Many years ago a young mother I’ll call Betty got sick and had to spend over a week in the hospital. Since her husband had a day job away from home, they decided it would be best if he’d hire a housekeeper to look after their children for the duration.
As Betty was convalescing, she often questioned how things were going at home, how her husband and young family were getting along with someone new in the house. She asked how the housekeeper was managing in her kitchen. Her husband assured her that things were going just fine; the housekeeper was an older woman and quite capable.
Betty was so thankful when discharge day came; gladly she packed up her few things. Her husband and children all came to bring her home. En route she asked the children if they were having a good time with the housekeeper and they told her that she was neat – and she’d been cooking all the foods they liked.
Betty was surprised, then suspicious. “Did you tell her what she’s supposed to cook for you?”
“Uh-uh, we never. She just knows.”
After she got home and settled in, Betty visited with the housekeeper and asked how she’d guessed all their favorite foods. “Oh, that was easy,” the housekeeper replied. “I just went through your cookbooks and made the recipes on the pages that were smudged and splattered up.”
A wise cook indeed.
(This story was told to me by my mother-in-law some 40 years ago.)