How far can you remember back?


My first memories are at 2 years old.


I am in my parent’s newlywed apartment- second floor of a three story walk-up. On the left.


 Enter living/dining area. Parquet floors. Large picture window looking out on the front lawn. Television on a gold metal cart in the corner on an angle. Captain Kangaroo on the tube. And Mighty Mouse. I love him. He can save the day. Large gold lamp on low table. Pretty. Modern sofa with no pillows. Black. Good for jumping but scratchy. Single bedroom off the dining area. Parent’s bed to the right as you walk in. My crib against the wall opposite the end of the bed. Dull wall color. Bad lighting. Overhead. One window. Gauzy curtains. The window is open and the fabric is moving. I like it.


It’s early. The daylight is dull. I want my mother.


I stand up in my crib and see that she is on ‘that’ side. I swing my leg over the railing and drop down. I can’t remember which side she’s on by the time I hit the floor. I move to the left. I reach up and wake my father. He yells. Loudly. And swats at me hitting my head.


I’m stunned. I swallow my breath. I open my mouth and nothing comes out. I feel something bad- it’s called fright. I can’t move. My first nightmare is with my eyes wide open.



Where is my mother? I need my mother, and swoosh, there she is. Scooping me up. Safe. Happy. Safe.


We are on our way into the galley kitchen with her whispering in my ear. I like her, and the kitchen.


All appliances to the right. Metal cabinets. They’re shiny and have a nice sound when they open. Click.


Single window with red and white curtains. I like the curtains.


There’s a clock that looks like a cat with his tail swinging. I like that cat.


The table is shiny aluminum-rimmed with a sticky top that has silver and grey swirls and little red bubbles. It feels smooth. I see funny faces in the swirls. The table has extensions that pull out- and up, clicking into place. I think this is very clever. The flatware pulls out of a drawer on the side. All the silverware is so organized. I could look at it for hours.



My mother lets me get my own fork before putting me in the hard beige booster seat on the red plastic covered matching chair. There are two.


She puts my small red plastic plate in front of me. I love the color. The scrambled eggs smell good.


I push it on the floor. As a show of love, and to see what sound it will make.


I like the sound.


My mother gently asks me not to push my plate off the table again.


I think,’Love Mommy’, but say nothing, just smile, and she smiles back.


That simple. I would do anything for her.


These days I continue to show my love on small plates, with small bite-size food, sometimes even on small red plates.



But, somehow, no one pushes it on the floor…


Booster seats optional. 


Beef Tips with Gorgonzola Sauce

Steak Preparation

  • 2 beef steaks- the cut is your choice

  • 2 Tablespoons Salt

  • 1/2 Tablespoon Pepper

  • 1/2 Tablespoon Onion powder

  • Olive Oil

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter- salted


  • 1 Cup of Gorgonzola cheese- grated

  • 1/4 Cup cream

  • 1 Tablespoon butter-salted

  • 1 teaspoon ground rosemary

  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour


  1. Cut the steaks into just a bit larger then bite-size pieces (they will shrink when they cook).

  2. Mix the dry ingredients together and put them into a large zip-lock bag.

  3. Place the steak pieces into the bag. Zip closed, and shake to cover the meat. Let this rest for at least 1/2 hour (we are tenderizing the meat). Make the sauce as follows:

  4. Melt the butter over a low heat so that it doesn’t burn- just melts.

  5. Add the cream and bring to a gentle boil.

  6. Add the grated cheese and stir to combine.

  7. Lower heat to simmer.

  8. Whisk in the flour. Return to simmer, add the rosemary, stir, and then take off the heat. It will be runny but will come together as it sits.

  9. Pour the cheese sauce into a container that has a pouring lip- like a glass Pyrex measuring cup. Cover to keep warm.

  10. In a new larger skillet, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter that was listed for the steak prep.

  11. Add a few tablespoons of oil, blend, and increase the heat.

  12. When the oil is very hot, place the steak bites into it and brown on all sides.

  13. When nicely browned, lower the heat to medium high, and continue to cook the steak for an additional 5-7 minutes, turning often.

  14. Remove the steak from the skillet and place on paper towels to soak-up excess oil.

  15. Remove the covering from the sauce and stir to blend again.

  16. Pour some sauce on a plate and place several steak bites on top.

  17. Add a sprig of fresh rosemary for garnish.


Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

 Ingredients & Preparation (makes 8)

  • 8 large capped mushrooms- stemmed and cleaned

  • 2 Cups crab meat

  • 1/4 cup mayonaise

  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

  • 1 teaspoon smokey paprika (often times labeled as Spanish paprika)

  • Your favorite barbecue sauce


  1. Place the mushrooms on a lined baking tray.

  2. Combine all the other ingredients.

  3. Stuff the mushrooms.

  4. Place under a broiler until the tops are golden.

  5. Remove from heat and cover. The ingredients will continue to ‘come-together’ for the next few minutes.

  6. Drizzle a little of the barbecue sauce on  a plate. 

  7. Uncover the mushrooms and place on plate.

  8. Garnish with a few cherry tomatoes, or splay a yellow pepper like I did. 


You’re Welcome

  • Journey McGuire - My first memory was seeing some kids wiener at nap time so you definitely have me beat.ReplyCancel

  • Vashti Quiroz-Vega - Yum! That looks scrumptious and so classy! Thanks for sharing!
    Vashti Quiroz-Vega recently posted…I Love Animals!My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You’re welcome! And if you try it give me a jingle with any suggestions. I’m not kidding. A pinch more of this….a tad of that… etc.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Graham - What a precious memory (and post) You stirred all kinds of memories and emotions. Nicely done – I enjoyed the ride.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - How nice Carol. I wanted to share the recipes and I thought,”What’s the first plate I remember?’ and it was a small red one, so there you go… a post!ReplyCancel

  • Rasma Raisters - Such wonderful childhood memories and such delicious food.ReplyCancel

  • Diane Tolley - Love this! So many of my memories include food . . .
    My first memory was when I was two as well. I was trampled by a mad mama cow and saved by my heroic mother. And then she and I were saved by my highly enraged father. True story. And the only casualty was one red leather cowboy boot. Then tears and cuddles and treats. ReplyCancel


We have two, or three, children, depending on when you entered our lives.


I usually say, we have two biological children and an adopted child, though we never legally adopted our third.






Let me explain.


Ben and I birthed (who are we kidding? I BIRTHED our two kids– a boy, then a girl) then, many years later we took-in a third boy (a few months older then our oldest child- a son, when they were both 17) and made him our own.


His name is Tyler.


He is the light of our collective lives ( and I do mean ‘Collective- the entire family accepted him as one of their own).


We I had never considered adoption because we I had never had to consider it. They came from us me – or they didn’t come at all.


It was just that easy.


“I think we should have a baby”.






“Another one seems right”.






I’ve joked that all Ben had to do was look at me and I was pregnant, which is my mothers’s premonition about ‘birthing hips’ come  to roost.


Thanks Mom. I’ve always loved barn yard animals that made me spit nails. What a way  to build a barn.



Anywho, Tyler came to us one summer after a horrific event in his life and no one (least I could see) that would come to his rescue.


“Kids? Are we onboard?”


“Yes, we are.”






“Okay then. Here we go”.



(And, some how, this post, is eventually supposed to lead back to our daughters apartment interior decoration.What am I writing here?)


So… all I can recall is that I love my kids, and they are my inspiration, and I love to partake of their E.N.V.I.R.O.M.E.N.T.



Which clumsily leads to these before and after pictures of Bryn’s Columbus, Ohio apartment.



Because, wether you came out of the garden hose, or not, I’ve got your back– or at least I’ll help you hang art.

















After… with Ned inspecting.


  • Lux Ganzon - You’ve got a lovely family. And that looks like a cozy apartment.
    Lux Ganzon recently posted…Monday Gratitude List 5My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It did turn out great. It was a pain in the ass- but it turned out great. It’s all about them- right? snoozzzzzzzzeeeeeeReplyCancel

  • Chloe Jeffreys - Damn girl! You gots talent! Very nice. So cozy. I wish I lived near you and could spend time learning from you. You have skillz.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I come from a l-o-n-g line of designers. The apple didn’t fall that far- it never does. -wink-ReplyCancel

  • Shelley Zurek - Wonderful redecoration. I swear I am looking at a magazine. You really understand lighting.
    Shelley Zurek recently posted…Women 40-65: Replenish research study open for applicationMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Wow- you really saw that? Wonderful!!! Yes- lighting is an often times greatly overlooked accessory. you’ve got a good eye!!!ReplyCancel

  • Lisha Fink - And now she lives in a pleasant house, as well. Good work, mama.
    Lisha Fink recently posted…The Big OMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - How clever! I should have used that line Lisha! Are you a writer or something? -wink-ReplyCancel

  • Sue - I like how you added the small table next to the island and the new chairs for the island with backs, plus the lamps in the bathroom and kitchen make it look so homey.
    Sue recently posted…Sleepless In Seattle Houseboat on Lake UnionMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - The island stopped before the ceramic tile on the floor Sue, leaving this’area’ that was open so it looked like the perfect spot for an extension using her table (I love these chairs- so retro). There was an electrical outlet under the counter at the end of the island so… voila! As for table top lighting in the loo- I always try to do that. Makes using it a pleasure!ReplyCancel

  • Manal The Go Go Girl - Beautiful job! Love what you’ve done with the apartment. And bravo for taking in your third baby :)
    Manal The Go Go Girl recently posted…STOP killing our children!My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thanks Manal! Sometimes life throws you a curve ball- or a big box of an apartment.ReplyCancel

  • Diane Tolley - Gorgeous! The homemaking fairy endowed you royally!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes she did. Her christian name was Mom. At she was a tough task-master. HahaaaaaReplyCancel

  • David Stillwell - I fear you left the reader hanging with the long introduction to Tyler and then you derailed into lamps. So if you can go back and tell us more about Tyler that would be heavenly… BTW awesome job on the apartment and Ned is interestingly handsome while curiously distancing. :-)ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - So… you want more Tyler story? I hear ya.ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Fancy digs. Just wait. They always move back at least once. Mine did it twice. One couple at church were tired of moving their daughter in and out of different places. They really gave thanks when she married.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - So far- only Tyler. Now, he lives just around the corner. Does that count?ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - Wow! I’m sure my hubby would sign me over for adoptionReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You’d have to get in line Hahahaaa!ReplyCancel

  • Johnny Serio - Well since I stumbled across this eloquent essay of yours, I had better comment…
    I remember very well that transition in your lives, and I think no one knew exactly what to make of it at the time…bold, if nothing else. You have led by example for your children and all who witnessed. Very proud of you, good work!
    ooxx, johnny ReplyCancel

  • Gary Sidley - What fabulous room transformations. An expert in interior design; your skills know no bounds.
    Gary Sidley recently posted…A table for oneMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I really should have gone into Interior Design but then I’d have to work with people- a deal breaker.ReplyCancel

  • Rhonda - Holy Cow. I’m in my 30’s and my house isn’t as well decorated as that apartment! Nicely done!
    Rhonda recently posted…School Dress Code Says “Put Some Clothes On”My ProfileReplyCancel

  • Cary - You did a smashing job! Love it (though I think she may have a cat infestation).
    Cary recently posted…Dear Dr. Dentist,My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh yes. She does- two of them. The apple not falling far (and all that).ReplyCancel

  • Johnny Serio - Yes, I remember Tyler being a REALLY good kid! Love and miss you all too!ReplyCancel

  • MJM - Are you available to decorate a friend’s house, I’d pay you…do you accept foodstamps?
    MJM recently posted…“In Your Face”My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - A ‘friend’? Do they have wine?ReplyCancel

Where were you?


What were you doing that morning?


What was your life like before that day, because I promise you, even if you may not know it, your life was changed.


Our kids had gone off to school.


My husband had promised to be home early.


I had taken the day off to pack for our first cruise (with tickets to Miami the next morning) and was getting ready to go to an Amish wedding. I am not kidding.


I had turned a morning talk/news show on in the kitchen.






Are they kidding?




Are they filming a movie in real time?




Am I seeing this? What’s with that plane flying so low?


“We interupt your programming to bring you breaking local news. There is an unresponsive plane flying over Cleveland. Authorites do not know if this is related to incoming reports of an air attack in New York.”


What the fuck is going on?…. the kids.




“Get home. They’ve locked down the school. I’m sneaking up through the woods. What? I’m going. Jesus, get home.”




“I’m calling for Cheryl Nicholl. May I speak to her please?’


“Who is this?”


“This is Tampa General Hospital. Your father has had a severe heart attack. He won’t let us stabilize him until he speaks with you.”



“Your father….”


“Put him on.”


“Hi honey!”


“Are you fucking kidding me Dad? Do you know what’s going on? A heart attack? Let them do whatever they need to do. For the love of God! What is your problem?”


“I was just thinking maybe you and your sister could come down for a visit…don’t touch me with that fucking thing until I’m done taking with my daughter…”


“Dad. You’ve had a heart attack but there are planes in the sky that are flying into buildings. One’s over my head. I have no idea what’s happening right now. Let them do what they have to do and I’ll talk with you later, for Christ’s sake. “


“Okay sweetheart. Call your sister and I’ll expect you both tomorrow.”


“Dad. You’re killing me. Put the nurse back on.”


So, I could not get the kids out of school, we did not go to the Amish wedding, the cruise was cancelled, the tickets were transferred to what was the first commercial flight out of Cleveland to Tampa (three days later?), with all of 6 passengers (my sister included) and an Air Marshall who walked up and down the aisle with his hand on a revolver the entire flight, Dad had his triple by-pass, my sister and I cleaned and reorganized his apartment, we arranged for a home care service to attend to him upon his return, my knee swelled up to the size of a grapefruit (why?), I was told by an ophthalmologist doing a a rotation through the ER that I probably had bone cancer (not), during which my father’s cleaning lady/girlfriend/grifter ransacked his apartment, and my sister went to retrieve my father’s car out of the impound lot because we knew he had a loaded gun under his seat (otherwise we wouldn’t have cared).


One week later, on September 18, we returned to our normal lives- except none of us did- did we.



Let Us Not Forget

  • Cary - I was a trainer for a phone relay service for the deaf when I learned about 9/11. All of a sudden, our relay calls escalated. All of our operators were relaying calls for the deaf one right after the other. It was against regulation to talk about their calls, but the operators were talking about something terrible happening in New York. I ran to the break room to watch it on the news while all operators had to continue to relay calls about this tragedy without becoming emotionally involved. A business decision was made to shut down the center that afternoon. Remembering this still feels like I had dreamed it all.
    Cary recently posted…Before You Share on HuffPost LiveMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Everyone has a story. Sorta like where you were when Kennedy was shot (if your old enough- not you). This is fascinating. They shut down the service for the afternoon? That doesn’t seem right. Was it because the service couldn’t handle the load?ReplyCancel

  • William Kendall - I was supposed to be travelling that day by road. One of the relatives called, told us to turn on the news, and there was the first tower burning. From there it just got worse.
    William Kendall recently posted…Seventy Years OnMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thanks for sharing William. Everyone has their story. It was a scary day. I knew someone was going to get their ass kicked. Look where we are now.ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin - As a South African I feel like a voyeur while reading these posts across the web today. I remember that I was 10, watching the news and asking my Dad is WW3 was about to happen. My heart goes out to everyone who suffered because of this day.
    Caitlin recently posted…The Universe & Tough Love – Part 2My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - From the entire country- Thank you. I also wondered what would happen next? What would be our response here and I knew someone’s ass was going to get kicked. Now look at the world. Has anything changed? What a sad state of affairs. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I really appreciate it Caitlin.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - The world changed on that day. Well, it was always this way, but we just didn’t know it. We changed.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Our false sense of security was taken away. As well as so many other things.ReplyCancel

  • Susan Cook Bonifant - Never forgot the feeling that “we are not safe anymore”. ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes. That’s it. Me too. OMG are we being invaded? Who’s here? What do they have planned? How can we protect our country when it’s so ‘free’ and ‘open’? All questions we are still grappling with.ReplyCancel

  • Gary Sidley - You have so many personal/additional reasons to remember that day. My most distinctive memory is walking past the local kebab shop, run by people of Asian origin, and muttering obscenities & threats to them under my breath – so irrational, I know, but it was an exceptionally confusing day. ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I can understand that. One of our kid’s favorite locals was/is a family that runs a sub-shop in town from Morocco. Interestingly, that was where we all ended up having a bite to eat that day- outside without a plane in the sky (so quite). He was so apologetic and wanted us to know that not all Muslims were extremists. I felt so bad for him, but the town rallied round and he has gone on to owning two shops and his oldest girl was Homecoming Queen last year!ReplyCancel

  • Marcia Shaw Wyatt - That was a day that did in fact change the world around me. I felt fear that day – real true raw fear … and I’ll never forget it. Experiencing that day and living through it, taught me to better appreciate the people in my life and also the peace and lack of fear that I normally live with. It taught me to be happier. September 11th was a horrible day that forever changed my world and woke me up. I am not the least bit thankful that September 11th happened, but I am, however, glad that some good could come out of it.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I feel the same way. Awful but awe-inspiring. I guess good things can be the result of pure evil.ReplyCancel

  • Sue Pekarek - Thank you for sharing your story, we all have our stories from that day. I also remember anguishing for so long on how the victims were killed; being crushed, burned, jumping out the windows and knowing they were going to crash in a plane!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Awful day. Later we in Cleveland found out the plane that had circled over the city was the one that crashed in PA. Omg I saw themReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - You had far more stress than I did. I turned on the TV just as the first plane struck (three hour time difference). I knew we were under attack and it would be bad. I called my daughter and told her to get to the base (Marine). She beat her director because of the early warning. It didn’t change my world or rather my way of thinking, but it definitely changed that of many people.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Do you fly? Have you been to an airport? I remember the days of being able to wear shoes and not having to get frisked. They are long gone.ReplyCancel

  • Mark R Hunter - Well, your story certainly beats mine. Mine didn’t involve surgery, for instance! But it was sure a long day for all of us.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It’s a day that just keeps on giving. The world is on fire because of it.ReplyCancel


It has been quite a journey with our children.


Our oldest, son Chase, began his journey in Boston, at Berkeley School of Music (and then the world).


Our daughter, on no less an illustrious path, first with a bachelors in Business from Tulane University, and then a post-bac in Science from Loyola in Chicago, on her way to receiving a DVM from Ohio State University, is in tow.


While Chase was in Boston, I discovered the Eliot Hotel, which turned out to be the best place in the Universe to visit our son (and hang your hat on the way to Europe, and then again, on your return).


“So wonderful to see you again Mrs. Nicholl. Did you enjoy your visit for Thanksgiving with your daughter in France?’.


“Why yes I did. Do you have a very dry white ready for me in my rooms?”.



“Yes, we do. And plenty of ice”.



“Is this the same suite that you’re willing to forego your ‘Smoking Policy’ on?”.


“Why, yes it is”.


“Perfect. You remember that I tip well?”.


“Yes, we do”.




“Is there anything else we can do for you?”.


“Don’t wake me ’till noon even if the fire alarm goes off. I have a 3’oclock flight. I’d like to be on it”– Or, something like this from a Betty Grable movie.


I always loved Betty.


Anywho, our youngest, daughter Bryn, has left Chicago for Columbus, Ohio, to earn her DVM at The Ohio State University, and I committed (like any good mother would) to helping her move (which translates to bleeding from the wrists) to her new apartment.


After a four day moving delay, the threat of breach of relocation contract, sleeping on floors, two nights at a Hilton, one night at a friends, and pillows from KMart, we finally got her settled and I returned to my beloved New Orleans, the husband, the cats, and a load of laundry, with a smile on my face, and a tear for Chicago.


Oh, how you shall be missed.




Taken, by me, on the last night of her residency. What a city!

  • William Kendall - That counts as a chaotic move.
    William Kendall recently posted…Within A SanctuaryMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh God. It really was. Just the physical labor involved, the driving, the dealing with inept people, and all the while trying to support her as she starts Vet school. I’m exhausted.ReplyCancel

  • Cary Vaughn - Kmart pillows?!?! You poor thing. It warms my heart to know what you sacrifice for your children. Much love to you.
    Cary Vaughn recently posted…Shenaniganing in Memphis: The Ostrander AwardsMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Can you imagine? KMart! Polyfoam. Cotton/poly-ply pillow cases. A blanket on the floor! A single dangling lightbulb above!!… at least there was wine- but PAPER CUPS! The list of sacrifices go on and on…ReplyCancel

  • Lynda@fitnessmomwinecountry - Cheryl, what an adventure. So bittersweet right? Our oldest really never let me move him. I am hoping our middle son our daughter will let me have that experience. Welcome back home
    Lynda@fitnessmomwinecountry recently posted…The Love StoryMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thanks! It good to be back! Happy to see you Lynda! Always a pleasure my dear!ReplyCancel

  • Kb Cash - Proper tipping is a lost art. Well done.ReplyCancel

  • Linda Roy - You are fabulous! xoReplyCancel

  • Kathleen O'Donnell - Definitely a perk to paying for college…cool cities to go visit! Chicago is one of the few places I haven’t been. I wanna go though. Shop that miracle mile!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - The Mile is a miracle- at evacuating your wallet!ReplyCancel

  • Roshni - Congratulations to your daughter! And, I loved how you dealt with the minions…err…I mean, hotel staff!!
    Roshni recently posted…how old couples fight!My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you and experience does pay off sometimes! HA!ReplyCancel

  • When Crazy Meets Exhaustion - You are SO proper :) And hey–did I miss the HGTV post? Help a dummy out!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - SO.(hehehehe) and No. I haven’t posted it yet bc the idiots haven’t scheduled our episode yet and I’d like it to coincide w THE e-p-i-s-o-d-e, which I’m starting to think might never air. Jesus, you’d think HGTV would have their shit together. NOT. I’ll let you know. Thanks for asking my dear.ReplyCancel

  • Sue Pekarek - Love that Bryn is going to become a vet. Our pup almost died a few weeks ago and the doctors saved her life.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Ben’s counting on her to put HIM down when the day comes. So happy your pup was saved- which is much more important then what I just said.ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - I do hope you find another hotel as accommodating. It’s really getting to be a bear while traveling if one smokes as (obviously) we both do. Congratulations to your high achieving children. ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - Any post that mentions Philip Roth gets my attention! And of course, you do rock, Cheryl!
    Carol Cassara recently posted…To Ray Rice’s wife: stop domestic violenceMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you dear Carol. I think we both have the ‘rockin’ thing down. HahaaaaaaReplyCancel

  • Tammy - Does your kidlet know how damn lucky she is to have you for her mother? If not, what’s her phone number? I’ve never been to Chicago but I see it on the new a lot. I’m thinking there is a lot more to it than that. One day!
    Tammy recently posted…Can a sassy woman blogger shame the NFL even if she doesn’t know a thing about football?My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Chicago is the best America has to offer- big city living with a small town feel. International vibe with midwestern kindness. Clean. Green. and not mean. Seriously- I could live there. Maybe we should visit- together?ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - You mean you actually got to smoke! It is becoming so hard to find a good hotel where we can still light up!
    Rena McDaniel recently posted…ABOUT “AROUND CHARLESTON”My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh yes. I find I can ‘smoke’ in a lot of hotels. You just have to ‘inquire’. -wink-ReplyCancel


For most of you, this will seem like a ‘no-brainer’.



For some of you (I’m looking at you son), this may be a life saver, and since I’m a very good swimmer, I shall respond to the man in the sinking boat.


The other week, Chase and I had a phone conversation about what he was going to have for dinner that night. This is what mother’s do- have inane conversations that are actually fact finding missions wrapped up in sweet talk.


After, a little of ‘How are ya?’ and ‘Whatya doin’?’ I went right for the juggler and asked, ‘What are you cooking for dinner, since Lauren doesn’t get home ’till late, and I would expect you to have supper ready for her?’.


Now, our son is a grown man (more or less). He has a world-class powerful job. He is revered by his collegues. He is in a long-term loving relationship with aforementioned Lauren (who is my hero), and he was raised by me, and by ‘me’ I mean moi.


If there were ten things I taught him, one of them was to  use your head and cook your own food.


Except, it turns out, I didn’t. I taught him to expect that good food would be ready every night, prepared by someone else, which was me, the devil Angel in Prada.


Next to insisting he not take his clothes off inside out and leave them on the floor, I always thought he was paying attention.




Silly Mommy.


So, after asking him, “What the hell were you  paying attention to all those years ago?”, and “Did I raise a wolf?”,  he told me he seriously didn’t know where to begin and that they didn’t know how to even start.


Oh. My. God. I. Am. A. Failure.


“Okay, okay” I said, “It’s never  to late”. (Which translated to: “Once you get married and have kid’s someone will need to know how to cook ’cause, if you don’t, you’ll spend an exorbitant amount of moola on meals, and your kids will become weakly from crap nutrition, and I can just feel a riff in the long-term relationship fabric, and bills probably not getting paid, which will led to living in a trailer, and the guy next door will burn tires for heat and keep pet snakes, which will turn into a whole mess with the local health department, and I really don’t want to have to deal with the authorities in the holler’s of West Virginia”- ’cause it’s never about me.


No matter what he heard (As I sweep my hand across my body with a dramatic eye roll), let’s begin with basic’s, shall we?


When you are grown-up enough to have a kitchen of your own, you should actually use it for more then just keeping your excess sweaters in the oven, serving drinks, and nuking a frozen meal. (Though I am totally on-board with the drinks).


You can begin by having paid attention to your mother as you grew up (opportunity had and lost), buy a cookbook and grocery shop (Shit, Mom. I’m busy), or press the little phone icon on your cell when it rings which then turns into this post.


The choice was always yours….


Shall we begin? I think we shall…



1) Foods need seasoning if you’re starting from scratch- like life. Remember you as a little tadpole? I do. The basics would include:


  • salt

  • black pepper

  • chopped parsley

  • paprika

  • marjoram

  • ground mustard

  • garlic powder

  • chili powder

  • dehydrated onion flakes

  • white vinegar

  • olive oil

  • wet mustard

  • ketchup

  • mayonaise

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • soy sauce

  • white granulated sugar

  • brown sugar

  • confectioner’s sugar

  • vanilla extract

  • ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice


2) Some food will require development. You might need to change the consistency as it cooks, or create a chemical reaction. Think of this like a relationship you’d like to go farther then just ‘Wanna come back to my place?’ to ‘I love you’.

  • baking soda

  • baking powder

  • corn starch

  • dry yeast


3) And don’t try to convince me you don’t like carbs. All of humanity likes carbs. Even the vegans (which I consider skirting the humanity qualifier, anyways).

  • white enriched flour

  • dried rice

  • dehydrated potatoes

  • Italian bread crumbs

  • panko flakes

  • egg noodles

  • spaghetti noodles

  • bread


4) As much as food snobs would like to convince you that no one worth a grain of salt would use anything out of a can (or jar)… you need canned goods. They will sustain you in times of trouble, like a good Simon and Garfunkel song. (“Who?” you ask? God I’m old).

  • crushed tomato

  • tomato paste

  • black olives

  • pimento stuffed green olives

  • green olive salad

  • pesto

  • soup

  • tuna

  • peanut butter

  • Italian salad dressing

  • chocolate sauce

  • jam


5) Don’t open your refrigerator door and see your mis-spent youth before you. Lie. I always have.

  • eggs

  • salted butter

  • sour cream

  • plain yogurt

  • milk

  • cream

  • fresh fruit juice

  • cheese

  • deli meats

  • fresh vegetables that include celery, carrots, peppers, and whole potatoes

  • fresh fruit that include lemons and limes

  • whipped cream


6) The freezer. It’s good for more than syrupy vodka.

  • vodka

  • Meat

  • Ice Cream

  • leftovers ( yes- you will have some)

  • one ice box dessert

  • vacuum packed vegetables and/or fruit

  • Ice. For the love of God, don’t forget the ice.


7)  Then there are the incidentals, like coffee, tea, and me…



Just ask Ben.

He’s been eating well for years.


I was gone 2 weeks. The fridge started talking. Did Ben clean it out? Back to the Starting Line.

  • Tammy - Loved it! As it turns out, I am a failure too. It gets worse. My daughter insists that I never cooked for her. Really? I wonder who fed her those ribs, chops, salads, fettuccini, etc., all those years. I’ve also been scolded for allowing her to eat baloney. Nothing was said about having a child who refused to eat anything else in her lunchbox. It appears that as she gets older … it’s ALWAYS about me!
    Tammy recently posted…I Want To Be A Gross, Stereotypical Objectification. Don’t You?My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Kid’s are such assholes. I will cook dishes that I believe they loved as kids and they will now say ‘I never liked that’. Really? You sure as shit ate a lot of it! I have also been critiqued for lunch meats. ANd asked why I didn’t slaughter my own meat. Make of that what you will….ReplyCancel

      • Michael M. Fury - OMG….you, the consummate mom…. said it right out loud…… but its true….. kids are such assholes …… until they have their own, and start to be parents…. so encourage them to have kids….. Its the best revenge! Hopefully they’ll turn out just like they were at this age.ReplyCancel

        • Cheryl - I liked two words in your comment, and will hold them close to my heart: consummate & asshole. A fine combination.ReplyCancel

          • Michael M. Fury - are you trying to tell me something Cheryl?

          • Cheryl - Hahahahaaaaa

          • Michael M. Fury - What no answer, am i a consummate asshole you hold close to your heart?

          • Cheryl - Nonono…. I just like the term asshole. You are not one.

  • Jessica - Vodka in the freezer? Intriguing! Other than that (and the fact that I have no need for olives, because: gross), I think I’ve done rather well stocking my kitchen! And thanks for reminding me that I need to get butter. ;)ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh yes. The low temp makes it syrupyyyyyyeeeee. And, you’re welcome. Now, I’m off to the grocer! There’s a cake in the works.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - Yeah..I need for my son to read this post! Great list!
    Michelle recently posted…He’s Only Trying To HelpMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Have I forgotten anything Michelle? What can you add? Oh yes- Blood Sweat & Tears. I forgot those.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - And having seen all that advice, he will go out to eat every night. Because stocking a kitchen would mean actually having to PREPARE something.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Torris - First of all this is hilarious…Oh.MY.God! Second, I am copying the list because I think I need to get rid of stuff and get better stuff! Thirdly, your son is not old yet so there really is hope. Really!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - He’s 28!!! Other then grilling- he’s clueless ( reminds me of another male in my life). Men.ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - A man would want all that “white” stuff like pasta. It’s handy for an emergency, but I rarely eat that anymore. The freezer needs lots of veggies (even if it is just your favorite kind), chicken, pork, and ground beef (handiest for an emergency). I made mine shop for the ingredients and then prepare a meal once a week. Yes, I was a mean Mommy.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Good for you. Mean is sometimes the way to go.ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - My son is the same way! My daughter though has it all together and I have to admit is a pretty good cook.ReplyCancel

  • Sue - Loved this whole post from start to checkout lane. Good Lord, I had to look up what Panko flakes.
    Sue recently posted…Restored Old House For Sale: Darling 1921 CottageMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - So clever Sue (’till checkout lane). Hahahaaaa. And you have to try Panko flakes. Better then Italian Bread crumbs- for real.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Graham - Pretty good list — I still have a college palate :)ReplyCancel

  • Diane - Husby loves to cook. So all of our sons love to cook. Now our daughters, that is a whole other story . . .
    Diane recently posted…Type-CastMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - My men like to eat, but our daughter is learning, and getting quite good at it. She even buys cookbooks. Imagine…ReplyCancel

  • Michael M. Fury - Cheryl , as one of my favorite motivational speakers would tell you- he’ll wind up in a trailer, down by the river! Why do women expect their men to do things when they are not home, that they dont do while they are at home? For me whisky not vodka, would be the essential. Thanks for the post! LolReplyCancel

  • Roshni - You’re such a good mom-in-law!!! I hope he was ready and waiting for her with a glass of wine in one hand and a plate of fragrant food in another!!
    Roshni recently posted…You won’t read another post on Ganesh Chaturthi like this one!My ProfileReplyCancel

  • Jana - My husband did most of the cooking, since I work a 8-5 job and he had the luxury of working from home. However, now that he has decided he is not a family man and moved out, I let my young adult kids know that they need to pull their weight and make a meal or two each week. Daughter is already a pretty good cook – but son is limited to peanut butter sandwiches, soup, and mac & cheese. Luckily, he does seem interested in learning and we spent a few hours this weekend cooking together. Here’s hoping it sticks.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I’m pulling for you- and your meals. Here’s to wishing you a life time of wonderful meals, and new found happiness. XXOOReplyCancel

  • Jill Shaw - 6) good for more “THAN” not “then” dear . Two entirely different words and meanings . It must have been a typo like “next store” instead of “next door ” . Overall a very helpful cute and funny article . It is my first time visiting your blog . Also , please don’t forget the cinnamon ;) ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you Mistress Jill, the corrections have been attended to(o). Oops. HA!ReplyCancel

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