Mama was a unique and wonderful woman. She was so much fun and could do so many things, but I think I have established that cooking wasn’t one of them. Imagine: all those nights of making dinner, how many dinners in her lifetime? Now add: one of her chief talents was the ability to burn at least one item per meal.
“It’s not done until it boils over,” she explained as she cooked dinner. Since I hadn’t started kindergarten that sounded right. It was a good visual: you watched the pot, whatever was in the pot started to rise up, and in a matter of nothing it was all bubbling over the stove. I always liked the look of corn boiling over the sides of the bright silver pot; it was a little like the Fourth of July, yellow bits burbling over the pot’s edge into the gas fire. Colorful.
Just because a pan had been burnt didn’t mean that it was not expected to shine after clean-up. “No, Ma’am, yes, Ma’am, I mean, sure can see my face in the pan!”
Some nights, she would burn two or three things. When it was pretty bad, she made sure that dinner was served good and late. She would nod, “The later, the better: the starving will eat anything.”