Ladies of the Kitchen
Feb. 27, 2010 4:16 am
Updated: Mar. 1, 2010 1:03 pm
Way back when I was first married, that was almost 29 years ago (Holy Cow! Time really does fly!) my newlywed husband and I got a golden retriever puppy. Jon was/is a hunter and this was going to be his hunting companion and our first "child". We live nearby a huge piece of property that is owned by a group of people who train their dogs for hunting, trials, show, etc. So, of course we decided to go check it out. There were about a dozen families that were active in this group and many were about our age (We were 20, just young pups). We would go to the club on Wednesday evening and Sunday's to train. Sunday was family day - everyone came and brought potluck. There were several older couples and those women were definitely The Ladies of the Kitchen. Our club puts on an AKC Springer Field Trial every Fall and the Ladies of the Kitchen prepare all the food, delicious pies/cakes included to sell and feed the men and women who trial their dogs and work the field.
Working in the kitchen with these ladies was a huge inspiration to me and a large part of why I wanted to become a decent cook. It was a contest between them of who would bring the tastiest soup or who's pie was most requested. Casseroles were hard to top. Helen, though, was definitely the Top Dog. Her chocolate cream pies and cheesecakes were hidden in the back of the fridge and only certain people got a slice. Early on my "Schmoozer Hubby" became one of the select few. These ladies coveted their recipes. When asked for a recipe the response was always "Oh, this is easy - you just add a little of this, a little of that..." You know the type - they are evasive with details. After about 10 years of membership in this Dog Club, I suddenly knew I was accepted into the "inner circle" of Ladies of the Kitchen. I got Helen's cheesecake recipe!! The chocolate cream pie is still a secret.
Twenty-eight years have gone by and people have come and gone. My husband and I are now considered the "old members". This past Fall, just before our annual trial Helen's husband passed away at 88. He was the oldest surviving founding member of our club. He was a wonderful man, all who met him loved him. His dogs were all champions, if not AKC, then simply champions of heart and soul. He would say "all dogs are born champions, it's up to their masters to bring it out".
As the trial neared, I was a little apprehensive about attending. Would Helen still come? The other matriarch of the kitchen continued on after her spouse died. What if she didn't - how would the kitchen be run?? A week before the trial - Helen called me. She would be attending and helping out. Helping out??? She ran the place!! But that is to be no longer. I am the new Top Dog. Helen came, sat back and watched me run the kitchen. Things went off just as always. I have a feeling (or should I say a prayer) that after 50 years of Helen running the place, it will run itself for another 50 years. At the end of the weekend, Helen gave me a hug and told me I had done just fine. The torch has been passed. Lord, I hope I don't screw things up!