Sunday, June 7, 2015


Once when I was a newlywed I watched my grandmother boil potatoes. Because I was new at being wife and chief cook I was trying to learn all the tricks of the trade. So I asked Grandma what she turned the stove burner down to, to keep the potatoes boiling - but not boiling over - once they had started.

“Six,” she replied.

From that time on, whenever I boiled potatoes I turned them down to 6.

Or tried to.

The problem was that 6 is not the same on every stove. 

And we moved a lot. 

Every new home had a different kind of stove. Some stoves didn’t even have numbers. They had high, medium, medium-high, low. What would Grandma have done in that instance? What if the setting I picked didn't equal the 6 on Grandma's stove? Oh the humanity!

Eventually I learned that as long as you have water & potatoes boiling in a pot, there's not much that can go wrong. And Grandma's 6 was a good guideline.

I’d like to think that sticking to “6” was not only due to the fact that I am a meticulous rule follower, but also because of my deep respect for my grandmother and her life experience. 

I believed that someone who had lived as long as she, had learned the right way to do life. 

And earned the right to have others emulate her.

I am not yet the age my grandmother was when I was a newlywed, but I have passed the half century mark.

I thought I would know more by now. 

I certainly don't feel as though I know enough to be imitated. I probably never will. 

I guess if a younger person ever asks for life-advice all I can say is this is what worked for me. Then they can take that "six" and use it as a guideline.

And if anybody's interested, these days I turn my burner down to 4.2 when I boil potatoes.


  1. Great, Joy! I especially could relate to your comment "I thought I would know more by now. " Me, too! But the older I get, the less I seem to know....

  2. I'm there too--I thought I'd know more by now. However, I am finding that I am looked at more as the wise, experienced one who can offer some sage advice. Sometimes when I realize that I think, "Oh boy, I better get my act together. Holy Spirit HELP!"

  3. Nice! I remember hearing a story once of a tradition for cooking turkey that had been passed down the generations until it was not known why they did what they did. The issue, though, was the tradition was no longer necessary due to advance in technology, so they were wasting their time doing something no longer necessary!