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The Worst Cook in the World

(by Dana Klosner-Wehner)

The kitchen was my mother’s lair. Not because she loved cooking. Just the opposite. She hated it. She almost took pride when she announced to family and friends that she was the worst cook in the world, bashing all stereotypes of a New York Jewish mother.

The results of her cooking ranged from sufficient to inedible. There’s the time we all remember with crystal clarity, when she tried her hand at homemade spaghetti sauce. She slaved for hours, poring over the cookbook, measuring, adding ingredients slowly, stirring and simmering. This would be her crowning glory. We held the spoonfuls of sauce to our lips in anticipation. Wait…. What the…. We tried to eat it; we really did. In exasperation, Mom poured it over the dog’s food. The dog took one sniff and bolted for the living room.

The one thing she always got right was spaghetti. After the fiasco, she never tried homemade sauce again, and she didn’t even use Ragu. She gave us spaghetti with ketchup, a delicacy in 1940s Brooklyn when she grew up. We inhaled it, going bac