Bumpers, Part 2 - A Cookbook That Bumped Me

Posted by Steven Russell on Monday, July 2, 2018

Another item that bumped me, as in being bumped along in your life as a pinball bumper knocks a ball quickly, often in a new direction, was a cookbook. I know it sounds odd. But hear me out.

My mother was a dietitian. Because of her I grew up analyzing everything I ate. At a very young age I became very aware of, and inquisitive of food and cooking. My mother was a great cook. I was naturally drawn to the things she would create. She encouraged me to shop with her, get to know what she was doing with the food, and eventually to cook with her, and on my own. One of the cookbooks she had, which I have had in my possession for about 30 years, is the Fanny Farmer Cookbook. This edition is probably from the mid-60s. I don’t know for sure since the cover and many of the first and last pages are long gone. The book is seriously browned, tattered, worn, and stained with greasy food remnants. I must have started looking at it when I was about 7 or 8. It was just about the time I got up the nerve to start trying to make things on my own.

What was special about this book? It was paperback and rather small, but loaded with good, intriguing, and easy to follow recipes. I must have made dozens of things from this book. It allowed me to express my sense of adventure. It provided me with many successes (and failures) in the kitchen. When other boys were getting accolades in sports and Scouts, I was baking cookies and liver loaf. My family was eating and enjoying (most of) what I made. It was a serious bump into my development as a person. It gave me a rewarding sense of accomplishment and a whole lot of confidence to do things in and out of the kitchen.

I miss my mom, but every time I cook, I think of her. She and the kitchen helped me rack up a lot of points.

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