Saturday, September 18, 2021

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Reflections and Recipes from Granny Grace

“Confessions of a Get-by Cook”

Many years ago I heard, “A spotless house is the sign of a wasted life.” I tend to agree. 

Judging by that one criteria, we can safely say that my life has not been wasted. I’ve never had a spotless house and don’t expect I ever will.

I would also say that a day spent in the kitchen cooking is a wasted day, unless the cook absolutely cherished every minute. If someone loves to cook and has the opportunity to spend the day in that way, I say “Great!” Me, not so much. Different people like different things. That’s why we have strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla.

My mother was a great Southern country cook. She truly loved to cook and feed people. Most days, you could taste the love and joy in everything she stirred up. When she died too soon in an auto accident at age 56, hundreds of people came to visit at the funeral home. Over and over, unrelated people said the same two things about her: (1) “She really loved her kids,” and (2) “She made the BEST cornbread!”

I’ve been told more than once that I’m a good cook. I suppose everything is relative. I may in fact be a good cook when compared to some. However, I believe a truly good cook truly loves to cook. 

I do not love to cook and I absolutely detest the clean-up. However, I do love to eat and I won’t go to restaurants every day. I also won’t eat instant, highly-refined, highly-processed junk food on a regular basis.

So over the years I’ve developed the art of “get by” cooking. I cook enough to get by. Typically my dishes are relatively quick and easy, relatively inexpensive, nutrient-dense and family friendly. I always have leftovers which often taste better after being stored and reheated than on the day they were cooked!

In the next weeks I will be sharing some of my favorite “Get By Recipes” with hints and tips here in the West River Eagle. I will also be sharing some reflections from a life spent as a spiritual seeker and professional helper.

No recipes today, but one hint: A slow cooker (aka “crock pot”) is a cook’s best friend. If you have one and don’t use it very often, get ready to use it more. If you don’t already have a slow cooker, get one. Gently used slow cookers are found in thrift stores for a fraction of retail cost. I have a whole collection of slow cookers and most of them came from thrift stores. I’ve been known to have two or three going at the same time.

Are you a “get by” cook? Do you love to cook but do not always have the time or energy to devote to it? Either way, write to me at and share one or more of your most commonly used recipes. Also send your phone number, please. Can’t wait to hear from you!

Grace Terry, MSW, is a Grief Educator, Grief Resolution Coach, and the author of “The Spiral Pathway of Grief: A Traveler’s Guidebook,” available on Her website is and her email address is .

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