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      It's hard to pin Grandma down

      Did you ever try to replicate your favorite dish of Grandma TMs? Have you ever asked Grandma for the recipe and she replied, Oh, I don TMt know, you take some of this and a little of that|

      A lot of what we learn seems to be absorbed by osmosis. Too much of what we could learn, we don TMt, because we never took the time to ask. It TMs a shame, because the generations that go before us have so much information to offer.

      My sister Nancy is fortunate to be the honorary granddaughter of one of Monroe City TMs finest octogenarians. Rita Jo Kendrick raised a brood of children and fed them those home-cooked meals that make farm wives revered in certain culinary circles. Nancy was invited to join the women of the Kendrick clan at a session of Rita Jo TMs Cooking School. The idea was for Rita Jo to pass down her cooking secrets to the younger generation.

      The students submitted their favorite grandma foods and spent the day under Rita Jo TMs tutelage.

      The women made roast, green beans, potatoes, rolls and Rita Jo TMs fabulous cream pies. And they made even better memories, preparing and sharing the meal with the family matriarch.

      The intent is to compile Rita Jo TMs recipes into a family cookbook. The hitch"like so many other great cooks, Rita Jo doesn TMt work by recipe. When you try to pin her down on an exact amount of an ingredient, she waffles. Oh, I don TMt know, it TMs just a little of this and a pinch of that.

      In Rita Jo TMs defense, how do you give a recipe for green beans? They TMre just beans. They come out of the garden, and that TMs naturally going to make them taste better. But what it really comes down to is this: they taste better just because Grandma Rita made them.

      Nancy was especially grateful to be invited to Rita Jo TMs Cooking School because our mother died before Nancy was married. Mom didn TMt have a recipe for anything. I never took the time to learn about things like what made Mom TMs cinnamon rolls so special, she told me.

      Mom was renowned for her cinnamon rolls. She would knead the bread until it felt right. How do you put that in a recipe? You can't. What really makes a home-cooked meal taste so good is not the ingredients you add, but the love you put into it.

      Take care~Sarah D.