Monday, February 06, 2012

Paul's serving bowl of Shepherd's Stew- compared to John's more reasonable portion.  Shepherd's Stew= a thick venison stew with onions, english peas and carrots served over mashed potatoes.  Garlic drop biscuits on the side.
"She boils vegetables!"

My Mom-in-law was never known for her cooking efforts or skills.  It just wasn't her thing.  I don't recall her ever saying she disliked it.  But I do recall that everything was cooked at the highest heat attainable on a gas range and the oven was used as dish storage.  When Will and I married, she soon realized that I enjoyed cooking and did so on a regular basis.  I've never been into froo-frooery and so a fancy cook I'm not.  But I try real hard to make sure no one pushes away from the table hungry.  I think she was impressed with my skills because I soon heard her say, "Nina is such a good cook!  She boils vegetables!"  And if you knew my mother-in-law, you'd know that if she said something once, she said it a hundred times.  Upon her announcement of my stellar accomplishment of boiled vegetables, people would ohhh and ahhh... and give me the strangest looks.  It was awkward as I haven't any idea what they were thinking.  "How does boiling vegetables make her a good cook?"  "Is this some kind of family joke?"  After a couple years of this strange compliment, when it just didn't die away, I asked her to refrain, stating that she was easily pleased and other folks may not comprehend the depth of her affection for my "boiled vegetables."  Within a few more years, she felt brave enough to attempt boiling vegetables under my watchful tutelage.  Put potatoes, onions, carrots, and cabbage wedges into a big pot.  Cover with water, sock the lid on and boil.  Salt and pepper to taste, add butter and voila!  Boiled vegetables!  Youda thought she'd created a culinary masterpiece!  "I always wondered how you made the soupy part!"  Yep, secret ingredient- water.  Kinda crucial when ya boil things.  And I will never forget how she treasured that "soupy part."  She would recycle that stuff for a week- boiling other vegetables, like green beans in it!  (But I'm proud to say I have never boiled a green bean- it's already quite dead and it seems just plain cruel to torture it further.  In WV, we cook our beans until they are "dry" with a little chopped onion and garlic and, if you're feeling froo-frooey, bacon grease.)

So, today, I boiled vegetables.  Made me smile and weepy all at the same time.  It was quite tasty- glad to know I haven't lost my gourmet touch!  

3 comments:

Sarah N. said...

I can just see Doris complimenting you on your boiled vegetables!! TOo funny!

Sitting here watching Castle with the kids - thanks to Lisa! Actually they are finishing up some "homemade popcorn" and then heading to bed. That would be homemade vs. microwave!

Can you come help me clean up my sewing room? It looks like a tornado came thru!

Miss you and love you!

Sarah

Peni said...

Cooked vegetables, i.e. cabbage/carrots/onions/taters, always reminds me of childhood ... just can't decide whether to take a cornbread or biscuits turn with them. BTW, we are enjoying John so much he may never get back home:)

Isobel said...

Okay lets try this again....new computer and it does not know my account name or password and it sometimes takes me a few minutes to remember. Your mom and dad will eventually get tired...not tired of John, just tired and you will get him back. Mom once wanted my kids to come for a visit but I was teaching and could not take them down for a normal week long, or so, visit. She suggested meeting me halfway to pick them up so we did that. About 5 weeks later when we went to pick them she was absolutely ready to let me have them back.....oddly enough she never suggested that again.