I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to cook. When small, I used to climb up on a chair and watch my grandmother making Poor Soup or red beans or breaded tomatoes. “How come you put that in there?” I’d ask, wondering at the giant scoop of bacon grease that went into just about every savory dish. “There’s nothing like bacon grease for bringing out flavor,” Grandma would say. I’ve thanked the Lord a hundred times that no one knew anything about cholesterol back then. I can only imagine what I would have missed.
Grandma was the one to teach me to cook. As she got older and I got tall enough to ignore the chair, more of the cooking duties fell to me. By the time rheumatoid arthritis had her firmly in its grip, all she’d have to say was, “Wouldn’t scones be good today, Honey?” or “Boy, I’ve got a hankering for Rosettes,” and off I’d go.
What I wouldn’t give to hear about one of her hankerings just one more time.
Besides being grateful to Grandma for sharing her love of cooking with me, I’m also thankful that she taught me the most important of kitchen tips: Clean up as you go.
Doesn’t that sound simple? And it really is, but for some reason, not everyone does it. If I could sit down with every young bride, every starting-out-new cook, this would be the one bit of advice I’d share (aside from a given: don’t be afraid to deviate from a recipe. Experiment until it tastes good to you.).
If you don’t already have this bit of wisdom tucked away in that brain of yours, start today. Go ahead and get the salt down to measure out a bit for your soup … and then put it away. Pull the flour down from the cupboard. You can’t make biscuits without it. But the second you’ve spooned that one and a half cups into your bowl, put the flour away. You might as well take a second to wipe up that light coat of dust you scattered in the process.
Clean up as you go. It works well with relationships, too.