Cooking Tips I Learned From My Mom: A Master of Improvisation by Melissa Vickers
My mom was a very good cook. She wasn’t a “gourmet” by any standard, but she knew how to cook a tasty and generally healthy meal.
Here are some of the cooking tips I learned from her:
- A recipe is a starting point, not a mandate. Thinking back, there are few times I can recall Mom actually getting out a cookbook and following a recipe. The one exception might be when she’d make a lemon meringue pie and needed the directions for the lemon custard part.
- Improvise – either out of necessity or curiosity! Mom wasn’t afraid to experiment. Some of that probably dates back to growing up during the depression and through WWII rationing. Her dad was a baker, an amazingly creative thinker who kept his bakery running even during sugar rationing!
- Don’t be afraid to experiment! This is really a corollary to No. 2. Sometimes she’d substitute ingredients because she was out of what she needed. Sometimes an idea would hit her out of the blue and she’d try it out. If it turned out well, she’d add it to her (mental) bag of recipes, or if it wasn’t so great, she’d tweak it and try again.
- “Company” dinners don’t have to be Lobster Newburg and Baked Alaska to impress guests for dinner. Her favorite company meal was tuna casserole recipe. Inexpensive, easy to prepare and tasty. My mom’s philosophy for company was to make them feel at home, and that goes well beyond what is on the table.
What I wouldn’t give for another home-cooked meal prepared by my mom!
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