My mom was a great seamstress. She sewed all the time and all my clothes. Cooking? Not so good; at least I didn’t think so. I was very happy to let her do all the sewing while I learned to cook with the help of our trusty red plaid Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Even better were the many country church cookbooks, some mimeographed and hand stapled. The first thing I remember cooking was what we called goulash: macaroni, hamburger and tomato sauce. (My kids started calling it “disaster meal” when we helped at a tornado drill and found that this was the recipe for mass-produced meals at the disaster shelter.) Of course. my brother, sister and I made cookies — a lot. Steve and I still laugh about the Ranger cookies. (Don’t eat too much of that dough.) And I found that cooking was a fun way to spend time with my friends. (especially Ruth) I learned a lot along the way; I found that cooking could be simple or or elegant, but the best advice I ever got was from a woman who was helping me cook for a dinner theater. She said, “Always use the best ingredients you can find.” So I never use cheap shortening, or margarine, and I try to find the freshest vegetables I can, although frozen is okay. And when there have been times that we had to feed the family on a shoestring, I learned that quality really counts. I mean, if your meals are short on cost, they must be the best they can be. I eventually learned to sew, although never as well as mom, and no one leaves my table hungry.