Chef Goldman

Cooking for me started out kinda painfully.  Most people may have fond memories of how their love for food prep started, but for me, it was almost like punishment.  6th grade.  I was just starting my first year at middle school.  Because of my bus route, I actually had to be out at the bus stop between 6:30 and 7:10AM, depending on when our bus driver felt like showing up.  (No, I wasn’t in school in the 50-60s and no, I didn’t walk 18 miles in the snow, barefooted, up a hill, with my books tied to a string around my waist, because I had to milk the cow earlier).  This means my mom is not getting up with me in the mornings anymore.  Hence my impromptu cooking lessons.  So at about 11 years of age, I’m cooking breakfast.

Now some of you may remember the blow pop craze in the late 80s early 90s. Everybody in school selling them for 25 cents.  I was making blueberry muffins and adding secret ingredients to Jiffy’s mix and selling them on the bus, $1.00 each.  I was destined for entrepreneurship, until… my mother again.  after about 2 weeks of being the famous “muffin man”, my mom sat me down.

“Where do all those blueberry muffins go?”
“What blueberry muffins?”
“The ones we smell in the morning when we get up, we smell them but see nothing”
“Oh, I take them to school”
“Not anymore you don’t! We wake up to a house smelling all good and come to the kitchen to nothing!  In fact, go ahead and make breakfast for everyone before you leave”
“Awww man!!!”
“And don’t give me any back talk either!”

So there it begins, my intro to putting a twist in the kitchen. One thing I can definitely credit my mom with is encouraging my experimentation without showing anger.  In middle school one year we were learning about the catalysis in science class.  This day it was salt and its ability to make water boil faster/hotter. Oooh, Jell-o uses hot water!  Imagine a pre-teen rushing home from the school bus and calling up his mother’s job, “Mommy, I’m home! Can I make some Jell-o?”  After receiving permission I proceeded to saturate this pot of water with salt, and when I say saturate, i mean the water looked like seawater.  I get this furious boil going, “Yes, now that’s what I’m talking about”, and finish out the rest of the Jell-o prep.  After letting it set, I present the Jell-o to the family and my mom can smell the salt from a mile away.  “How much salt did you use Ryan?”
“Ohhhh, enough to get it good and hot!”
You ever taste a salt lick before?  Now imagine that, in gelatin form, and that’s what I perfected that day!  After pretending to make me eat the whole bowl as a lesson learned, my mother helped explained why you add a pinch of salt, or a drop of oil to different recipes. I also remember trying to surprise my parents with breakfast in bed with homemade French toast and eggs, except I had the great idea that cinnamon went with everything.  Not trying it with 1 or 2 eggs, but with about 7, and here comes Ryan with a big ol’ bowl of brown speckled scrambled eggs.  I don’t think they laughed at me in my face, at least I don’t remember it, but as a parent now, I know they had to get a good laugh as I went back to the kitchen to make them more eggs.

When I met my wife, she could cook as well, and we would often “battle” in the kitchen while we dated.  Our first date was actually me inviting her over to a home-cooked meal since chicken was on sale at Safeway that weekend.  I was mainly an “onion” man, but she introduced all kinds of peppers into my repertoire after that dinner. We actually learned and stole from each others ideas and became quite a team in the kitchen.  Sometimes to this day, I think she made me the “winner” so that I can cook more, but she denies any wrongdoings. I do credit her with a lot of the envision to try new creations and she loves being my guinea pig on new dishes.  Early on in dating and in marriage, she actually blamed me for any type of weight gain as I would cook a sweet potato cobbler just because it was Wednesday.  My wife sometimes complains that my “twisting” a working recipe is sometimes too much. Sometimes I just never make a dish the way she loved it the previous way, as I was always looking for a new way to enhance food.

I will try anything and everything. Over a spades game discussing what fruit can be cooked spawned an impromptu pause in the game and then the baking of a strawberry cobbler (since I had strawberries to experiment with)…. return to game.   Stemming from that strawberry cobbler (which was truly amazing I must say) came the grape cobbler in the next few days.  This “why not” dessert turned out to be a light tasty peach-cobbler-like treat.  One function we were having seemed devoid of veggies on the menu.  “What veggies are grillable?”. We have some broccoli, lets Google it.  Sure enough people grill broccoli, mainly with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.  My daughter Nariah suggested Italian dressing on the broccoli instead and there you have it, a lil chef in the making!  Long story short, you mention it or request it, we’ll find a way to make it taste good.

  1. Tonya says:

    I can imagine Mrs. G saying, “Not anymore you don’t!” LOL! Why didn’t we ride the same bus back then so I could get some muffins? We lived like 5 minutes away! #DEPRIVED


  2. vrgoldman says:

    Haha, my bus did branch off 2 streets before yours didn’t it?


  3. Michele says:

    haaaaaaaaaa your mom is hilarious….ummmm sweet potato cobbler!!!!


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