Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Kitchen Lessons I Have Learned From Great Grandma; part 1


Celebrating 90 years.

I am one of those fortunate people who had the opportunity to know my great-grandparents. Our family would take the two hour drive to Lake Orion every Sunday for a visit. They also took us kids (usually separately) for a whole week during the summer.

Great Grandma was a wise woman. Additionally, like most people from her generation; she knew her way around the kitchen. For the next 4 weeks I plan to post lessons I have learned from that simple and inviting kitchen in the city.

Here goes, the first lesson:

Shortly after I learned to read, I became more interested in helping in the kitchen. Mom, dad, and grandparents all received my “help”. One summer while staying my week with Grandma and Grandpa, Grandma had decided it was time I learn how to make pancakes.

We were having breakfast on the picnic table. The neighbors and their children were invited. So you can imagine the honor I felt receiving the opportunity to make most important part of breakfast, the pancakes.

Grandma handed me the 3x5 index card, covered with her beautiful scrawl. I immediately started getting out ingredients, bowls, and utensils. I knew what I was doing, I have helped Grandma, and mom and dad (who both learned how to make pancakes from this very woman, in this very kitchen).

I measured and poured. I stirred and mixed. I cooked and flipped. All the while Grandma looked over my shoulder with a proud smile on her face, letting me do my thing.

We all sat down at the picnic table in the backyard. There were at least 8 of us. Everyone dove in, putting a pancake on their plate. Smoothing butter (the real stuff, no Can’t Believe in this house), drizzling with syrup. I did the same, cut off a piece, and took a bite.

YUCK! This was my very loud internal thought. I looked around at everyone else, waiting for their horrified reactions.

No reactions were to be seen or heard. In fact, I was told “good breakfast.” I did observe additional syrup going on all the pancakes though….

After breakfast, while cleaning up I asked Grandma why the pancakes tasted so bad. I did use her recipe, and they tasted nothing like the pancakes I was used to.

Grandma let out a little chuckle. “You didn’t read the recipe.” she went on to explain that I put salt in for sugar, and vice versa.

“Why didn’t you say anything?”

“If I stopped you, the same mistake will be made in the future. Now, you will always read the recipe thoroughly.”

“Why did everyone still eat them, and even say they were good?”

Although there were many kitchen lessons learned during this experience, here’s the most important lesson I took from that day:

“They were gobbling up the love you put into those pancakes, not the salty flapjacks. Besides, any meal you don’t have to cook yourself is a good meal.” Grandma is very intelligent…and matter-of-fact.

What is your earliest memory in the kitchen? Any life lessons learned?


  1. How nice to have great grandparents. I think I have always loved to cook and help out in the kitchen. One of my early disasters (aged about 8), however, was trying to make salad dressing with the brine from olives which I thought was olive oil. More successful experiences were with cakes and chocolate chip cookies.

    1. Mmmm, cake and cookies, my favorite! Wow, you were an ambitious 8 year old, I don't think I know what olive brine is. (Is it the juice in the jar of olives?) Anyways, glad to see I'm not alone. Thanks for stopping by.