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franklin county times

Missing home-cooked meals while away at college

By By Meagan Scott / 4-H summer intern
July 21, 2002
Home-cooked meals are one thing that I missed while I was away at college for the past four years.
I am amazed at how my mother can work all day, do the daily chores that need to be done to keep a house in order and cook a meal every night.
Growing up, I could always count on a home-cooked meal just about every night of the week. Even when I was late coming home from a dance lesson or another activity, she would always have a meal waiting for me.
When asked as a child what my favorite food was, I never responded with the typical answers such as pizza, hamburgers, or chicken. I remember telling others that my favorite food was "pork chops, rice, and gravy." Even now, this meal rates high on my list of favorites.
My mother is always reading the most recent cookbooks and finding new recipes. I never tire of the dishes she makes because she is always able to find something new to cook. We hardly ever "eat on the run."
We set the table with a tablecloth, dinnerware, napkins, the proper silverware and salt and pepper. Mother typically cooks a meat, a vegetable, a salad, and either a pasta or rice dish every night. There are not many times when we eat a quick dinner of pre-prepared foods.
If there is "no time to cook," we usually have a dish prepared in the slow cooker. I still cannot figure out how she makes such a variety of foods each night and has them all hot, on the table and ready to eat all at the same time.
I think that if I tried to accomplish this, then the meat would be cold by the time I got the vegetable dish ready. My mother's cooking is something I look forward to when I am home. I hope that one day I can be both a good cook and an efficient cook, just like she is.
My mother has always claimed, "if you can read, you can cook." Somehow I do not think that cooking is quite this easy. However, there are some basics of working in a safe kitchen that you need to know before getting started. Here are some helpful tips that I found.
Ask an adult to help.
Read the recipe before getting started.
Be sure you have all the ingredients.
Gather all equipment you'll need for the recipe.
Wash your hands.
Make sure your kitchen towels and sponges are clean.
Make sure you have sturdy pot holders to handle hot pans.
Make sure to wash your hands and cutting boards with hot soapy water after handling raw meat.
If you are interested in learning more about cooking, kitchen safety, dinner etiquette and preparing a meal from scratch, then you'll want to join us July 26 for a cooking class led by Mississippi State student, Kristen Fryery, who is majoring in food and nutrition.
The class is open to those aged 8 to 13. It will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 1:30 p.m. after lunch.
Preparing foods that are both tasty and nutritious will be covered. Food sanitation will be discussed as well. Proper table etiquette will be covered while participants are eating the meal that they have prepared.
So, if you are hungry, ready to have some fun in the kitchen and want to learn some new recipes to prepare, then plan to join us to learn some cooking basics while preparing a meal from scratch.
Just thinking about my mother's home-cooked meals (especially pork chops, rice, and gravy) makes my mouth water. I hope that one day I'll be just as good a cook as she is.
For more information about 4-H or to register for the cooking class, call the Lauderdale County Extension Service. There is a $5 fee to attend the class to cover the cost of the food. Please call by 5 p.m. Monday to register. The number is 482-9764.