The sound of excited voices echoed throughout the kitchen. Little hands pressed out cookies. Grandma complained about the kitchen being a mess–same as every year. I knew she never meant it. Some of the snowmen cookies had a garish “Picassoesque” appearance. The process guided by a Grandmother’s loving hands. She was fair, but firm. Any disputes were quickly mediated and concluded. Older grandchildren helped the little ones. It was all in good fun. Oddly shaped cookies with extra sprinkles tasted just as delicious as “normal” ones.
Cooking is an expression of love. My expanding waistline tells me, perhaps I’m loved too much? Good cooks memorize recipes. When asked, my wife replies, “Oh, I don’t write anything down.” “I just put in a pinch of this and a dash of that.” She knows what ingredients, in the right proportions, taste good together. All our children and grandchildren have favorite dishes. My wife goes out of her way to prepare requested favorites when we visit. I tease by saying she’s taking the kitchen with her. Some favorites are homemade vegetable soup, swiss steak, smothered chicken breasts, mini-meat loaves.
My future bride was amused by this bumbling bachelor’s gastronomic forays. Some of which she refused–with good reason. It may have been my canned tuna, green bean, tomato surprise casserole topped liberally with cheese. Over the years, my culinary skills have been sharpened. For several years, we worked different schedules. My responsibility was preparing the evening meal. I came up with my own recipes. Sometimes it was wise not to reveal all the ingredients. Chef’s secrets, and all that, you know. The few catastrophes were due to my creative spirit run amok.
Most guys are content to stick with outdoor grilling. It’s hard to beat a good steak. My speciality is grilled honey-orange, marinated, bone-in, chicken breasts. I’m breaking tradition to pass along one of my “secret recipes.” Not to worry, there were no barriers broken down–no frontiers crossed. My “Sweet and Sour Coleslaw” recipe has never been written down. Quantities are estimated to the best of my ability. I’m a guy, I believe in keeping things simple. There are no “exotic” ingredients.
Sweet and Sour Coleslaw
One regular sized head of cabbage, coarsely chopped, red cabbage adds color
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery, (may be deveined if desired)
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 large shredded sweet onion, (Vidalia or equivalent)
-Thoroughly mix dry ingredients-
Prepared Italian dressing, (Liptons, Kraft, or equivalent)
Use one third bottle, add more later, if necessary
Red wine vinegar, two dashes, (1 teaspoon)
Dill weed, (2 pinches)
Celery seeds, (1 pinch)
Garlic powder, (1 tablespoon, or two crushed cloves)
Thoroughly mix wet and dry ingredients
Taste test for proper sweet-sour balance
I prefer slight sourness over sweetness
I don’t add sugar, but that’s a personal thing
Carrots have natural sweetness that comes through
Adding some tart apple pieces would add interest
Marinate in the refrigerator overnight
Peace! Love! Enjoy!