Bonnie Shell's Life Stories

What are your favorite recipes, either to cook or to eat?

I love to cook but only make things I like to eat. My favorites are beef stew, spaghetti and meatballs, turkey, and a special Christmas soup. We never ate out very often, so we mostly went out to eat on our birthdays. My favorite meal on my birthday is going to Red Lobster for lobster tail.

My mother went to work outside the home when I was twelve, and I had to have dinner on the table when my parents came home from work. I learned to cook from watching my mom. Later I started to make things from a cookbook. There was more variety than mom's favorites. I also love to bake. My mom never made cookies. She claimed she made cookies once, and I wouldn't eat them, so she never tried again.

I learned to make cookies during the Vietnam War. I worked for A. B. Dick Co. Some employees and employees' kids went to war. We made cookies and packed them in coffee cans with popcorn for packing material, and they always arrived safely.

I always liked to bake something special. I remember I had this recipe for a really good strawberry frosting. When I was a senior in High School, we had a party at school, and I volunteered to bring a white cake with my special frosting. The only problem was that I had an hour's ride on the bus. The cake was a disaster when I got to school. Sister Joan was very kind and said that it was the thought that counts. It tasted good but looked a mess.

My mother only had two favorite cake recipes, so I made the dessert when she had her club ladies over for cake and coffee. They always looked forward to my new experiments.

I also love to make appetizers. Every year around the holidays, we have a group of friends over, and we have snacks and drinks. I usually go overboard. I like this because there is not much cleanup.

For many years I would have my family and my husband's family over for dinner around Christmas. I did all the cooking because I always liked to plan what I was serving and how much. There were sometimes 40 people. There is nothing more embarrassing for a Polish cook than running out of food. Therefore we ate leftovers for many days.

My son also likes to cook. I hope he learned some tips from me.