I think I was about eleven years old at the time. I was baking chocolate chip cookies – all by myself. It was something I’d been doing since I was about nine, and my mom had confidently turned over all cookie baking jobs to me at that point.
As I reached in to pull the pan of cookies from the oven that day, somehow my right arm brushed the inside of the oven. Ouch! I’d had little burns before, but this one was a biggie. Or so it seemed at the time.
Mom helped me try to find some relief for the burn as she finished up the cookie baking chore. I remember being in a lot of pain – and feeling really frustrated with myself. How could I have been so dumb? It is not hard to take cookies out of the oven without burning yourself. Why hadn’t I just slowed down and done it right? I must not be a very good cook, I woefully lamented to myself.
Later that day, my grandma came over to drop something off. She took a look at the burn on my arm, winced sympathetically, and said, “Ah, the sign of a good cook…”
What? Good cook?! I had been thinking exactly the opposite. As I got teary eyed, Grandma continued, “Laura, every good cook I know burns herself every once in a while. It’s not fun, but it means that you’re working hard to help feed your family. Take care of your burn, then get back in the kitchen and keep on cooking.”
It’s a good thing my grandma gave me that advice. Otherwise, my husband and sons would be pretty hungry by now. Just kidding. I’m sure I would have found my way back into the kitchen eventually. But Grandma’s words dried my tears, and got me off the couch and back into the kitchen that very day.
Every good cook burns herself sometimes. Every homemaker occasionally flings a spoonful of flour into the jar of salt. (As in, I did this just last Wednesday.) Sometimes, when you open the refrigerator, the plastic bottle of ketchup will fall to the floor, break, and shoot ketchup all the way into the living room, up your pantleg, and into the leftover pie. (Again, last Wednesday.)
Every parent says the wrong thing to her child at one time or another. Every person puts his foot in his mouth occasionally. Everyone who has ever done laundry has found that a red shirt with a white sock will create a pretty shade of pink. Or in my case, I learned that my green kitchen rug would turn my light blue guest towels the color of puke. (If only Grandma could have come over that day.)
Afraid of failing? Nervous about trying something new? Scared that you don’t know enough about cooking, serving, parenting, homemaking, working, or you know…taking cookies out of an oven? Not to worry. Every good cook burns herself sometimes.
Trying and failing, spilling and splattering buttermilk onto the ceiling, overbaking the muffins, dropping and breaking an egg into the silverware drawer – all of these are signs of a good cook in the making. Who knew?!
Um well, that would be…Grandma.
I’d love for you to share about a homemaking task you feel afraid to tackle. What’s something new that you’re not sure of trying? Have something you’re afraid of tackling? Don’t worry. Every good cook burns herself sometimes. That’s how we learn! Share with us!
I confess I am a little frightened/nervous/don’t-wanna-do-it about making yogurt. After a failed attempt with a fancy pants yogurt maker, I’m a little gun shy about spending more time and milk (: without the payoff! And, honestly, I’m not so sure I WANT to be able to make yogurt…just a little overwhelmed with daily life of homeschooling my sweet 8 and 6 year old, and loving (ahem: chasing, ungluing, etc.) their 2 sweet little sisters, and trying to work in a little love for their daddy. So, yeah, I’m afraid to try and fail AND try and succeed at the yogurt making! (: So, I just cashed in my free yogurt starter dealio with the homemaker ebundle…maybe some quiet (!) day in the coming weeks I’ll get to it. Maybe not. I’m okay either way. Because really. I have to tell myself and repeat 14 times: store bought organic whole milk yogurt is still a GOOD food! (:
“dropping and breaking an egg into the silverware drawer”
That reminded me of the time my husband was lending me a hand to get dinner ready (it had been a long day and we were both tired), and he must have gotten distracted, because he cracked an egg on a bowl, and then opened the egg right down the garbage disposal. We laughed so hard!
I’m scared to try gardening… I always think about starting a garden, but then I get so overwhelmed with the thought of compost, fertilizer, raised beds, planting schedules… Just thinking about it makes me want to take a nap…
So glad this means I’m not the only one screaming on a Sunday morning! And then saying in the car, “Now I want everyone to smile and pretend that we are happy right now!”
Oops! That was to go on the Sunday morning chaos post! I’m laying in bed on my phone trying to be quiet before everyone gets up in an hour or so!! Haha
Rachel E. says
Thanks for sharing your Grandma’s words. They are worthy of remembering.
The yogurt thing for me too. I tried it once and was successful and then tried again and failed. Raw milk is expensive and I really don’t know which method to use. I don’t have a heating pad and my oven is electric not gas so can’t put it in with the pilot light on like my Dad does. Yes my Dad makes his own yogurt with raw milk and yet I can’t seem to. But the expense of yogurt is making me think I have to perfect it somehow. Also canning scares me. What if I put all that money,time and effort in it only for it all to spoil and turn out bad. I am very visual so wish I knew someone that would have me over and just teach me these things. Sigh what we loose from not handing these things down to our children and grandchildren. Guess that’s one more reason for me to learn right?
I am just heading into the adventure of canning. I have been married for almost 35 years and never wanted to do it because of the memory of all of the work of doing it when I was a kid. I know I can but it is intimidating!
I am a master at burning myself in the kitchen! Lavender hydrosol in a roller bottle is my cure. Just roll it on and the pain is instantly gone and you can almost not even tell you were burned! I use this and they carry the roller bottles too.
Shannon @ Of The Hearth says
I have several scars from burns incurred while cooking. I like to think of them as battle scars. :-)
I’m comfortable with most cooking tasks, but I’m not so good at things related to home decorating. A lot of the walls in my home are bare. I’d like to create wall décor of some sort, but usually when I try to be creative in this way the result isn’t lovely. I’d like to have more confidence in this!
This was a delightful story! It honestly made me laugh (as I’ve done some of those very things) and cry at the same time (memories). My mom used to say that I could trip over my shadow (I believe I’ve actually done that!)….as she patiently nursed my burns, cuts & etc. that I got while helping in the kitchen. Today I’m a mom of 7 and love being in the kitchen; thanks to her nurturing me through the cuts, burns, etc.
I still can see the 1/2 burn scar on my thumb from when I was helping my mom make a potroast at age 12. I let it serve as a reminder to have Safety First in the kitchen at all times.
Just last week, I took my half-full jar of paprika and filled it the rest of the way with….chipoltle powder! What a shocker that would have been sprinkled on a batch of deviled eggs! Good thing I caught it.
I’m afraid to try fermenting. My husband has gone at it with gusto making ginger beer and kimchi with success. I’d love to honor my German roots and try saurkraut but I’m too wimpy.
Jessica H. says
Your grandmother had good advice! It helped to encourage you and you remembered it. My daughter just turned 3 and she is asking alot of questions about everything such as “why are catepillers fuzzy” and all I can think of to say is that God made them that way. But it doesn’t really explain the “why” part so I worry that I won’t have the best advice to give her when bigger questions arise.
This post was a true blessing to me today! not only did I burn myself the other day doing a basic task and felt so silly about it . but I feel very afraid as I am reentering the work forc after being a stay at home mom and I feel very nervous and a bit inadequate but this helps me realize I won’t know if i can do it unless I try!! thanks!!
Loved hearing that wonderful story about grandma. Makes me miss her more:)
I have always used my steak knives to cut up apples for the kids because I just like how they slice better. One day, I decided to use the apple slicer and paring knife because I was making applesauce. I stopped halfway through my big bag of apples to do something, and when I rinsed my hands, I discovered I had at least a dozen tiny slices all over my fingers! Ouch! Apparently using the steak knife with the serrated edge had made my knife skills quite sloppy! It will be awhile before I make applesauce again!
I really want to try my hand at some easy cheeses. I just can’t get myself geared up to do it.
BTW, if you have a burn, you can put a slice of potato on it and that will take the sting out. It will quit hurting almost instantly. Leave it on and change it for a new piece if necessary.
Burns seem to be becoming common for me. I think being a 5 ft woman in a house built by a tall person contributes, but I also definitely have a talent for burns. I thinks that’s part of the reason my dear, sweet hubby built me some essential oils shelves for my pantry, which keeps my lavender close by.
My current fear….that would have to be pressure canning.
Charlotte Moore says
I just burned myself Monday on my electric skillet. I also burned myself so bad a few months ago I now have guards on my oven racks. It was the worst born I have ever had. Never thought of it as your grandmother out it though. Hahaha!!!
I have thought of making kefir but just not sure about it. Don’t think we would use as much as it would make. Same with sour dough.
Sheri Beeker says
I was making homemade lemonade the other day and had squeezed 4 lemons into my container. I wanted to strain out the seeds so I went to pour the juice out of the container into the strainer, but forgot to put a bowl under the strainer. There went my yummy lemon juice. My boys were there and thought it was pretty funny. I am pregnant and was too tired to squeeze more lemons. So we had lemonade another day and my boys reminded me to get a bowl. : )
I am always nervous about decluttering my house. I stink at organizing, but if I don’t do it then it won’t happen. My husband doesn’t have time to help out which is fine. So, this month is decluttering month for me. I am not enjoying it, but I just keep on trying. : )
I love your blog! I second the idea about yogurt and gardening.
Jacqueline RUssell says
Love, Love, Love this!!
Laughed so hard! Laura, great post.
I have several burn scars. We have an outdoor pizza oven, that cam with the house. I’ve used it several times, but am afraid to use it for company. Takes 3 hours to heat, and prepping all that dough?
Karen O'Dell says
sweet grandma mabel!! if only i could bake half as well as she did!!
Bread! Terrified that I will put it in a warm place to rise and forget about it. My only warm place is the top of the fridge. I have visions of tiny unbaked batches of dough taking over the kitchen. I need to get over it. My family goes through a ton of bread and this one small change would be a big savings.
Sheila H. says
I am frequently asked if I cook a lot because I have scars on my arm, only my right arm. That fantastic homemade vanilla is my family remedy for relief.
I have yet to can anything but as much as my boys eat, I don’t know if our garden will have much to spare.
My yellow bath mat and navy towels made that same new color for the mat. Since I wanted a matching set and a better color I rewashed them all and came out with a nice sage color. That was years ago. I hope I get to share all my bumbles with my daughter when she starts to have bumbles of her own. I know when my mother told me stories like that I felt closer to her and more like I might make it to be a successful adult, even through the bumbles.
Thanks for sharing.
I’m nervous about menu planning/budgeting/scheduling our weeks during the summer. I’m hoping my hubby will get the bundle to help me in all of those.
I have had many mistakes over the years that I don’t even want to go there.I do have one of the best treatment’s for burns.When you burn yourself spray the burn with windex or any other window cleaner it takes the sting away and the burn goes away fast.
Ann Marie says
As much as I really want to can fruits and veggies from our garden and the local farmer’s market I am terrified I will screw it up! It is one thing to kick myself for wasting all that time, effort and money but what terrifies me most is that my screw up could poison my family!
I had made biscuits and sausage gravy for dinner so many times I could do it in my sleep. I was making the gravy and ran out of flour. I had recently picked up some kitchen items from someone moving across the country, and there was this one very nice cannister full of white powder, so I grabbed it and added it to the gravy. Powdered sugar and sausage grease do not mix.