Life is Lovelier with Lace…and the Ludvigson Kitchen!

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Even though bread dough is rising in my kitchen right now, and I happen to be using my tenured Bosch, I don’t want to give the impression that I love to bake. I don’t.

Even though yesterday was slated for making the regular homemade granola batch and the job got done, please don’t assume this Ludvigson Lace Lady will show it off as the best and most healthy and, “you gotta try it!” It won’t happen!

Why? Because I just do not enjoy baking. Or cooking. But, I do it, regardless.

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My inverted love for creating delicious, tantilizing and creative food must have roots in my childhood upbringing. My mom was a fantastic cook. My older sister enjoyed working along side Mom. And I was there too. But I was the one following after them with the washrag, washing mixing bowls, measuring spoons, pots and pans and the like.

I think I found more enjoyment in cleaning up after the cooks were done!

Misconstuing this training time, later – when I married, I thought I was a natural in the kitchen. But Mom and Sheryl did not come with the marriage package. I was now to figure out what they had been doing all those years, in my own kitchen!

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As a new bride, on Saturday mornings I would open my brand new Betty Crocker cookbook – a wedding gift – and gather recipes I wanted to try. I would plan meals and make a grocery lists. Then off to the store each Saturday, I would go!

The first meal I remember making for Tim and me was meatloaf, baked potato and a vegetable. For a new bride like me, to arrange the time and oven temperature so that the meatloaf and baked potatoes were simultaneously done, was a challenge. Or at least it became a recognized challenge following this particular meal:

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With the table set, complete with candlelight, the meal came out of the oven as we sat in our little newlywed candlelit kitchen.  A prayer was said, and we dug in.

“The potato isn’t done,” my sweet hubby said.

“Oh, your right. It is a little hard. But it’s good enough,” I lovingly replied. (Happy that the meal was sort of a success.)

“It could be much worse. The meatloaf could be overdone,” I was saying to myself.

As resolute as I felt of my almost successful meal prepared for my loving husband, I was soon to feel otherwise.

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He simply rose from the table and placed his potato back into the oven. Then sat down to eat the rest of his meal.

I was heartbroken. “He’s mad at me. I failed him. What will I do,” my thoughts were wildly whining at me!

So, the story goes for us – as it goes for many newlywed couples – we had our first misunderstanding. And in a matter of time, and tears, we were hugging, cuddling and kissing again.

To my embarrassment, my lacking cooking habits continued in the same manner even decades later. This time there were four sons sitting around the dining room table.

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But would you allow me to preempt The Unforgettable Soup scenario with a description of the evolving changes that happened to us as a newlywed couple in our newlywed kitchen…to a family of six?

As a newlywed couple, we had very little on our grocery list, just a few items in our grocery cart each week as we shopped. (Though we thought it was a lot!)

The first baby came, and grew, and was finally able to eat the same foods that we ate! And there were leftovers from our one pound of meat. That would be our supper again, for another night.

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Then the next baby came. And then again. And again.

At first there was not much change in the meal sizes when these little boys were added to the menu planning. But as their little bodies grew, ever so gradually the meal sizes grew proportionately.

By the time we were through with diapers, we were seeing the food bill take over! Spirts of growth kept us buying the groceries to match the growing pant length of four boys!

It seemed quite suddenly that instead of just a few groceries in one cart, we were filling two grocery carts every week!

And these were groceries to be cooked from scratch! No junk food. The easy, heavily processed food choices would be easier for me – less kitchen time! But the processed food choices were extravagant! We could not afford them! Thankfully! I was learning, as I went, that a regular diet of junk food is extremely unhealthy!

Except for birthdays. We went all out for birthdays celebrations. Junk food reigned! Or so I thought. Surely they would choose junk food when given opportunity. For the birthday boy was favored to choose the food for each meal of the day, on his birthday.

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They will choose junk food. And I won’t have to cook,’ I thought to myself!

Pronto pups, Doritos, processed cold cereal, frozen pizza, candy bars, Mountain Dew and the like would normally be chosen.

Except for one of these birthday boys. He chose healthy, homemade entrees. And along with that, more involved cooking.

And now I know why. He was a kitchen loving cook, in the making! And as he continued to grow, we began to see this love for cooking and baking flourish!

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In his mind it would be fun to spend the day in the kitchen, cooking birthday delicacies!  And so he thought I would too! With mixed emotions, I worked on his behalf, to make  delightfully nutritious exotic birthday entrees. Complimented that he would choose the good stuff. Happy no sickness would follow from the consumption of the bad! But confused as to why he would actually choose the good over the bad?

Bottom line, in his young mind, he was already a cook.

So Mom made homemade cinnamon rolls, baked oatmeal, Wild Rice soup, plus his birthday cake! And I was privileged to do all this. (I would just need some space to cave-in after the fun was over!) 💙

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As the years rolled on, this kitchen loving guy showed his colors around holiday baking time. For example, he detested schoolwork when he knew there were Christmas cookies to be made.

“Math must prevail,” his mom would remind him.

I was in the kitchen stewing over all the Christmas baking I had to do. My antenna was alerting me that in a room nearby, my baker/son was irritated that he was not doing it. So I stomped back to where he was, at his desk (and math book) and blurted out,

I just want you to know, I’m  not enjoying myself either!” Thinking that would make him feel better.

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The Unforgettable Soup. 

With growing boys, with appetites to match, there was prepared for supper a large mass of soup, by yours truly. Steak Soup. Completely from scratch. A family friend’s recipe.Very detailed. Spices galore. I even added ‘Accent’ to my spice collection just because this detailed recipe required it.

Let’s step back into this day little bit. Morning. 8:00am. Breakfast was just finished by all, the table was cleared, and possibly a ‘helper’ was in the kitchen with me while I began multiplying the recipe amounts by 3. Tripled recipe. Three crockpots full, it would be. This was to ensure there would be enough supper for all the family. Many hearty appetites, you know! Plus, leftovers for the days ahead!

The piano practicing had begun in the next room while I multiplied salt, pepper, Accent and many other recipe ingredients. Maybe my mind was too involved in the piano music, checking tempo. And then the speed of the scales. I wondered, “Was he using the correct fingering?”

Not sure what my mind was doing, but my mischief would not be discovered until 8 hours later. When all the family would place their first spoonful of soup in their mouths. Because I have a practice of not tasting while cooking – like a cook should do, I had no idea what the soup tasted like. The recipe, I trusted. No need to taste.

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So that first spoonful of soup tasted simultaneously by a table of young men and their dad was HOT! And I am speaking beyond temperature! Spicey HOT! Inedibly HOT! And, my goodness! So much todo about it!

For some rather regular reason, I was not at the supper table yet. (A last-minute chore in the laundry room, possibly.) But, I was on my way. When I arrived, there was an outcry, “HOT!”

And you’ll never guess what my response was!

“Well, we’re going to eat it anyway.”

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Somehow,’ I continued, to myself. And then I tasted it. ‘Whew! Hot! Hmmm. What can we do to make this triple batch edible,” I begged myself for an answer!

Somehow the soup was mended, and eaten. 😊

After a riotous discussion, if you can imagine, by these fired up boys, they coined this memorable soup as: HELL, FIRE & BRIMSTONE Soup. Or, Hell Soup, for short.

What had happened in my measuring that morning was: I read, 3 tablespoons of pepper, in lieu of, 3 teaspoons. But in the end, Hell Soup became a favorite. To eat. And to talk about.

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Blaming my busy-ness as the reason why I could not enter the Ludvigson kitchen at 4pm to make supper, I would inquire so to whether the oldest of our sons might get it started for me. Regularly he would do this for me. Guilt pumped through my veins each time.

But if this time in the kitchen had anything to do with the gourmet cookery he now possesses, my guilt is gone! His Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo is awesome! Perfect by taste and smell. He is an excellent cook.

The only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the house! Signage given to me, tongue-in-cheek, by a friend and proven Real Cook.

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I had a bookshelf of recipe books. Many were wedding gifts. This was decades ago. And they still looked brand new when they were transported to the thrift store  few years ago. No need for them now. It’s just my sweet hubby and I again.  And all my needed recipes are either in my head, in my small recipe box, or online!

Would you believe we had another baked potato episode recently?  This time, we laughed!

Life is Lovelier With Lace…

Through the years, my four boys and I have gathered in the kitchen many times to cook and bake – to get the job done. How many times did we practice a quartet ensemble, while pressing out a half-dozen pizza crusts?

It’s not just me who likes to see me climb into my crochet spot. My boys liked it too. It meant to them similarly what it meant to me: relax!

From crock pot to crochet hook,

~Debbie Ludvigson

The Ludvigson Lace Lady

LUDVIGSON LACE ♡ Aftcra

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