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My wife keeps me well fed, but even she agrees with me, my mother was something else !  As a teenager she was a helper in the weaving shed at Cockhedge Mill and she always appreciated that she escaped from it, but never lost the work ethic.

She had to be the worlds best cook.  Every day she produced three cooked meals, plus Cheshire cheese and onion sandwiches for supper. In line with the times, my father, myself and my sister would just sit, forks at the ready, watching the clock and waiting for the door to open - we had no interest in how the sausage was made !

All of this was achieved on a small gas oven that only had two working burners and a kitchen with about three sq feet of work space.  On Christmas Day, she was in the kitchen at eight o'clock and still there when my sister woke up at eleven, just as me and my dad were leaving for the pub.  At one o'clock, with the table already layed out, by mom, with cutlery, condiments and Christmas crackers, we would sit down to a feast of turkey, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, mash, cabbage and sprouts, followed by apple pie and custard.  All this from two burners !

At two o'clock, she would collect the pots, carry them to kitchen, wash up and start on the sandwiches for tea while we contentedly dozed in the armchairs.

I guess we should have helped, but she looked so happy, we didn't want to spoil it for her !

Ouch, that damned Cajun wife of mine just read over my shoulder and slapped me - I guess asking for apple pie would be wrong right now !

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As kids we were encouraged to help out with meals, which is where i get my cooking skills from or lack thereof. One of these days i will get around to making those cheese scones i liked as a nipper.

As good as my mum was she was not a patch on my gran, My gran was a COOK in a house as a young girl and came from a time when everything got eaten and nothing was wasted.  nothing out of a packet apart from a couple of oxo and some gravy browning.

A regular sunday dinner for her was to cook for the family, which at times could be fourteen people, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, peas, cabbage,cauliflower,sprouts, carrots,sage and onion stuffing, with either beef,lamb or pork and not forgetting the gravy. Oh i nearly forgot the pickled onion and mint sauce all made fresh.

It was very rare to find anything left on the plate after that feast. Any spare gravy was mopped up with bread so that plates needed just a cursory swill in clean water. A job that was given to us kids as we grew big enough to be trusted not to drop the plates.

My mum used to only cook such a feast at christmas and was usually helped, or hindered, by us "kids" as she grew older.

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I was a teenager when my tale took place, Sid, as a 'nipper' she didn't need much help with one egg and 1/4 lb joint per week !  She still made it stretch for three people tho.

For the first time, today I managed to get my oven roasted potatoes just like moms, creamy inside and light and dark brown crisp and chewy outside.  That's what brought back the memories.

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