I blog about healthy meals here, but there’s a catch. You need to know how to cook them.


No Help Here

I had three months between graduation and my wedding day, and had never made a meal in my life.

“Mom, are you going to teach me how to cook?”

She looked up from her book, her eyebrows raised. “Cook! If you can read, you can cook.” Her face brightened. “Let’s shop for your trousseau.”

That was my mom, thoroughly modern Matilda, for her time. She must have been a wonderful reader because she became a splendid cook. But it was not always thus.

During World War II

Mom and Dad were newlyweds during the last years of World War II. Dad’s first stateside posting was in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He lived in the barracks and Mom shared a cottage on base with Ann, another soldier’s wife.

Now my paternal grandfather, who died before I was born, was a police detective. I’m told he was one of those grumpy types, like a cop with no patience and sore feet. Mom said he was rather sweet, in an awkward sort of way.

Since Dad was still stateside, he decided to visit them. The first thing Grandpa Charles did when he arrived was to declare he had a yen for a home-made apple pie. My mother was terrified.

“Ann, I don’t know how to make a pie. What should I do?”

“I don’t know. He’s your father-in-law.”

Mom grabbed Ann’s cookbook and followed the directions. She did a fairly good job of rolling the dough into thin circles on the newspaper she had spread out.

“Fortunately, the newsprint disappeared by the time the pie was baked,” she would say every time she recounted the story of her first apple pie.


Personally, I believe that’s what bakeries are for.

And you don’t want to know about her pea soup and pressure cooker caper.