I once mentioned that my aunt Ethel was a so-so cook. Let me be the first to say — No, in her house they did not have Alka-Seltzer or any antacid on tap.
Yet, at her house on Thanksgiving when her husband passed the gravy, he would say, “One lump or two?”
Not saying her coffee was bad — but I once heard my uncle say “I’ll take cream but skip the coffee.”
She knew her culinary labor was something less than to be desired. She once whispered that she never tasted food while she cooked it. She might lose her nerve to serve it.
Aunt Ethel once swore us kids to secrecy, that she passed a meal off as homemade when she really got everything from the delicatessen. Shortly before the guests sat down, she had the timer on the stove go off.
When I was first married, she advised me to buy packages that did not have pictures on how it’s suppose to look. Once her turkey looked just like the picture in a book, but it tasted like one of the pages.
Speaking of recipes, she told me, “If your husband asked to get a recipe for something that is served—don’t try fixing it at home for a least a year.” Makes sense to me. This way he’s forgotten what it should taste like.
I’m not saying anything that isn’t already publicly known. I once heard my father say, “If this is the way she cooks for friends, I’d hate to see how she cooks for enemies.”
Memories of my Aunt Ethel’s cooking will stay with me forever. The best advice she ever gave me: “When a recipe says wash fowl. Don’t use the dishwasher.”
I wonder how she knew this one