The new quarter at the university meant new
classrooms. As a German professor, I was
accustomed to welcoming students speaking in
German. With an armload of books and papers,
I entered the room, put my belongings on
the empty desk at the front of the class.
Thirty pairs of eyes gazed intently as I rattled on
in German. One brave student raised his hand
and told me this was a Spanish class. Just as
quickly as I had entered, I left – red in the face.
Quick retreat to my office. Read the computer printout
of my teaching schedule for the current quarter.
Forsooth! The Department Chair had switched my classroom
this quarter. Quickly located the new room where
my German class awaited me. Lesson learned. There
would be many life lessons in store for me. Some
happened in the kitchen. A cooking lesson learned.
We had a small vegetable garden and loved
freshly harvested garden vegetables. Green beans
in the pot on the back burner. Water in pot. Yellow
quash in the other pot, also in water. We simply
enjoyed the taste of fresh vegetables steamed.
My husband grilled meat for dinner. It was ready
to serve on plates and bring to the table.
First mouthful of squash was immediately spit out!
What had happened? What was wrong with the yellow
squash? Immediate realization and lesson learned:
never cook vegetables in soapy water! It was our
habit to put soapy water in pots and pans and clean
them after dinner. A flashback to growing up
in Colorado and family dinners. We all get interrupted
in the kitchen. The phone. A child. My mother too!
Around Thanksgiving one year, I made a face as
I tried the pumpkin pie. My sisters also made faces.
My mother then said she had forgotten to add sugar.
Why waste perfectly good pie? Just add the sugar and eat.
Another Sunday dinner my mother had served
rice with our meal. We complained that it tasted
bland. As way of explanation, our mother said
in disbelief to us: no wonder my coffee tasted
terrible! What did her coffee have to do with our
rice? It was only then that we all realized her
mix-up. She had boiled water for her instant
coffee to sip while she cooked but simply thought
her taste buds were off! We all enjoyed a good laugh.
We added salt to the rice and enjoyed our meal.
Lessons learned in life. With love and humor.
Mishaps solved. No, I have no plans to write a cookbook.