...When I left home at 18 and moved thousands and thousands of miles from my mother, I thought I knew it all. NaĂŻve wasnâ€™t in my vocabulary. Teenager was a word from my past. Womanhood. Independence. These were my new words.
I lugged fourteen suitcases up a flight of stairs into my staff accommodation at the hotel I had employed myself in as a switchboard operator. I had traveled 22 hours and was starved. I turned on the stove and poured the entire contents of a Kraft dinner box (minus the box) into a pot full of water. An hour later I stared at a bowl of tasteless white noodles. How was it possible? I had lived with Barbara Buckley for 18 years and I had no idea how to cook.
I canâ€™t remember my mother ever not being a fabulous cook. There were urgent messages on our phone from ladies down the road who had four people coming for dinner and they couldnâ€™t handle it. My mother would spend three weeks pre-boiling ribs and baking pies for 150 guests anticipated at the Buckley BBQ every fall. We never got cake on our birthdays â€“ we got chocolate mocha cheesecake or mint mallow pie. The Buckley cheesecake recipe was kept under a locked box much to the dismay of every woman who attended a luncheon at our place. Our Sunday night dinner was a feast of Greek appetizers or Beef Wellington. Every Christmas my mother would bake over 25 different types of squares, cookies and cakes for my Dad to bring to all of his offices through out Japan. The thank you letters came in for months.
I did not appreciate the talent involved with fabulous food until it was no longer under my nose every night at 6:00 PM. It is now many years later and I still call my mother in the middle of the night to find out what that secret ingredient is that she puts in her fail proof piecrust. Although my boyfriend insists I am the best cook he knows, he is still unaware that the Beef Wellington recipe that turns the heads of every houseguest is from the secret Barbara Buckley recipe box.
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