Saturday, July 18, 2009

Home Ec

It is really hot. I don't really enjoy the heat. I would go so far as to say that I HATE it, a LOT. Even Moonshadow, is hot and bothered and ready for summer to be over. She didn't bother to even get close to her bed, but instead plopped down right in the center of the kitchen floor, and refused to budge, to allow anyone to open the fridge.

So to beat the heat, get some breakfast and do something semi-productive with our Saturday Mark and I headed downtown to the Farmer's Market.
As usual the photos are all out of order.

Above- Mark seeking out the pate dude's booth. Below- the pate & some Pearl bakery bread.
Paying 1.60/hour to park downtown! The fancy automated parking meters.
While we wandered aimlessly through the aisles of fresh produce, looking for something that would spark Mark's fancy for breakfast, we talked of cooking and planned our evening meal, which I would prepare from some of this amazing produce.

I was reminded of my 7th grade Home Ec class, which like most of Jr. High, pretty much sucked, and lacked any kind of authentic inspiration to make one want to hone domestic skills.
It was taught by a woman that looked like a teenager, who was very prim and uptight.
Mrs. (Miss?) Brown.
Ms. Brown HATED me, which at the time I found very puzzling, since I lived for Home Ec, but now I can sort of understand her perspective.

I was raised by a single mother and spent a great deal of time helping with housework.
When I was in 5th grade we had a baby sitter that was an elderly, German, seamstress, with failing eyesight.

I became her eager assistant, begging to be allowed to stay home from school, threading needles, piecing & finishing bindings on quilts, as well as helping her keep up her tiny ramshackle home.

I had excellent hand sewing skills by the time I was 11, and was proficient on the machine.

My grandparents bought me my own sewing machine for Christmas when I was 10, and I spent a lot of time making Barbie clothes, although I never had the discipline to become a really skilled machine seamstress.

I hate following patterns.

I come from a long line of people, who from necessity were natural "do it yourselfers" before the concept of DIY was fashionable, or even quaint.
No one in my family would be caught dead wasting money on prefab or processed items, it was simply an alien concept.

People who didn't darn socks, grow gardens, change the oil in their own cars, and reroof their own homes were simple lazy, good for nothings.
Case closed.

I came to 7th grade Home Ec class with considerably more skill than your average child, or adult, or teacher, as in this case, and while my general MO in school was to be painfully shy, bookish and silent, when it came to Home Ec, I was a fount of energy and knowledge, which was unwelcome.

The one really exciting thing to come out of Home Ec, was my interest in classic International cooking and French bon femme cooking.

Mrs. Brown's lessons on boxed cakes bored me, driving me to the library and soon my little brother was devouring baked Alaska's, quiche Lorraine, and moussaka.
My mother allowed me to experiment as much as I wanted, and willingly ate the masterpieces produced. She also took me with her on a trip to New York city that year, which inspired a life long love of "exotic" food.

In those days I was very invested in "fancy", complicated technique driven recipes, which I would abandon for simpler, flavor driven things, in my 20's.
So today while I walked with great pleasure through stalls of brilliantly colored produce I thought about the pinched, impatient woman that didn't inspire a god damned thing in me.

1 comment:

  1. school can crush the interest in a subject like no institution i know of. it's so much more satisfying to do it yourself.

    though i beg to differ on the re-roofing the house part. have you been up there, in the blistering heat, hammer in one hand and frying-hot composite shingles in the other and trying to nail those @*%$ers straight?? oh, i'll pay good american cash to have that done for me any day.

    or, i guess more to the point, i'll design a house with a metal roof and make my sweetie install it. HA!