life in and around NYC is insane

Monday, April 15, 2013

another bubba meister

My grandmother's reputation among friends and family...she was an excellent cook.   In fact, she was employed as a cook at the age of 12.  Her father had emigrated to America and was sending home money when he could, but D'vera, as the eldest child, had to drop out of school to help support the family.

She loved to tell the story about the girl  who was employed at a neighboring  farm.  The girl didn't know how to make a lot of different foods, but was too proud to say so.  Back then there was no Food Network, so if you needed to learn how to make a particular dish you'd have to ask someone to tell yu what to do.  She should have just asked D'vera for help, but instead she engaged in a bit of subterfuge.  She'd ask D'vera, "How do I make (whatever)", then after D'vera would explain, she'd say "That's what I do, too."  Then she'd go into her employer's kitchen and follow D'vera's instructions.  Eventually D'vera got a little tired of this routine.  So she deliberately sabotaged the other girl's recipe.  Completely ruined the dish.  After that, when the girl would ask D'vera for a recipe, she wouldn't pretend that she knew what she was doing, so D'vera got credit for the recipe when it was successful.

Then there was the story about cooking as psychotherapy.  D'vera always claimed she cured a young woman of depression.  Her employer's daughter had gone to the city to study at the university, she wanted to be a psychiatrist.   Apparently her studies were not a success.  She came home and locked herself in her room and wouldn't come out.  The employees were all told to leave the young woman alone, not to bother her.  But somehow D'vera got the young woman out of her room.  she told the woman to throw away all the books if they were making her so miserable.  And then they went into the kitchen, where they started baking all sorts of pastries and cookies.  The young woman's parents were amazed and impressed.

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