I don't know if all little girls go through this stage, but when I was little I always wanted to help with cooking in the kitchen.
Always. Like, every single time always. Like, no matter what was cooking always.
The typical answer I received from my mother was, "When you're older", or "Maybe next year". Then if that wouldn't suffice she would assign me the simplest task possible, one that even my baby brothers could do, such as take the milk out of the fridge. Now as I am currently the older version of that little girl, I don't blame my mom one iota. Cooking can be stressful enough that no one needs the complication of adding a five-year-old into the equation.
What a wonderful conjunction 'but' is. It lets you know that what will follow is going to contrast the preceding thought. And hopefully, it will take you from a thought of something not so swell to something that is.
But, not for Gram.
When I step into the room above my mind floods with the fond memories of being a little girl in Gram's kitchen. The space is not abundant, the floor carpeted, the dining room just a few steps away, but Gram has always made the best of it.
The second anyone enters her home Gram offers to cook them up a meal catered specifically to their preferences. In fact, she gets frustrated when people don't want to eat.
When my brothers and I am there she creates a regular smorgasboard consisting of anything from homemade chicken tenders, meatballs, popcorn shrimp, pizza, steak sandwiches, grilled cheese, steaks, french fries, spaghetti...
Spaghetti is etched in my memories of cooking with Gram. She would always let me break the spaghetti noodles in half and then put them in the pot for her. Every time, guaranteed, there would be a mixture of uncooked one inch noodle pieces, half noodle pieces, and full noodles scattered about the floor.
She never complained.
She never yelled.
She always laughed.
She always stayed good humored.
Today I try to actually help her, but I'm always blown away at how independent she is in the kitchen. She has dozens of things going on at once, yet gets it all done flawlessly. Every burner on the stove is in use, the stove baking, the microwave warming, the toaster oven toasting, and there is Gram among it all. Calmly moving about with such a lady like presence to her the whole time as she cooks and manages to keep her kitchen neat and clean. Not at all like me when I cook.
I'm sweaty, I've peeled off layers of clothes until I'm just about down to my skivvies, and if you talk to me I let out a raptor scream. That's just me. My kitchen? It looks like a war zone. The table is covered with remnants of what is on or in the stove, the sink is piled over with dishes probably from yesterday's dinner (or....the day's before that, or the day's before that), and sauces and spices drip from every surface I've touched.
Yes, my Gram inspires me.
- She inspires me to be willing to cook for anyone who enters my home.
- She inspires me to do the best with what I have.
- She inspires me to practice patience and learn to be peaceful as I'm giving all my concentration to my cooking.
- She inspires me to want to do better than last time.
- She inspires me to be more lady like and proper, to use the good plates even when I'm only cooking an impromptu lunch for my brothers.
Bottom line: My Gram is awesome. I'm working on a deal with God so that she will live forever.