free the pen, a blog for writers

June 20, 2017

In the Kitchen

Filed under: memoir — freethepen @ 2:35 pm
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Nana I would venture to say that almost all of us have memories of being with someone in the kitchen. Here is mine:

My Nana was a fabulous pie maker. One afternoon, as we sat at the table gabbing, she started making my favorite pie: lemon meringue. I must have been around 17. I got a pad and pencil and begin to document her recipe as she dropped pinches of flour, sugar, baking soda into the bowl. Each time I wrote down an ingredient, she would add another pinch, then another. It was impossible to get the recipe accurately. I asked her how she knew she needed more ingredients but she’d just laugh and tell me, “I just know.” In a separate bowl she dropped in the egg whites, white sugar and with a wooden spoon began to rapidly beat the mixture. The meringue was always peak-perfect, and not too sweet and not too tart. She worked hard at making her pies. And everyone in the family knew Nana’s pies were the best. In fact, she made them for a restaurant below her apartment and the customers went crazy for them.

I told her that I used an electric beater and Duncan Hines mixes and I didn’t have to guess at the amount of ingredients. Everything was perfectly measured in a box. I told her the next time she came over I would show her how I made a cake.

She sat in my kitchen a few days later. I opened a box of Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix. I poured the dry ingredients into a bowl, added an egg, easy peasy. Right? I got out my electric blender and plugged it in bragging about modern life and how easy it was. Nana watched shaking her head, laughing. She liked doing it her way. It didn’t seem right to be making a cake my way. I started paying more attention to my point about how quickly her egg whites would peak if she only . . . then it happened. Inadvertently, the beaters rose above the cake mix causing the batter on the beaters to fly out in a three-feet circumference. Nana covered her face with her hands as chocolate batter covered her face, hair, dress, and arms.

“I’ll do it my way,” she exclaimed.

I couldn’t argue with her.

Keep your pen moving,

Jan

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