Kiss the Cook

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“I thought you hated to be tied to a woman’s apron-string,” retorted Jo, quoting certain rebellious words of his own.
“Ah! that depends on who wears the apron,” and Laurie gave an audacious tweak at the tassel.”
Good Wives, by Louisa May Alcott, page 85

Kiss the Cook chef's hatOnce upon a time, when my parents were engaged, my mom’s godmother gave her a kitchen set with a matching hat, washcloth, and towel that said “Kiss the Cook.”

Kiss the Cook hat

I grew up looking at the pictures of my parents in their first little home (a trailer decked out in all those 70’s colors), my daddy wearing the hat as he prepared their first meal in their new home (an omelet—what else? my dad has always been the breakfast chef, especially on Sunday mornings), and them sneaking a kiss behind the “Kiss the Cook” washcloth.

Kissing the Chef

We kids all had fun wearing the hat from time to time growing up—more for the fun of wearing a chef hat than trying to snag a kiss, of course!

For my sweet-sixteen-and-never-been-kissed birthday, my cousin Melissa made me an apron.  Perhaps afraid I’d wear the hat when a certain boy was around, she’d spun off the “Kiss the Cook” idea and written across the front of my apron: “Only Daddy Can Kiss This Cook.”

Only Daddy Can Kiss This Cook Apron (1999)We got many a laugh out of it.  The apron always made me think of my cousin Melissa and those long-ago pictures of my parents.

And somehow, in the intervening years, I always managed to wear that apron when baking caramel rolls and such for a certain brown-eyed boy.

Gretchie and Marly baking (2000)

Melissa would have been scandalized, if I’d have told her.

But what can I say?  I knew the way to a man’s heart was supposed to be through his stomach…

my brother, my dad, and my future husband eating my caramel rolls (2000)

Today, I’m closer to 30 than to sweet 16.  But I’m still baking for that brown-eyed boy.

kissing my cook

And we still steal kisses over the eggs on Sundays, just like the tradition my parents set so many years ago.

Kiss the Cook

My sister-in-law, that cute little girl in the caramel rolls picture up above, is still trying to teach me that you call a chef’s hat a “toque”.  And that apron? I passed it on to my sister, who just turned sweet sixteen this summer…  Meanwhile, I found the cutest apron saying on Pinterest: “I Kiss Better Than I Cook…” Winking smile

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  1. Dear Gretchen — I am loving the apron posts!!! I am an apron girl myself, but don’t have many with such history as yours 🙂 It is so neat to see the old photos.

    Also, I keep my fridge near bare (one piece of art work each :)) except for one magnet that says “I kiss better then I cook. . .” I remind my husband of that whenever a new recipe flops! Not that he needs reminding!