Thursday, February 18, 2010

Everything Pudding

Ok, so how many of you read the Betsy, Tacy and Tibb books growing up? (And how many of you plan to find the books for your daughters to read?) They were some of my favorite books in late elementary school. And yes, the inspired me.

How, you might ask?

Wellll if you haven't noticed, I sorta like to cook. And I may or may not have mentioned that my mom's idea of cooking meant boiling to death an entire box of pasta then putting it in the fridge in a Ziploc for us to pick at as we were hungry. (No, I'm not joking).

I certainly didn't get my enjoyment of food from her (cottage cheese with canned peaches is her standard breakfast because it's easy but ewwww!), nor my love of cooking. She still dosn't get it, but she will at least eat some of the food, generally whateve is left that no one else wants to eat.

So back to Betsy, Tacy, and Tibb. In one of the books, Betsy comes up with a great idea to cook. They decided to learn how to cook by making "everything pudding" which essentially consisted of everything but the kitchen sink.

I thought that was a pretty cool idea, but my mom pretty quickly laid down the law that if I made it, I ate it. Or maybe it was my friend's mom, and my mom simply copied.

Regardless, we made everything... cookies and cakes and muffins and bread and pancakes. And using no recipes, putting in some sometimes odd ingredients, we occasionally came up with some pretty good stuff.

We also quickly learned to make very small batches of things to avoid having to eat a whole lot of something nasty.

I look back on that now, and oh the fun we had! It was a great way to spend a sleepover, and generally a pretty inexpensive proposition. We were always safe, and it was a great way to exert some independence safely. I only wish that we'd taken photos of our work and written down some of our better recipes.

In fact, I think I might have to try this with the wee ones one of these day wen we have some free time. I have a feeling they might enjoy continuing this little tradition.

So what did you love to do as a child that was - maybe - a little more unique?



Book Club Girl February 18, 2010 at 9:55 PM  

I read Betsy and Tacy growing up and do so to this day! Did you know the last 6 books were reissued last fall in 3 2-book volumes? AND, you can get Everything Pudding aprons at the Betsy Tacy Society website - I have one of those waiting for my 14month old baby girl, and one with Herbert, Cab and Tony on it that my 3 year old boy wears whenever he "helps" in the kitchen. Here's the link to the store page with the apron:

septembermom February 18, 2010 at 10:31 PM  

That is a wonderful tradition which can only produce fun and happy memories! You were born to cook apparently :)

I was a shy child in groups, but I would love to put on little productions for my family. I usually was the director and I made my brother and sister act out my impromptu scenes. I remember that time fondly. My siblings probably thought I was a little dictator at times!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend February 19, 2010 at 1:46 AM  

Love this blog and it brings back memories

I had an entire evening to blog much visit new blogs and catch up with friends Be sure and stop by mine. This is my ONE YEAR Blog Anniversary and there are LOTS of prizes everyday this week and next....I am celebrating the entire month.

Laura February 19, 2010 at 2:45 AM  

OMG!! totally love Betsy Tacy Tibb books. Did you ever read any of her other books like San Francisco Boy or Coal Town Girl, amazingly cool books with her drawings too.

We must be close to the same age, did you ever read a book about a town in Minnesota? being taken over by sand dunes? I want to find it but can't!

Karen & Gerard Zemek February 19, 2010 at 5:46 AM  

Never heard of those books. My cooking experience as a kid involved making mud pies (that I never ate) and just helping mom with Thanksgiving dinner.

Visiting from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. I chose this prompt too:

Tara R. February 19, 2010 at 7:04 AM  

Of my two kids, my son is the cook (his sister never showed any interest in cooking). He is one of those 'make everything pudding' kind of chefs. Some of his concoctions (green eggs) were inedible, others have been awesome (chorizo/cabbage burritos). We've been better about writing down ingredients and recipe instructions for his creations.

My mom and grandmother were scratch cooks, never measuring anything, but everything was always delicious. Me, I'm a little of both - I use recipes, but will tweak them with extra ingredients.

Deborah February 19, 2010 at 7:11 AM  

Totally missed the books and never remember being really creative like that when I was a kid. As a mom though, my version of that is encouraging Arden to make art out of whatever she finds around the house - wrapping paper dresses, structures out of paper plates, toilet paper dolls, and of course homemade confetti. Of which Little Mister found the one orange piece I hadn't vacuumed up when he was a baby and promptly put it in his mouth.

Kat February 19, 2010 at 8:30 AM  

How did I miss those books? I never learned to cook until I was in college. And that was mostly an experiment. Actually most of my cooking is an experiment...and there is just so much that I am intimidated by. mom never cooked either. I grew up on canned veggies, canned pasta, and velveeta shells and cheese. If it didn't come in a box or a can, we didn't eat it. My how things have changed!

Alexis AKA MOM February 19, 2010 at 1:21 PM  

I love to cook too but I'm very far from my mom who I swear was trying to make it on to Bon Appetite every night! LOL

But don't ask her about it because you where in for how hard it was and how expensive it was .. ugh :)

Connie February 19, 2010 at 5:18 PM  

I read Dick and Jane and I wanted to name my dog Spot.
But then my dog didn't have spots so I named her Ginger.
As for things we did that were unique, we didn't text each other!

Clueless_Mama February 20, 2010 at 2:29 AM  

I can't think of something unique we did???HMMMM Now you have me thinking. I am so sorry your mom was not a good cook. That's funny though.

Michelle February 20, 2010 at 9:08 AM  

Book Club Girl - Ooo, I may have to find those books before they go out of print. Thanks!

Kelly - Those family productions were fun, weren't they? I did the same thing... including my infamous "Lifestyles of the Lovely Yet Conceited" which is, yes, captured via video. Ahhh those were the days.

Teresa - Why do I feel like the evening was spent mostly blog hopping and less blog reading?

Laura - Oh, I didn't even realize there were more? I'll have to go find them if they're still in print. I was so sad when I finished all of them, even though I didn't like it so much when Betsy was grown up and married to Joe (I had a crush on Cab). Sorry, no idea on the other book :(

Karen & Gerald - Mud pies, ohhhh those were fun. Is it wrong that I absolutely don't want the wee ones doing that today?

Tara - That is so cool. I do lots of recipes still, at least as a base for things. I'm always truly impressed by people who just go and DO cooking without a net.

Deborah - You do have a very creative daughter. And yes, I have a son who finds exactly what you don't want him to find. I had forgotten about that incident! :)

Kat - Bummer that you missed them. I bet your girls would love them though (and you, too? So sweet and innocent and fun!) Cooking as experimenting is just fine. It's fun that way, right?

Alexis - Bummer on your mom umm playing it up a bit there. That's one thing that I hope I don't ever throw into the wee ones' face "You have to like/do/whatever X because it's expensive and/or I worked hard on it"

Connie - Oh that's funny. At least you went with changing the name. The cat I got when I was two I named Caesar because someone else I knew had a dog named Caesar, and I liked the dog. Caesar was a girl. I didn't care one iota.

Clueless Mama - Oh I'm sure there were things you did that were unique. You just didn't think of them AS unique. My mom just didn't -- and still doesn't -- like food, so I can see why she didn't really cook.

Anonymous February 21, 2010 at 8:41 AM  

I love this post! I don't think I have ever heard of those books - I will have to look into them to have on-hand for my girls. My mom cooked on a regular basis, but she wasn't terribly creative about it - everything was by the recipe, and the dryer the meat, the better. I enjoy trying different recipes and tweaking the ones that she made us growing up.

Michelle February 21, 2010 at 9:56 PM  

Nichole - Definitely look for them. They are great true books of girls growing up in the 1920s and just so innocent and fun and lovely books. Yeah... my mom's pork chops she made a few times turned me off pork forever. I hear ya!

Karen February 22, 2010 at 7:51 AM  

I've never heard of those books, but I love the fact that you were inspired to cook. Look where's it gotten you now! You're always full of good ideas in the kitchen.

All my ideas revolved around the ponies growing up. Like the time we stood on their backs to reach the apples to pelt the sisters' ponies with. Or playing The Fox and the Rabbit on horseback. THAT resulted in stitches.

Brittany February 22, 2010 at 9:02 PM  

So very cute... we played and use to make alls orts of stuff. My dad was the guinea pig and would try just about anything. I remember one time I made chocolate chip cookies with 1/4 cup of salt instead of 1/4 tsp of salt. YUCK!

Michelle February 22, 2010 at 9:53 PM  

Karen - Awww, you're so sweet. I rather think I was inspired by my mom's lack of interest in food though ;)

Brittany - Oh very cool! I love that your dad was the guinea pig. Kudos to him. Bummer on the salt - my home ec class did that once with T and t for baking soda. Ick!

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