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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hmph! (03/04/10)

TITLE: A Haughty Spirit Comes Before a Fall
By Verna Mull


I was the baby of the family. I had a lot of chores to do, but learning to cook had sort of passed me by.

My mother was in her 40’s when I was born, and by the time I was old enough to learn to cook, her nerves were shot, and she chose to do that job on her own, while I set the table and other minor things.

At fourteen, the time had come for me to learn to cook in my Home Economics class. The first thing that we actually made from scratch was muffins.

Since baking anything, was not my forte, it was with fear and trembling that I began trying to mix up my batch of muffins.

We were to be graded on these, of course, and many in the class had previous experience. I was sure that I would flunk “muffins.”

To my surprise, the muffins rose to a high, smooth crest, and browned perfectly, and an “A” was given for the project! Only 2 of us girls received an “A,” and I was in seventh heaven.

I took that recipe home with me that night, determined that I would make the muffins for our breakfast in the morning.

My mother was very dubious about the whole thing, but reluctantly consented to allow me in her kitchen.

Morning came, and I was up at the crack of dawn, to bless the whole family with my culinary arts.

As the measuring and sifting began, my mother stood at my elbow, asking such questions as, “Are you sure you cut the shortening in good enough?” Are you sure you measured the flour properly?” “Did you get the baking powder measured correctly?”

Sorry to say, I began to cry, and tell my mother that I got an “A” in school, and I knew what I was doing.

At that moment, my father came in from milking the cows. He took one look at the scene before him and exploded. “Mabel, leave her alone” “But what if she wastes all of this flour and other ingredients?’ My father replied, “No matter how they turn out, we’ll eat them.” “Hmph,” replied my Mother, and walked off.

Well, the muffins did turn out okay, but not as beautiful as the ones in class. After all, the school had an oven that could be set and held at a specific temperature. The stove that I had to use was an old cooking range. The temperature depended on the accuracy of feeding it the proper amount of wood.

Eventually, I learned to perform that task when I was married, and had a similar old cook stove to cook with.

Well, I must say that my pride was deflated, and I never offered to make breakfast again. I think my mother was secretly very relieved.

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This article has been read 503 times
Member Comments
Member Date
AnneRene' Capp03/11/10
I liked your story and the visualizations I had of your kitchen on the farm.

I was so happy for your A and also felt your disappointment from you mom. We mother's just don't always see, that our need to be thrifty, sometimes steps into lifting our children up at a time when they need it. I am one such guilty mom.

Donna Wolther03/11/10
Great story, brought back Home Ec memories for the first time in many years. My childhood was similar, but thank goodness I never had to learn to cook on a wood stove--I had enough trouble with gas when I had to learn that.
LaTawnia Kintz03/11/10
I enjoyed your story very much. It brought back my memories of Home Ec. Eek!

Thankfully my mother taught me some cooking skills before I had that class. It was the sewing where I had trouble. :)

I enjoyed your visualizations as well. I could see those muffins. It was great.
Rikki Akeo03/11/10
I'm 2 years from shoddy nerves myself...
BTW, how did you get a glance into MY childhood?
Pamela Kliewer03/11/10
Ah yes... Home Ec... Fun times except for the sewing! I was fortunate to be let in the kitchen when I was growing up, but did make some whoppers of mistakes!

I appreciated this story and the details you included. Nicely done.