I have a pretty terrible memory, lets just start there. But my earliest memory is of me and my Popo making burgers and fries for dinner. I can’t remember how young I am, but I remember being nose level with the kitchen counter, and watching with rapt attention as my grandfather taught me how to prep and clean before cooking.
I don’t think my brothers had been born yet, because I remember having my grandfather’s complete attention and when you’re the eldest child that stops happening. It was just my grandpa and I, my grandmother napping in the other room, and our mission was to make lunch.
I remember that my grandpa had these burger buns with onions in them, like cooked and carmelized onions chopped up and put within the bun. It gave the burger this savory sweetness that just enhanced the flavors of the beef and lettuce and tomato.
I was allowed to help with forming the patties, my tiny fingers rolling and patting each lump of beef into misshapen circles before being carefully deposited on a napkin covered plate. My grandpa then showed me how to gather all the ingredients and cut them neatly with the knife. He showed me the proper way to handle the knife and hand it over to another person, before cutting into the onions, tomatoes, and lettuce.
My main job as cook was fetching the materials. I went to the fridge for the produce, I grabbed knives, spices, and potatoes when asked, and then watched raptly while my grandpa took these ingredients and made something delicious. My favorite part, was watching as he grabbed a pan and then put it on the stove. It was my job to turn on the stove to just the right setting so that our burgers would cook perfectly.
When the pan was ready, my grandpa let me place the meat on the skillet, and helped me move them into place with the plastic spatula. Then, came the fries.
I carefully peeled the potatoes at a slow-moving pace, while my grandfather sliced through them economically with a knife. He didn’t rush me, my grandpa always thought it best that I learned how to do things myself. When my two potatoes were done, he showed me how to cut them.
Down the middle first, then lay the flat sides down and cut lengthwise.
My grandpa like to season his fries before putting them in the oil, and then season them again afterwards. We waited for the oil to heat up, and in the meantime checked the burgers. We flipped them, and then put the fries into the oil together. I screamed when the hot oil popped up and tried to get me, my grandpa just laughed.
That’s my earliest memory, and probably one of the most fond ones I have of my grandfather. He lives in Nevada now with my grandmother and my cousins, and I miss them all so very much. Some of my happiest memories are of me in the kitchen with a relative. Learning how to take care of myself from the people who take care of everybody.
In the comments let me know what your happiest and earliest memory is.