y father started cooking at age 14. He learned from his maternal grandmother, Caroline (Grandma) King, who, while a slave, had cooked in the "big house" for her master's family.
One summer he worked as a cook at a camp retreat for Wall Street brokers.
"I had to chop wood to make the stove fire," he recalled. "It was sort of difficult, because the stove would be hot one minute and cold the next, and I'd be cooking three-inch steaks and lamb chops."
For most of his life, he was too busy with other activities to put much energy into cooking. In the last several years of his life, however, he cultivated an interest in preparing desserts.
He had always made a very rich pound cake, but he developed a repertoire of desserts that had many palates tingling as guests approached the door.
Ironically, my father had diabetes late in life, so he ate very few of the desserts he spent hours fixing. The delight of his guests was sweet enough for him.
His major desserts were:
- pound cake
- grapefruit and lemon ice
- brandy alexander pie
- pineapple cream pie
- ice cream pie
- cheese cake
- lemon glaze bread