Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Army Cook Does Christmas

Getting ready for the holidays brings back lots of different memories. My second brother, Richard, loved to cook. So in keeping with the holiday festivity of cooking special delights, let me share one of the many holiday events. I'm still laughing after 40+ years.

My second brother, Richard, loved to decorate and cook. I always said he should have become a chef instead of business management. But Christmas was like a wonderland around our house. One particular year he decided that he was going to have an open house for work associates and neighbors. He had just returned from his six-months basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. The army was so wise to realize Richard was not a person to hold a gun and do combat. He was, however, assigned to the hospital unit as a cook.

A few days before the event that would bring about 200 people to our house, Richard started cooking. Using some of the old time-honored recipes of our family, he also wanted to try out some of the Army fare, and put some other ingredients in them. All was going well, the house had the aroma of Christmas spices; our taste buds fully aware that satisfaction would soon be received.

A small plate of the Army modified cookies was placed before me as the official taster. Graciously, I obliged his request. With my mouth full of raisins and spices, my eyes began to water in horror. Quickly spitting the remains in the garbage, I turned to see Richard take a bite of his own creation, and with a similar reaction. We started laughing hysterically.

Yes indeed he had cut all the ingredients of the recipe down to serve 300 instead of 3,000 except the salt. When the new batch came out, I had a new appreciation for the stories of "Army-Style Food". They were actually quite good.

Lesson learned: Write out the recipe when doubling or decreasing would save a lot of time and ones reputation. Have a great holiday, make some of your favorite family recipies, share them with others and give the gift of self--it never runs out of style or place.

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