My grandmother passed away when I was very young. Years later, my grandfather remarried a lady who we always affectionately called Marge. Marge was a lifetime resident of Maine, and had the down east accent to prove it. They lived near Blue Hill, Maine, way out in the country and a short distance from the ocean. We loved to visit every summer, spending a week or so with them in a cottage.
Marge was an amazing cook, but there are two things I remember most. The first is her omelets. She would separate the whites and yolks and cook the fluffiest omelets, part of the time on the stove and the rest in the oven. Then she would cover it with strawberry preserves and fold it in half. So delicious! The other dish was a family affair. My brother and sister and I would go down to the shoreline and dig up clams at low tide. We would get as many as we could and bring them back up to the house. Marge would then steam them for supper. She would place the whole big pot in the center of the table, each of us would get a bowl of drawn butter, and we would go at it. I would love to be at that table again to enjoy more of those steamed clams.
My wife grew up living at her grandma’s house. Her mom and dad and five brothers and sisters also lived in the 6-room farmhouse, along with grandpa of course. It was quite a full house! Grandma Lundquist cooked just like you would expect a grandma to cook – never used a recipe and cooked for an army. She was almost always in the kitchen, and my wife was often in there helping her, learning the craft.
I remember my first meal there. I had moved out to Iowa from Massachusetts just for this girl, and it was time for me to meet the family. So Janeen took me out there, and I was greeted not only by her whole immediate family, but cousins, uncles, nieces and nephews and friends. A huge crowd had gathered to see this city boy who was who was sweet on the country farm girl. But the most impressive things to me was the spread of food on the kitchen table. It looked like Thanksgiving minus the turkey! I thought there was enough food to feed an army, and there was. Everyone gathered in the kitchen and just went at it, filling their plates and heading back to one of the other two rooms downstairs to eat.
After that event, and marrying that country girl, I watched grandma as she took care of the kitchen. Janeen would help her when she could, but we had little ones that needed caring, so it wasn’t too often. Grandma was a country cook, and everything she made just came out right. From fried chicken, which was often, to noodles – homemade of course – her touch was on everything in that kitchen. I liked to cook as well, but this was a master at work. As my wife started to cook more, I found out she was a master as well.
At Thanksgiving time this year, we had one of our granddaughters stay with us for a few days, and grandma, who is my wife, taught her how to make pie crust. My wife’s pie crusts are amazing. This granddaughter then made pies for Christmas at her other grandpa’s house. Then she made pies to raise funds for a school trip. I think she made something like $300 from that venture, and the pies came out great.
Just a week ago, two other granddaughters were here visiting, and my wife had to make a cake for the pie granddaughter for her birthday. The two of them wanted to watch and help grandma bake and decorate he cake. I sat in the living room listening to them, and thought how wonderful it was that the skills and knowledge are being passed down to another generation. When I married my wife, she was still learning at her grandma’s side. Now she is the grandma, teach her grand-kids the skills they will need.
The bible tells us in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 that we should teach our children about the works and word of God while we sit in our house, or walk by the way, or lie down or rise up. Basically, all the time! But this doesn’t just apply to God’s word. It applies to life! We need to reach our kids and grand-kids about life and all the things that pertain to it. Cooking, cleaning, finances, relationships, handling troubles and disappointments. These things are so crucial, and they need to be learned in the home. I know it takes twice as long to cook when that 4 or 5-year-old wants to help, but what a blessing it is to be able to teach them. Make sure you are doing all you can to teach the young ones in your life the basic fundamentals of life. Pass it on!