use one of those devices. I know – I’m a Luddite, right? I don’t trust ’em. It’s a pressure vessel. I could get ‘Frickin’ Chicken’ all over my kitchen if it goeth ‘Boom!’ I’ll stick with the Tried and True methods of frying, boiling, blanching, roasting, sautéeing, etc. Worst that can happen there is some hot oil spatters on me – I can deal with that.

    It wasn’t ’til I was in college that I had to learn how much I had to learn about being all ‘independent.’ Laundry, for example. I’d ‘helped’ with it at home, but had never done it from start to finish. It was only at the end of the process when folding and putting away was done that I was involved. That all ended kind abruptly. My college Introduction to Laundry 101 also included how to use a laundromat’s machinery – and the pay slots for same. If y’ forgot to bring your own detergent, then y’ paid the outrageous prices the little wall-mounted dispensers were set for. We were all quick learners.

    The chicken meals in Africa actually sound pretty good. Charcoal-roasted, tomato ‘n onion sauce … what’s not to like? Sounds like the experience broadened your culinary horizons, and that’s always a good thing. My horizons haven’t expanded far enough to include bagels on the ‘like’ list, tho’ … Naan bread, yes; bagels, no. I like the lox part, tho’.

    From the ‘And Now For Something Completely Different’ Dept.:

    Wanna know what happened on your birthdate throughout history … ? Here ya go:

    http://www.onthisday.com/events/january/1

    Just change “january/1” to your date and … VIOLA!

    • katry Says:

      Richard,
      I hope the Mississippi behaves itself and stays within its banks. You have first hand knowledge of flooding and destruction so your advice is scary but real.

      I haven’t ever used a pressure cooker. My brother used one to make hummus, and my mother used one when we were young, but I never had the urge to buy or use one.

      College too was where I learned to be more independent. All those household chores I had avoided I learned to master though reluctantly. I didn’t mind doing them in Africa. I wasn’t deprived. Everyone did the same.

      I ate foods from all over. Indian became a favorite, and I still love Lebanese food. I ate in small chop bars and bought food sold along the food. I did get tired of tomatoes and onions and yam, tuber yam not sweet potatoes. There are only so many ways to cook them on a small round charcoal burner.

      Okay, my birthday was not exciting. This is it: The Radcliffe Line, the border between Union of India and Dominion of Pakistan is revealed.

  3. Coleen Says:

    You have just described my college experiences in this post. The difference is I have never really learned to cook. I always say the microwave is my best friend…

    Having Mike Piazza in the Baseball Hall of Fame is sweet…friends and I are planning a road trip to Cooperstown, and I am excited! It has been a long time since my last road trip!

    A nice day here…waving…

    Coleen

    • katry Says:

      Coleen,
      I love to cook now and especially like cooking something I’ve not tried before. My friends know they are Guinea pigs of a sort. I cut recipes from the paper and every now and then go through them to decided on a meal for friends.

      Have a great trip. I love road trips!

  4. olof1 Says:

    I learned how to cook and the washing machine quite early, the cooking was a necessity if I ever wanted something actually edible 🙂

    It is getting less cold here and it has snowed some, I even heard them plowing the road a few minutes ago but I don’t think we’ve gotten more than an inch or so. the snow ammount predictions vary by the hour it seems, so it can be anyt6hing from very little to small hills of snopw falling this weekend 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      My mother was a good cook, and I was happy to leave the kitchen to her and the laundry and the cleaning as well.

      It was in the low 40’s here today and will stay warm until the weekend when it will get cold again. The dusting of snow is gone, and there are no terms in the forecast.

      Enjoy your evening!

  5. Beto Says:

    I saw this and thought of you…there are minute and a half blank spots where the commercials were cut out…

    • katry Says:

      Beto,
      I don’t ever remember Lightfoot looking so young. This film is a treasure trove-thanks for thinking of me. I have watched about 1/3 but will definitely finish it.

      His voice got better, stronger with some of his later hits.

  6. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I’m like Christer. I learned to cook in self defense. My mother was not good at it being of the philosophy that all meat must be cooked until it’s grey in the middle and all the veggies grey and mushy throughout.
    She could bake like a boss, though.

    She also had a theory that children should be taught to use the washing machine and the stove as soon as they were tall enough to reach the buttons. When we had the old wringer washer we were not tall enough. After it died, my parents didn’t get a new washer for several years. We had to go to the laundromat every week and there was where we learned to do laundry. I hate laundromats to this very day.
    My brothers and I were so happy to do our own laundry when we finally got a new washing machine.
    If I were of a suspicious nature, I might think my mother planned it that way. 🙂

    It’s grey, damp and chilly up here at the moment. Nobody really wants to go outside. Rocky and Piki Dog are crashed out on the couch. Piki is yipping at something in his dreams.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I probably would have learned even if I didn’t go to Africa, but that’s where I had no choice. There were no bakeries so I started making cookies whenever we got gas (100 miles away and nearly 3 hours each way) usually around Christmas time. They were cook so I was hooked.

      I figured out how to turn the washing machine on but the bell wasn’t part of the regular cycle so I was stumped until my mother explained.

      Yesterday was an ugly day. It was cold and damp here as well.

      Have fun today!


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