Cooking With an Attitude

Cooking With an Attitude

Chefs & Experts

Cooking With an Attitude

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When my son was in fifth or sixth grade, he had an enterprising teaching team who created a class cookbook. They solicited parents to submit recipes and type them in selected categories. They obtained a bank loan for the advance printing, and set up a student management team to handle the logistics of the project. Class artists designed the cover and decorated the divider pages. It was a great teaching tool that gave students lessons in entrepreneurship, financing, project management and creativity.

In the years since then, we’ve referred to our copy frequently to remember the family recipes that were favorites of the kids when they were young. The most worn, stained and splattered recipe is the one for chocolate chip cookies, a reminder of a time when kids passed in and out of our house on weekends for a cookie and, often, a listening ear and a piece of advice.

(I also discovered recently that at least one of the moms wasn’t quite so big into homemaking. “We went through magazines,” she confessed, “and pulled out ones that looked interesting. I never actually made any of them.”)

Today, I pulled out a box from the garage and started to load it with some things to take to that same son, who is now moving into his first solo apartment after dorm life. I scrounged around for extra sauce pans, that second iced tea maker we no longer need without teenagers around, and other kitchen tools that would serve him better now than they do me. As I counted my cooling racks (seven) and cookie sheets (five), and laid some of each aside for him, I remembered the cookbook.

You see, when his class made that cookbook so many years ago, they sold the completed work back to parents and friends. In a surge of support, we bought enough to outfit the whole family and ended up with one that I put away, thinking, ‘Maybe he’ll want this someday.’

He is, after all, the young man who learned to make a complicated jambalaya in high school home ec, and treated his family to a wonderful meal one weekend. He’s the one who would bake something to take to impromptu potlucks, and who would sometimes have dinner started – if not ready – when his family got home from work.

It was great satisfaction to us both when, in his current job in a research hospital, his mentoring doctor told him, “Researchers who know how to cook make the best scientists. They understand following a recipe, and know what the instructions mean.” My son IM’d me one day to tell me that the instructions for one project actually used the word “mince.”

Anyway, I went to the downstairs storage room and hunted through its shelves until I found the archived cookbook. Maybe he’ll get a kick out of making the recipes that were family favorites of his long ago classmates. Maybe he’ll actually make one of those recipes that was randomly clipped from a magazine. Maybe he’ll even make some of the things that he loved his mom to make.

I guess someday is here.

Selected Recipes:

Peach Crumb Cake

Most Requested Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chicken & Stuffing Casserole

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