We all have friends who do stuff we can’t do. They make a perfect pie crust and the filling is damned good too. They build their own furniture. Tune the car and reupholster the furniture.  They do a little painting, a bit of carving. Frame their own pictures. Repair anything that breaks. They are never worried about any problem because they know exactly what to do about it.

apple pie

These are the woman who breezily raise two kids after dad left while working full-time and never seemed overwhelmed … or even tired. Men who build companies, sell them, build another and don’t know why you can’t do the same. It’s so easy.

They throw great dinner parties where the food is delicious. The dishes match or are delightfully casual yet coördinated to look casual,– but you know they are designed to look that way. Because the casual look takes work.

stove and kitchen counter

When you ask about that wonderful pie crust, they say “Oh, it’s so easy. It’s just a bit of butter and flour. A bit of sugar. Cut everything up with a couple of butter knives, roll it out, and there you are.” If you are lucky, you get a demonstration and it does look easy. So, you go home, get all the ingredients together and give it a try. Which results in an unusable lump of muck which ultimately, you toss in the trash.

Thanksgiving dinner

After which you buy a pie crust or better yet, buy the whole pie. Because it isn’t so easy. Not for you, anyway.

Modest, humble people who do brilliant stuff about which they are completely offhand. They seem baffled why you would think any of it is a big deal. Apparently, it isn’t. To them.

To you, it would be a minor miracle if you could accomplish one little piece of it. Yet they will always say “It’s so easy. Anyone could do it.”

Except me. I can’t do it.

Categories: Food, Friendship, Home, Photography, Recipes

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

28 replies

  1. You do set a fine table, Marilyn.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Except you CAN do it. You write and do photography and make it look easy, effortless. I know it’s anything but. So we all have our little talents and bits where we are the authority who makes it all look easy. And a skill unused is a skill that will atrophy and become hard to do again. In my youth I used to make bread from scratch. I loved the whole process and the smell and taste of freshly baked bread? Heaven. These days if I tried to do that, I’m sure the first efforts would be horrible and inedible. And my hands would not appreciate the effort that goes into kneading a really good loaf of homemade bread. So I sacrifice the taste and the sense of accomplishment I got from that activity for the store loaf. No it doesn’t taste as good. But my hands thank me by way of not hurting so much I spend three days unable to use them. So it is with life I think…we all come and go from the ‘expert and it’s easy to do’ seat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used to bake bread too and it was great. I stopped mostly because I would spend 10 hours baking and about five minutes watching my entire group of friends consume all of it. I swear they used to line up in the hallway waiting for the baking to finish and how they even knew I was baking, I still don’t know.

      I doubt I could handle the physical aspect of it now either. There was a good deal of pounding and pummeling involved … and back then, I had a good gas stove. I think using an electric over, the price per loaf would be astronomical. AND I don’t eat that much bread anymore … quite possibly because I don’t bake it myself.

      But I do have friends who are “handy.” They knit and crochet and make pastry. They paint and sew and do all the handiwork I wish I could do. I’m SO impressed with the work they do and they seem to think it’s no big deal, so why would anyone notice? It’s the humbleness that gets me every time.

      We do what we do, but we are at least a little bit pleased with ourselves for doing it. I don’t think most of us are terribly arrogant, but we know when to give ourselves and each other a nice pat on the back. These people who do those ordinary things don’t seem to feel that there anything special about what they do … and THAT is what so impresses me 😀


  3. My neighbor is a home ec teacher in her 70s so what she learned of home ec is pretty amazing. She’s also from rural Australia which adds an amazing element to her skills because she had to learn many things that most of us here would not have needed. She does all these things very well and she enjoys them. I enjoy that she does them and that she enjoys doing them. She enjoys my novels and that we can have conversations about the Proteestant Reformation. I started cooking when I was 7 and cooked all the time until I reached 37 and thought, “Wait a minute; that’s a 30 year career!” At that point, I kind of backed off. I’m not a person who loves to cook. I do it; I do it well, but it’s not a passion of mine.

    And, I can say the only class in which I consistently got A’s was home ec.

    I just don’t see any point in making pie crust when the one at the store is as good as I would make (but not as good as my grandmother’s). There are a lot of things like that. I refused to use pre-made spaghetti sauce until Barilla started to sell in the US and basically their tomato and basil is exactly “my” recipe (minus fennel, which I add).

    And yeah; I took my mom’s crystal to the thrift store during the “great summer garage purge of 2017”. I didn’t want to deal with selling it. I just didn’t want it. 🙂


    • I am not an enthusiastic cook. I’m good at it and I’m very fast and extremely NEAT. I have a horror of leaving a massive mess in the kitchen, even if I’m not the one cleaning it. Garry doesn’t cook, so mostly, he cleans, unless he seems very tired at which point, I’ll do it so he won’t have to. He does all the heavier work around here because I can’t, so if I see him looking weary, I try to make it easier. We are not getting any younger.

      I use mostly pre-made pasta sauce too because it’s not expensive and its pretty good. My son also makes some and he give me a quart or two for the freezer. Mine might have been better, probably because I put a lot of chopped vegetables in it, but I an always chop the veggies and add them later.

      As for the pie crust, I spent YEARS thinking everyone made their own and I was the only one who couldn’t … until one day, I discovered EVERYONE BOUGHT IT IN THE STORE. Including Garry’s mother.

      No one wants those huge expensive sets. People I know who are moving try to give them away and no one wants them. I was thrilled to find someone who would take MINE … and I see she is now (secretly — I bet she was afraid to tell me) giving them away now. I recognized the pattern. My kids didn’t want them and I was so glad to get that whole cabinet back! A 12-piece set is a monumental storage issue and if you only use it once in a blue super moon … well …

      Liked by 2 people

      • I have a full set of very beautiful stoneware. I don’t think I’ll ever use the full size dinner plates, the matching soup bowls or more than 3 of the (totally impractical but cute) “stemmed” coffee cups. They come out for tea parties only. The set has dessert plates (one person size plates IMO) and luncheon plates with deep rims. I bought them myself and I like them a lot, but when am I going to have 8 people sitting around with dinner plates? I don’t forsee that… But, I’m keeping them. I gave my mom’s china to the girl who bought my house in San Diego in 2003. She loved it.


        • Stemware. I have like 18 of them, too … but we don’t drink. Did I mention the classic tea set Garry brought home from his parents’ house? No one around here is interested in tea and if they were, they wouldn’t drink it from those tiny cups. The days of elegant serving pieces really IS over, at least around here!

          Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve already shared Garry’s Mom’s pie crust story. It’s passed into legend.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My wife and I are still in post college mode. None of our furniture or dishes match. My oldest daughter doesn’t understand.
    We just couldn’t be bothered.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The other day on the “for sale-FREE” list out in Amherst, I saw a set of 12 matched porcelain dishes for giving away. They are the same set I gave to a friend out there about 5 years ago which had been given to me by someone else before that. Beautiful dishes, mind you.

      But what in the world does anyone need a 12-seat set of porcelain dishes FOR? Like — once a year maybe? So these dishes have moved on again. I think they have been around the world at least twice by now.

      You can’t even sell dishes them. No one has room to store them or energy to use them. Life has moved on.


    • Omni, I like the way you think. reminds me of my bachelor digs for many years. Spare. very spare. Lots of cans of spam.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love’s law: Everything you do well is easy – until you try to explain exactly how you do it to someone else! 😉

    Personally i find it easy to remember numbers: Phone numbers, driver’s licences, credit cards, account numbers, etc. I can’t for the life of me explain how to do it to someone else who’s convinced they can’t.

    Liked by 3 people

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