by Marie Skonecki

Not that we have an Executive Chef living in our house, who worked in over 80 places around the country (my brother-in-law, about to retire), but the culinary arts and thrifty influences my mother and her mother had on me (not to mention my 6 sisters and aunts), the big holiday preparations, Grandma and ma's greatest gift in life was cooking and baking and the making of the mouths to feed!  Grandma (a widow in her 40's) raised her 11 children on pennies, and on what grew in her "garden out back", and during the depression. My mother raised her 9 children on nickels, and grew much of our food in her big "garden out back" (continuing to stock many freezers way after her empty nest ;-)  My "garden out back" I named "The Garden Of Eaten" (on the gate). We were also raised to eat everything on our plate (it was a sin to waste in our house, "I don't care if it grows mold on it, you will sit there until it is eaten!" we'd hear), for which I contribute my non-picky eating, any over weight issues, and my height being above all the females in my family (the height thing is biblical, something to do with obedience). Because our mother only allowed us in the kitchen to eat and clean it up, I learned how to cook the hard way; guessing, following recipes, on phone asking questions, and trial and error with my 3 guys (Joseph, Joey, and Derek)! I remember also hearing "A way to a man's heart is through his stomach!" Thank God for that, Joseph could not do without me ;-)  I inherited much of my mothers cookbooks and kitchen utinsils. And through the years, I accumulated a library of cookbooks. I even taught Home Economics (Cooking, Sewing, and Art classes in a Christian School near by). One of my (late) FBF Dr. Judy Kaminski, almost twice my age (a minister too), who was one of a few that started "Truckers For Christ" ("church on wheels") and friend of Julia Childs, of whom she studied under, no one believed her that they were both in the secret service together (WW2), until Julia, her friend, died. It was headline news then, and I said to Joseph "See? She was telling us the truth on that, we knew before the world did!" She called a toothpick "A particle eradicator". Had me chauffeur her around in her Lincoln Continental, taking me out to eat with her (which I was not use to, couldn't afford) She expected me to pick up the tab every other time (which I did as I could but made me feel uncomfortable), especially when she mentioned all her friends took advantage of her, I bowed my head in sadness and prayed "Lord, I cannot afford such luxury, and I love her and her friendship, but what can I say to this?" (immediately He said "Tell her you contribute more $ than she does for your meals together, you gave beyond what you can afford, but she can afford, remember My parable of the woman who gave all she had (pennies), but the rich gave more but was less than 'all'."  She was stunned at these words, maybe impressed to silence? Every time I use my Kitchen Aid Professional Mixer, I think of Dr. Judy who bought it for me when we were in Sears one day and they were on sale $300. instead of $400. (I couldn't afford) She saw my Christian cookies (my handmade cookie cutters and hand painted cookies as a ministry then, gave as gifts at Christmas time: Jesus, Cross, Bible, Church, Lamb, Star, Angel, Gift, Praying Hands, Dove, Manger, etc. a dozen total) and thought it was a good investment "to get THE WORD out" with her help.  I spent over 40 years cooking every day.                                               I think I can write this cookbook...

                                                 OPTIONAL SEASONINGS
(Herbs, Spices, Condiments, etc. basic items we use little of, stock our shelves and don't buy weekly)

Salt, Pepper, Butter, Packet of seasoning, Season Salt, Boullion, Juice, Catsup, Mustard, Mayonaise, Salad Dressing, any Flour (for thickening), Onion, Garlic, Hot Sauce, Crackers, Powdered Milk, milk, Sugar, Honey, Vinegar, Oil, etc.

In this cookbook, "Optional Seasonings" and "Condiments" are not to be considered "ingredients", because it

is "optional". But, if one of these is requiring a lot of to produce the recipe (example "onions" for "Liver and Onions"), then it is considered an "Ingredient" (1 of the 6). Below is a list of Seasonings that I, choose from daily,

you may have your preferences to add, omit, or exchange, but this works for us and we are perfectly satisfied. 

Regarding the 4 to 6 pm. meal

Serving 4 to 6 adults

Costing 4 to 6 dollars ($1. or less/person)

Having 4 to 6 ingredients

Providing 4 to 6 instructions

Taking 4 mins. to 6 hours

Using 4 to 6 optional seasonings
Seeing 4 to 6 appetizing colors