Top | Cooking with Denay

Aunt Bertha in the Family

(post, Denay Davis)

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You can attend every culinary art program available and still never learn the intimate little details about cooking that are shared at the hip of a seasoned "Aunt Bertha." Everyone has an "Aunt Bertha" in their family. You know the woman, (sometimes man) who is always in the kitchen drumming up sinfully delicious smells.

It's no secret that when it comes to learning to cook, doing can teach in ways that books cannot. There is just something to be said about getting that home training, that natural field work.

What's interesting is that "Aunt Bertha" may be a good cook, but not a patient teacher and that's when knowing how to learn comes into play. If you are ever fortunate enough to be in the presence of an "Aunt Bertha" you'll  learn the tricks of her culinary trade; and should she not have the patience to teach, just sit and watch. The visual experience will provide more knowledge than a PhD.

Her errors will be caught early or misted over like an early morning dew. No product in the kitchen is wasted and her ability to know when something is ready is just plain eerie. If there is a mistake, watch carefully as these become little blessings, like gently turning a pan of cookies that baked too long into the crust for a lemon refrigerator pie; ideas will spawn from nowhere. 

Warning: If you are bold enough to sit and watch, you never know when "Aunt Bertha" may ask you to stand and help, moving you out of your comfort zone, so pay close attention and be prepared to perhaps, become the next "Aunt Bertha" in the family.