Learning to Cook

by Gill

I was taught how to cook by my mother and two grandmothers.  Both my parents worked, and as I had two younger brothers, I was often left in charge of them.  My mother was a super cook, as were both my grandmothers.  One worked as a cook at a local business, the other grew up on a farm, one of 13 children, so she knew how to turn her hand at anything.  Her Bramble (blackberry) Jelly was the best.
I took "Housecraft" (cooking), at school, hated it.  They taught you the basics, like scrambled eggs?????  Which to some of the girls who had never lifted a finger in the kitchen before was fine, but to others like myself, we were bored to tears.  Needless to say I only took the one year of classes.  I do wish though I had stuck with it, I remember the 5th year class making Christmas cakes, and they were gorgeous.  I do still use a couple of recipes from school, one especially, "Fresh Fruit Salad," its a dessert rather than a salad though.
After we got married, we had two children in quick succession, and in those days (early 80's) you tended to stay at home with the children.  So to make a little extra money, I started up a home baking business.  Bought an extra cooker and freezer, got a contract to supply a Bed and Breakfast house in the Lake District, in England, I think they also had a small cafe as well and did that for a little while.  I also hand wrote little notices and delivered them around town to people's houses, advertising home baking.  We lived in a town of around 2,000.  I also made birthday cakes for people......baking was "my thing."  A lot of elderly people used my service, as they would only want a few things, like 6 butterfly buns, or 6 rock buns, so I would make small quantities for them.
Those were great days.  Now although I love to cook and bake, with working full time I just don't get the time.  For my 40th birthday though this year I got the thing I have wanted for years, a Kitchenaid Mixer......in Almond.  However I just haven't had the time to use it.....probably only used it half a dozen times in the past six months.  Also since my children have started University there is only me and my husband at home, so rarely bake. 
I have changed the way we eat over the years though.  As we are British we love anything in a pastry case or pie shell.  I don't remember when the last time we had a pie.  We tend to eat a lot differently now, that may be because we live in Canada, and its more multicultural where we live.  Potatoes was also a staple when we lived in Britain, and although its something we eat a lot of here, pasta is also a main staple for us.