Letters from a scatter-brained sister (short story)
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My Dearest Sister,
I shall never, ever be able to forgive you for deserting us (or should I blame your husband for that?)! How could you, in good conscience, leave the kitchen in the hands of me, a giddy sixteen-year-old?? I think my poor family misses you more than I do.
The kitchen probably misses your cheerfulness too. I, for one, cannot in any way contrive to think that I love kitchen duty. It has been a continual pain since I’ve started. Poor Mom has had to rescue me from supper cooking, so now my pains are limited to only those of breakfast and lunch, and only the very rarest occasion of supper.
You with your few kitchen struggles, probably wonder how I can manage to make such a difficult task of it. Well, if you were as prone to disaster as you know I am, you should not wonder one bit. What I wonder, sometimes, is how I actually manage to create anything edible!
Take this morning, for instance. I was in the middle of stirring up a batch of muffins when I used the last bit of oil, still needing another half cup. I vaguely remember you talking about cooking substitutes, but I didn’t pay attention—now I wish I had! Such a bother it was to realize that I had to replace it with something. I had just enough sense to know that liquid has to replace liquid, so I dumped some water in the batch. Those horrid things would not unpeel from the papers! Mom later told me that it was the oil that kept most muffins from sticking to the wrappers, and I should have replaced the oil with something more like melted shortening or butter.
That was just the start of my day. As I delved into school, the sticky muffins were forgotten. Now, that was one thing you did not have to worry about—juggling school with kitchen duty. It’s the biggest bother I’ve ever had. When both are full-time occupations, one can’t seem to manage them at the same time. Oh, and simply being the oldest sister creates another full-time job. Maybe I’m finally appreciating everything you did around here. The load has surely fallen on my inexperienced shoulders.
So, lunchtime came. It started off badly, because I was in the middle of my algebra lesson when Mom pointed out that lunch was in only thirty minutes. Thirty minutes to prepare a meal!! If I could serve sandwiches it would be no problem; but the menu strictly said, “Spaghetti Casserole.” So I jerked everything out in a hurry, and had the spaghetti and corn mixed with sour cream and cheese on top, cooking in the oven, before I realized that I had forgotten to put a bit of seasoning in it. Well, I’ll admit that I didn’t exactly have a right attitude just then, because I told myself, “We’ll just eat bland food for lunch!” and began to dig out plates and so forth. And of course, we ate the spaghetti casserole just like that, but do you know that every single one of them complained because they are used to such good, experienced cooking? I could not feel sorry for myself, because first of all, I knew I had done it incorrectly, and didn’t bother about correcting it; and second of all, because I know that your casserole always tasted superb compared to mine. But, the good thing about anyone’s cooking, is that everyone eats and gets filled, so the end result was the same, whether or not the enjoyment level was.
There are my woes of today. I hadn’t meant this letter to sound so full of them, but they just appear, you see. The kitchen seems like my prison because you know I’d much rather be racing with Mark than be cooped up preparing our meals. And even now, Mom is calling me to come help get supper on the table, so my complaint to you is ended.