Cooking and Other Lessons


My very first cooking lesson must have happened somewhere around the age of four or five. I remember it clearly. It wasn’t really cooking; it was more like a lesson in how to use the stove. But I was thrilled for the opportunity to learn how to make my favorite lunch- Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. I know. Gross. But as a kid I loved that creamy mushroom sauce with a whole sleeve of saltines crushed into it.

I had to push a chair up to the stove in order to execute the plan (under close supervision from my mom, of course). I am sure I was a failure with the can opener. It still outsmarts me on a regular basis. I know there weren’t any pop tops on soup cans in 1980, but there should have been. It’s not as if the technology didn’t exist.

But who am I kidding? You should have seen my childhood soda can disasters (that’s pop for my Michigan friends). Eventually I overcame that. I still buy canned soda- but you will never catch me with an old school soup can. I don’t care if it’s twenty cents cheaper. In over 140 years, the only improvements to can opening have been electric can droppers and pop tops. You might also be surprised to know how long canned foods existed before a can opener was even invented. Let’s just say it was a long time.

So I emptied the contents into a pan, scraping the sides with a butter knife to get every last bit out. Then I filled the empty can with tap water- a genius revelation. It was so perfect, I thought. This was something I could remember. No fancy measurements to hassle with; which was great, since we didn’t cover that kind of math until the second grade. Continue reading