Learning to Cook

By Dorothy Tweedt

Learning how to cook didn't come easy for me. If mother had a cook book I never saw it  Nor did she collect recipes. She didn't cook a variety of things, but what she cooked was so good.

My sister had Tuberculosis and this was before World War Two, so people with it were usually sent to Sanatoriums and many died there. My brother in-law  took my sister to Tucson, Arizona in hope she would get well. But that was not to be and when she got worse my mother went to Tucson to be with her. I was in high school and it was up to me to do the cooking, laundry and cleaning  for my two brothers, dad and myself.  I knew very little about cooking and when my brother asked me to make sweet rice for him, like mother did, I used a cup of raw rice for each of us and even went to the store for more rice. I started off with a small pot and kept putting the rice into several larger pots. I must say I have never seen that much cooked rice since.

My sister died and after mother returned she wanted us to move to Tucson  which we did. It was in Tucson I met my husband who was in the Air Force there.

Our first home was a one room.  I cooked on a hot plate and most of our furniture was apple crates. Then we bought a small trailer and I was overjoyed as there was a small tin over that you could place on the stove when you baked. I saw one like it in an antique shop a short time ago. No I didn't buy it. Now I could bake cakes, pies and even tried baking bread. Knowing very little about cooking and having no cookbook I had lots of failures.

We moved to a trailer park out in the desert  in Tucson and the man that picked up our trash every day would look and see what you threw away. He would fuss at us for throwing food away and tell us there were starving people in the world. He would tell other people what we had thrown away.

Our trailer had a window cooler that water ran through it and the ground under it was wet and easy to dig so I started burying my mistakes there.

Kenneth was home on week ends so I wanted to surprise him and bake a loaf of bread. I got a recipe from my neighbor. I waited hours and hours for it to rise so decided it was another failure. There wasn't any more room at the back of the trailer so I dug a hole by a fence in our small front yard.

Saturday morning Ken and I were at the table having a late breakfast and he was facing the window. All of a sudden, he jumped up and ran out the door saying, "Oh my gosh, what in the world is that."

I looked out the window and there coming out of the hot desert sand was a big white bubble. Our neighbor and a couple of other people were standing there looking at it and talking to each other. Our neighbor got something and hit it. I went out and confessed.

Anyway, with time, Ken's help and a few cookbooks I learned how to cook.