Sunday, February 4, 2007

Chef Jamin

Jamin couldn't have been more than 7 years old and I around 5. Everyone else in the house was asleep but somehow the two of us were up before the sun even was. I remember looking out of the doors in our dining room at the time and being so excited about what we were about to do.

The first step was the cardboard table . . . we set it up in the corner of the dining room with two chairs behind it. Then J.B. began unfolding his plan, directing me every step of the way. We emptied the cupboards of every breakfast food you could imagine. We had about 8 boxes of cereal out on the table, every kind of tea you could imagine, a gallon of milk, and probably even some foods that you wouldn't normally eat for breakfast. We were just finishing setting up shop when we heard the first footsteps coming down the hall "Get behind the table Molly," the whisper accompanied by a very hurried hand motion indicating the urgency of the action.

"What can I get you for breakfast sir? . . . " he went on to list every item that my Dad could already clearly see laid out on the table. And, so began a Saturday morning at the Wilson house.

As I am sure you know by now, Jamin loved to do things well and anything he couldn't do well he viewed as a challenge, most of which he gladly accepted. Cooking eventually fell into this category.

We were so fortuneate growing up to have an amazing mother who also happened to be a fantastic cook (and still is today)! She tried, whenever possible to have one of us help out in the kitchen. I think that J.B. was the only one who actually paid attention.

Although he learned the basics growing up it wasn't until J.B. was out on his own that he really began to become friends with the kitchen. As you may have read in either his Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe or Lasagna making adventure, Jamin would not settle for anything less than the best even if that meant the sacrifice of time. Always precise, Jamin would make sure that he had the perfect amounts of the necessary ingredients and would not stray from the instructions of the recipe book. But, he did have a point (as one friend recounted) "we have the directions here so if we just follow them we should come out with something good" and from what I understand he ususally did.

He is probably the only bachelor I have ever heard of that made lasagna from scratch just because he wanted to try, or would make cookies when he had the time only to give them away. Less than a month before his death Jamin conquered what I think most people consider to be the ultimate test of cooking capability . . . the Thanksgiving turkey. And as I understand it, he passed with flying colors.

I know that this is kind of a silly example but it is just one more reason why I admired my brother so much. He would take on something he had never done before and somehow or another still come out on top.

"J.B. what are you DOING?" . . . "Cook-ing mom"

He was so proud of the hat he even kept it on for the meal!

Kids night in the kitchen . . . and yes I did help (I just didn't want to wear the silly hat)

While the rest of us went for quantity, J.B. made sure that his job was done with quality (he did manage to peel the skin off in one long strand)

Jamin fixing us dinner in his German kitchen just a few months ago . . . more to come on this particular meal later

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