What do you do when you’re in the 6th grade and have 2 hours to kill between the time you get off the bus and the time your mom gets home from work? Yep. You watch tv.
And what do you watch when it’s 1983 and your parents didn’t have cable and 2-13 was it? You watch General Hospital (because NOBODY watched CBS, c’mon!) and switch to Julia Child and The Frugal Gourmet on PBS at commercials – withOUT a remote.
So, when I wasn’t learning about life, love and the pursuit of all manner of illicit activities with Luke and Laura and the Quartermaines (don’t throw stones, I still watch…. ), I learned how to make souffles and omelets and coq au vin and crepes and anything else Julia and Jeff would show me. I was entranced by the Great Chefs of Chicago, New York, San Francisco. Amazing as it was, though, I knew I’d never cook like those pros.
That was fine though…. I had no desire to waste my adulthood by slaving over a hot stove. Actually, at that point, I had no IDEA how hot it was in a professional kitchen. They all looked so cool and calm on tv! So far from the truth, so very, very far – which I learned in my early 30s when I finally got the balls to work in a real restaurant.
Thankfully, even at 12, my parents were encouraging and gave me the freedom to explore the world of food no matter what the results were. Of course, the fact that I was home alone babysitting my little brother on a Friday night left the doors WIDE OPEN for me to make whatever caught my eye in my now-treasured and very worn hand-me-down copy of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (yes, the one with the red and white checked cover). Don’t tell Mom – she still thinks it’s at her house!
I’m pretty sure they didn’t mind because anything worthwhile was kept and they (or at least Dad) enjoyed it Saturday. Anything that didn’t quite look like the picture, or had some funky aftertaste or that even the DOG wouldn’t eat, went in the trash and the dishes were promptly cleaned up and stashed before anyone was the wiser. I won’t mention that dozen eggs that was lost when a speck of yolk made it into my angel food cake and those damn whites wouldn’t get stiff [*snicker*]. Mom still thinks she forgot to get eggs that week. And I’m not going to tell her any different.
My mom still jokes about me getting up on many a Saturday morning and deciding I wanted toast for breakfast…. so I baked a few loaves of bread. From scratch. And finally had my toast at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.
I guess that’s kind of a good analogy for what I’m doing here. You want something comforting and delicious and satisfying, so you work for it and you make it happen. Is it absurd to undertake something enormously challenging, especially if it takes quite a while and many steps to get there? Absolutely not. I think the end result is worth it most of the time. A lot of hard work, some time and perseverance, and you’ve fulfilled a dream!
And what could be better than home-baked bread, toasted and slathered in butter?
All Contents © Kasha Bialas 2010