Meet my mom: the CEO of her own business, which she and my dad started in 1977. She spent 21 years previous to 1977 training for this position, and now has almost 35 years of experience under her belt. Despite losing her business partner of 32 years back in 2009, she has pressed on and continues to run the business with success (along with the help of her six very awesome board members) while working tirelessly on her expanding career. Now that is a resume. Her official title? Homemaker extraordinaire. She also teaches on the side -- just for fun, right mom? :)
My mom taught me a lot about the different departments of running a house (e.g. sitting on a chair while vacuuming is not effective). Most of what she taught me has stuck pretty firmly in my head, but there is a whole lot I haven't managed to figure out yet.
1. Fitted bed sheets.
I cannot fold these. Cannot cannot cannot.
This is what it always seems to look like after my attempt at a nice folding job. It probably doesn't help that we have a king-sized bed which makes the sheets enormous -- while I'm holding the one corner, the other corner is probably out somewhere in Chicago having a slice of deep dish pizza.
While folding sheets back at home, my dear patient mother showed me countless times how to tackle a fitted sheet. I'd make a weak attempt and shove it in the closet, hoping no one would see it. I'm pretty sure my mom would find it later on and refold it -- there's some talents that I'll just never grasp, I guess.
2. Fluted pie crusts (and pastry dough in general)
Pie dough is so fickle! If the humidity on a pie-making day is a little wacky, then too bad, Chef Suzy, your pie is gonna suck. The pie I was making on this particular day drove me bonkers. The dough would not. roll. out. I almost cried and took out the countertop with my marble rolling pin. That would have done some serious damage, so I'm glad I refrained and just took a photo instead.
My mom is an expert pie-maker. Though I do have memories of her shouting at fickle pie dough (even chefs with decades of experience will have a bad pastry day every once in awhile) and chucking whole cakes in the garbage and of things catching on fire inside the stove (a leaking fruit pie... PIES! THEY CAN BE SO EVIL! but yet so tasty), she's a bonafide country-fair-blue-ribbon-winning pie queen. Most of the time she'll whip together pie dough in 5 minutes flat and toss it in the plate and fill 'er up with cinnamony apples and then flute those edges like you've never seen edges fluted before. When I try and flute my edges they're all lumpy and uneven, and it looks even worse after it's been in the oven, if that's even possible.
A confession, mom: I've resorted to using a FORK to line my crust! More than once. Obscene.
And don't even ask what's going on with the weird diamond shapes. It was a bad pastry day, and 'twas all I could manage.
There are, of course, more things that I'm not very good at. But I've got years to get those things figured out -- and maybe next time I'm back home in Ontario my mama will give me a pie-fluting tutorial... but I've quite given up on the fitted bedsheets. I'll leave that to the pros.