THE ULTIMATE COOK

a writing by Nancy Ellen Crossland


Mom always wore a freshly starched apron. It seems in those days everything was starched; pillowcases, sheets, blouses,doiles, tablecloths and napkins. No clothes dryer either. Everything was hung in the outdoors fluttering in the wind and scented by the sun. The only time the basement served as the clothes dryer was when it was raining or snowing outside.

Ah, the memories of those simpler times. No fast food. Heavens no! There was a very rare occasion when A & W provided a super hamburger, fries and frosty mug of root beer in the summertime. Now - that was a treat! No, mom was the ultimate cook, with apron donned each day ready to stir up all those comfort foods and then some! Pot roasts simmering,porkchops sizzling, chickens stewing with those all familar dumplings plopped and floating over the chicken.
There was always a pot of barley soup, chicken noodle soup or pea soup ready to be shared with a neighbor. Mom was always the ultimate neighbor too.

Shall I even begin to extol the wonders of her baking! Where do I begin! From lemon meringue to cherry pie and every type in between. She was legend! Apple strudel, pound cake, coffee cakes and cookies - especially at Christmas time were both a treat for the eyes and the palate. Fortunately, as very active children, we were never overweight - too many outdoor activites. She seemed to be the most happy when she was cooking and baking and sharing the bounty with others. I would attribute her qualities from my grandmother who was born in Slovenia and brought the richness and flavor of what she had learned to this country. Mom learned so much from her and developed her own style and flair as well.

Mom's birthday is always around Mother's Day so fitting for this very special day to recognize all mothers everywhere. I could not miss this time to recognize those unique qualities that have been passed on. Both my sister and I embrace the "apron". Though not starched and worn daily. memories of Mom are always there. Each time a special meal is served or familar dish, we are reminded so lovingly of our mom, the "Ultimate Cook."

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