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Letters to My Children, a Forgotten Manuscript - Take 2

Posted Jun 15 2014 12:23am

Part 1, and the explanation, is here

Dear Children,

Learn to cook a few things well. I don’t mean ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese in a box, but real, Honest to Goodness, homemade comfort foods. You don’t have to love to cook, but your body and wallet will both thank you if you learn to cook just a few key foods.

 Learn to roast a chicken: remove the organs from the center and rinse. Put the bird in a pan, rub with olive oil and drizzle honey on top. Fill cavity with a cut up lemon or two and sprinkle fresh rosemary on top. Bake until it reaches 165 degrees. Or until the pop up timer, well, pops up.

Speaking of which, always use a meat thermometer. No one should get food poisoning from your cooking. Remember the argument that your dad started on Easter, when he accused me of trying to give the family food poisoning – all because the pork still had some pink? Remember that I used the meat thermometer? Pork is finished at 145, chicken at 165. You can’t tell by looking. Use the meat thermometer.

Make bread from scratch. It’s not difficult if you can follow directions – and I know you can follow directions.  I can’t tell you how impressive it is to bring a loaf of bread as an offering when you go to dinner with a friend. Homemade bread not only tastes better, but it’s amazingly good for you.

If you do like to cook, terrific. Make as much as you can from scratch. It’s so satisfying to look at a plate of food and know that you made all of it. I’ve made many things from scratch that I never thought I’d be able to – cheeses, breads, jams and jellies, cookies.

Learn to cook from scratch. It’ll save you money, it’ll keep extra pounds off of your body, and it’s fulfilling and impressive.

Your body and your bank account will thank you.

Cooking is love.




Dear Children,

When you have your own home and you have new neighbors move it, bring them a treat. Make some bread, cookies or even a fruit salad. Bring it over with a notecard that contains your name, address, email address and phone numbers. It’s a little thing that goes a long way towards helping get your relationship with your neighbors off on the right foot.




Dear Children,

We’ve just come from a party at someone else's  house. I’m tired. Another family member and I cooked a great meal. We cleaned it up. No one else at the party helped - or even offered.

When you go to a party, unless it’s a catered affair, lend a hand. Even if the host or hostess assures you that you don’t need to help out – you do. Help bring the food out. Get a drink for your hostess, or bring one to a friend. Don’t expect to be waited on, but get out there and lend a hand.

When the meal is over, take a minute and clear your own place. You don’t have a maid. Your hostess invited you over to visit with you, not cook and clean for you. Does the garbage need to be emptied? Take the initiative and do it. If your hostess insists on cleaning up by him or herself, this is not your opportunity to skate away and party. The host or hostess, even if they say they'll clean alone, will resent the fact that they are left in the kitchen to clean while the party goes on. At least keep the hostess company. You will be invited back, and your host will love you.

And so will your mom, because I know good and well that I've taught you better.


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