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What Mom Didn't Cook

(by Laura Sturza)

Pick a cookbook from the 1960s or 1970s when my sister Jan and I were growing up in suburban Maryland. Any cookbook. Choose any recipe. Of those selected, 99.9 percent are ones my mother, Evelyn, did not make. In our home, no one was making casseroles or fried chicken or lasagna or an adventurous Chinese stir-fry.

In considering our childhood culinary adventure, such as it was, I credit Mom's food prepping practices as my primary source material. I hesitate to call her provisions actual cooking. My father was not involved in anything concerning food, beyond consumption. There were reasons my quite wonderful mother was kitchen averse. I'll get to them shortly.

In 1968, when