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My dad, this forum, my NY's resolution

JillElise's picture

I just sent my 80 year old Dad a link to the Asian Beef Short Ribs recipe, and that got me thinking.
My dad has become the cook at home. My Mom is no longer very capable, nor very willing (after many, many years of cooking) to cook. So there's my dad, adventurous but not very knowledgeable, making dinner most every night. When I visit them, on the opposite coast, I go with a cooler full of frozen dinners I've made in portions to suit them, and they go out for dinner once or twice a week. Otherwise, my dad cooks.
He'd be the sort to come here - if he ever came here, which I don't think he will as he phones me with his questions - and ask the most basic questions. And I wonder, would we answer kindly? Or would we feel his questions beneath our notice?
Some of you will surely get your backs up, and forgive me if you feel insulted. I sometimes ignore those simple questions so this is aimed at me as much as anyone.
I think when people have questions to ask, this could be the first place they happen on, instead of finding answers where they are readily available elsewhere on the net. And that should be ok with me.

So here's my resolution for the coming year: to answer any and all questions I have the knowledge and experience to answer, even if they are the most basic of questions. Because one of those people might be someone's 80 year old father, or someone else who just simply needs a little help.

We used to own a bookstore and I'm ashamed to admit I was such a big snob about books - anyone who read romances or science fiction or any other of what I foolishly considered lowbrow books was beneath contempt. Forgive me - I have - I was very young. I later realized that no matter what people read, reading in and of itself is what's important. And so it is with cooking: as long as we cook, we take ingredients and combine them, we are cooks, and I need to respect that.

For some reason, it seems important to share this with the rest of you. Thanks.

kathymcmo's picture

(post #51493, reply #1 of 39)

I'm touched by your post, very much, thank you. Your dad sounds like a great guy.

And as someone who's not very knowledgeable, I have felt by and large welcomed here and able to ask what may seem like naive questions. But it took me a year of just reading the forum to get my nerve up to jump in, several times I thought I would but then some dustup happening that scared me off. But all in all I think people here are welcoming and very quick to offer advice and support. Thanks for the reminder that we should keep it so.

JillElise's picture

(post #51493, reply #5 of 39)

Thanks, my Dad is a wonderful person.

I'm glad you feel you and your question are welcome. I feel the same.

shywoodlandcreature's picture

(post #51493, reply #2 of 39)

Nice little essay. Thank you. Though I'd rather not, I have to admit to recognizing my own arrogance and impatience in some areas (including books, I'm afraid!)I'm striving (and sometimes succeeding) to improve my own attitude.

I'm in the camp that thinks there are no stupid questions, though stupid answers abound. I'd hope your father could join us and count on the same wisdom, useful advice, and good-humoured (usually!)ribbing that I've enjoyed here over the years. I've never yet seen a real question about cooking, or indeed about life in general, be ignored or treated with anything other than respect here.

"If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies". -Moshe Dayan, military leader and politician (1915-1981)
JillElise's picture

(post #51493, reply #6 of 39)

suz's picture

(post #51493, reply #3 of 39)

80 and cooking.  Kudos to your dad.  This is certainly a good time of year to remember the act of kindness.  I'm glad you shared your thoughts.

JillElise's picture

(post #51493, reply #7 of 39)

Thanks. I am his cooking cheerleader.

Acts of kindness are so important. I've been reading about happiness being "contagious" and those of us that are happy tend to have happy friends. Chicken, egg...? Who knows!

Marcia's picture

(post #51493, reply #4 of 39)

Lovely post...your parents did a good job. :)

You're right on every count, of course, which doesn't hurt.

JillElise's picture

(post #51493, reply #8 of 39)

BossHog's picture

(post #51493, reply #9 of 39)

I can tell ya that *I* appreciate it.

I wandered over here from BT not knowing how I'd be recieved. Some of the things I make and the relatively small amount of stuff I know about cooking probably annoys some of you.

I really do appreciate the amount of help I've gotten here, and look forward to getting more in the future.

Only a life lived for others is worth living [Albert Einstein]

UncleDunc's picture

(post #51493, reply #10 of 39)

>> And I wonder, would we answer kindly?

I've seen many, many basic questions answered kindly here. I've seen some answered a little brusquely. I've seen some not answered at all, probably because they scrolled off the front page before the right person saw them. Abusive answers to basic questions are pretty rare, IME.

JillElise's picture

(post #51493, reply #12 of 39)

That sounds about right. We're a pretty nice bunch on the whole!

Jean's picture

(post #51493, reply #11 of 39)

Nice post, Jill. As for the rest of us, if the shoe fits....

bellbutt.gifAnd he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,        Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
JillElise's picture

(post #51493, reply #13 of 39)

Thanks, Jean.

I figure if I live to be about, oh, let's say, five hundred years old, I might finally be wearing the shoes I'd like to. :-)

drussell's picture

(post #51493, reply #14 of 39)

I think most people here would be quite nice and helpful. I just say that because I got a lot of very helpful information on chopping chocolate from a block only a few days ago.

 The thing is, I think there are some areas that many of us are very experienced in and other areas that we don't know very much about. I've done quite a bit of baking that includes fruits, nuts, spices but not much in the way of chocolate. I got a lot of information and tips on handling my particular problem with chocolate after I posted a question and all of it was considerate. So whatever the question or problem is, I think most of the people on this site are  respectful.

JillElise's picture

(post #51493, reply #15 of 39)

It's good to hear that's been your experience.

beejay's picture

(post #51493, reply #16 of 39)

JillElsie, Suzanne Roman will bless you.  Taunton Press does indeed want Forum users to be gratious to timorous newbies and welcome them.  I, to am learning to cook and you all have been great answering my question.  But I'm not 80 yet.  (Next income tax day.  I'm throwing my own Bday party. Wanna come?)


Gardening, cooking and woodworking in South'n Murlyn'
Gardening, cooking and woodworking in South'n Murlyn'
JillElise's picture

(post #51493, reply #26 of 39)

That place I go on the opposite Coast is Maryland! My folks live near Annapolis, so I just might be there for tax season!

Marie Louise's picture

(post #51493, reply #17 of 39)

I already try and do that.

tones's picture

(post #51493, reply #18 of 39)

It's a warm, heartening way to end my night.  Your sentiments in your post are very special, and as usual, the CT'ers here have kind, caring responses...this site is indeed important and relevant to me.  I am so happy that you appreciate your parents.

Ozark's picture

(post #51493, reply #19 of 39)

My 83 year old dad is in the same situation. Maybe we should start a post to get ideas on meals. Simple and easy for two.


 I have made a lot of money in my life. Most of it I spent on women and boats. The rest I simply wasted!!


Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional!

Canuck's picture

(post #51493, reply #20 of 39)

You make some great points. I've thought of some of these since about August, when it seemed like a lot of people left. Biscuit still hasn't returned, and I expect that she won't, and Marie-Louise was missed too. I'm glad she's back. I think others have dropped off too.

I am surprised by how abrupt some established posters here can be. I'm sure they would never speak that way to a stranger face to face, but seem to think it's ok here. It can be hard to remember that it's a real person on the other end of the post, but if you're going to just be snarky, why not just avoid posting rather than being rude and giving newbies (and perhaps a 80-year-old man learning a new skill) a really bad impression--and hurting their feelings?

You're right about knowing it all when we're young; but most of us have those few more years on us to realize how little we do know now--as well as the meaning of humility.

Gretchen's picture

(post #51493, reply #23 of 39)

I think you are equating the summer/fall posts to cooking when it was very very political and opiniated, no matter which side you were on.

I think people here are VERY helpful to first timers asking a "real" question. When we get set up with one about Cool Whip and cake mix, it can be a little dicey if we think it is a troll.  I often get amused with newbies giving Glenys an opinion. I think she is most gracious about it--or so verbally gifted back to them that they don't know that they have been gigged!!  ;o)

Canuck's picture

(post #51493, reply #25 of 39)

You're right that some of it was the political, and some of that went way over. However, it's also applies to people who come in innocently looking for an answer and are sent packing.

Most of us have admitted that we have one or two "shameful" cooking habits so I think Jill's just asking for a little more tolerance before judging people as trolls or as not really up to standard. (Whose standard anyway?) I know the cooking opinions I trust around here, but I still find other people interesting for other reasons; those I don't, I try to ignore.


roz's picture

(post #51493, reply #24 of 39)

You're right. There are a few posters who haven't returned even to the cooking portion of CT. I miss their input. I feel the majority of posters here are welcoming and will answer any question put forth. It's always good to be reminded to be polite!

Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz
Marie Louise's picture

(post #51493, reply #27 of 39)

Several of us are trying to twist Biscuit's arm to come back but so far no luck.

Wolvie is another "original CT'er" who is taking a break.

I'm sure there are more.

Canuck's picture

(post #51493, reply #28 of 39)

I'm sorry to hear about Wolvie. Pamilyn isn't here much either, and neither is Geoff.

I've been here for about 5 years and have seen people come and go, but this is the first time the board has really changed suddenly. I do hope they'll return; if this board is "run" by only a few posters who can be curt sometimes, they'll end up having it all to themselves.

Marie Louise's picture

(post #51493, reply #30 of 39)

I've been here about 10 years, and Biscuit and Wolvie were both here when I got here. IMO, they are both a huge loss for their personalities and their impressive knowledge. Their decision to leave should give us all pause for reflection. As Jean said, "if the shoe fits..."

There is a certain tone to any forum, and I agree, this forum has changed a lot this year-but to me, it has always been fluid.

I am trying my best to focus on all the wonderful people who come here to talk about fine cooking and ignore the unpleasant influences.

I come here for fun and relaxation. I see patients on the worst days of their lives; coming home and talking about cooking is a happy place for me.

SallyBR1's picture

(post #51493, reply #31 of 39)

I think that for every person it is a matter of deciding the "cost/benefit" equation

I've taken breaks before for one reason or another - to me, the benefits far outweigh the costs, so I don't think I could leave for good.

I have to say, though - that I enjoy restricting my visits to the weekend - I had no choice but do it for many reasons (Chinese ranks number 1 or very close to it), but now I think it is a better way to approach it. I look forward to my weekend splurges... :-)

and the posts that get to my nerves get diluted during my off days, by the time I come back, I already forgot about them...

Marie Louise's picture

(post #51493, reply #32 of 39)

Your advice about restricting visits to days off is an excellent one. I think I may try it!

kathymcmo's picture

(post #51493, reply #33 of 39)

Soooo, how did your skit go? I bet it was a smash.