Monday, June 14, 2010

The First Food I Ever Cooked: A Walk Down Memory Lane

When I was young I received a cookbook from a teacher friend of my mother's, Mrs. Espy.  She taught high school English.   I have tried in vain to find this cookbook, as I know I would never give it away, but to no avail.  The cookbook was especially for kids, and used kitchen appliances such as the toaster oven, the "fry-daddy" and maybe the "Presto" hamburger maker - remember those?

Mrs. Espy had gone through the cookbook and written little notes in red pen, such as "These sound delicious!"  "I can't wait to try these!"  And next to some recipes, she just drew a smiley face.  This was my first experience with a cookbook, and especially one of my own.   The recipe I remember making was Biscuit Pizzas, and I think I remember it went something like this:

1 can of refrigerator biscuits
tomato sauce

Pat out biscuit dough until it forms a flat round.  Top with tomato sauce and cheese.  Place in toaster oven (or real oven) for time recommended on biscuit can.

That's it!  

In honor of Mrs. Espy, I made them again, but "doctored" them up a little.  They were a big hit with the hubby, and I'm sure P-Nugget will like helping make them when she's big enough.

Mrs. Espy was a very nice lady, and when she passed away, there was an auction for some of her belongings.  My mother acquired some Southern Living cookbooks from the auction, and sure enough, Mrs. Espy had written little notes on the pages.  Now when we look at the cookbooks, we think of her.  I think this is the reason that I make notes in my cookbooks and on my recipes - someone will have my books someday (maybe little Mary-Claire) and with my notes, the books will have just a little more personality.

I still buy kid's cookbooks, and I recently bought the Sesame Street one for Mary-Claire.  The Emeril's is an autographed copy from a few years back:

I can't wait until she's old enough to help me pick something out!

What was the first thing you remember cooking?  I'd love to hear!

The Real Housewife of Sheboygan County


  1. I love the title of your blog! Do you live in Sheboygan? My aunt/uncle Kathy & Pete Peterson have lived there forever, my cousins Peter (wife Kristin) Peterson and MaryBeth (husband Kirk) Riddle have too. Many fond memories of visits to Sheboygan :)

    Lovely post, I'm going to start making notes in my cookbooks immediately. I hope you find your lost book!

  2. I used to make similar things with English muffins as the pizza base. How fun! I'll be posting later about my first cooking experiences..

  3. I found myself reminiscing as well over handwritten recipes and notes in cookbooks while writing this up! So much more nostalgic than simply looking recipes up online. Just recognizing my grandmother's beautiful handwriting or my father's scrawl makes me smile. Lovely post!

  4. Linda Tadlock WestJune 14, 2010 at 9:07 PM

    AWESOME, and am wondering if the Mrs Espey's first name was Helen?? Just curious. This is a darling blog. Love the pics of Mary Claire. I HATE to cook!! My next house isn't going to have a kitchen. Actually I saw one(kitchen) on HGTV I liked...perfect for me. A huge armiore w/mini kitchen inside. Had everything and was gorgeous. All my kids love cooking and Tim is a very good chef. However he tells it like this," If you wanted anything to eat at our house you had to know how to cook!" Sounds like him right!! His Johnna is so like him, just what he needs!! Blessings to you and yours!

  5. I love that you collect kid cookbooks. It reminds me of The Muppets Cookbook that I used to have growing up. I'm not sure I ever made anything out of it, but it was hilarious. One recipe was for deep fried ice cream -- I never understood how you could fry ice cream until I went to the California State Fair a few years ago. You can fry anything at the fair!


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