Mary Morony, Author of Apron Strings, Done Growed Up and If It Ain't One Thing

Cookin With Ethel

“Hey Ethel I got a really good idea,” Sallee said as she flopped down at the kitchen table and dropped her book bag on the floor beside her.


“Whas that?” Ethel asked wiping the counter with her rag before drying her hands on it. “Are ya hungry? Want somethin’ to eat?” She opened the cabinet and reached into get the peanut butter. “Peanut butter and celery?”
“Yeah, that’d be good.” Sallee let her legs swing against the chair rail, leaned her elbow on the kitchen table while propping her head on her hand. “We were talking in school today about nutrition. You know?” She looked up at Ethel to see if she were following along. Ethel nodded while bisecting a
celery stalk. “My teacher says some food is better for you than other kinds. I said that we ate good at our house when Ethel cooks and not so good when my mother cooks.”

Ethel said, “Honey, you shouldn’t say a thang like that ’bout yo momma ‘specially ta strangers.” She handed Sallee a plate full of celery. “They aren’t strangers. I’ve been going to school with ’em all year.” Sallee said and chomped down on one of her peanut buttered celery sticks. “She said that nutrition wasn’t about if food tasted good or not.”

Ethel looked quizzically at Sallee, shook her head and said, “That donne make no sense? If’n it don’ne taste good whose gonna eat? If’n ya don’ne eat it, what kinda nu’­trition is that?”

“That’s sorta what I thought. So, I said that you made really, really good‐for‐you food. My teacher kinda ignored me and asked the class who cooked in their houses. Most kids said their mother’s. A lot of kids said they really like TV dinners.”

Ethel sniffed, “Hum, even I know that ain’t good fer ya.”

“Well that’s the thing Ethel, you know lots about food. So I was thinking you and me, we could make a cookbook. We could show everybody how good a cook you are and maybe even Mom might use it when you aren’t here. Good idea, hunh?”

“Hum, I don’ne know.” She rocked her head back and forth. “Maybe.”

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