When I started cooking I was 8 years old — that was 52 years ago. My mom worked nights as a nurses’ aid. My step-father was in the U.S. Air Force and worked all different hours.

My parents did not want me to use the stove, so I learned to cook by using an electric skillet. I cooked for my two brothers every night. At first it was burgers and breakfast-style foods. Then, I progressed to making casseroles. I even learned to make a cake using the skillet. After the first year, I was allowed to use the stove.

As a military brat, we moved around the United States. My step-father was a C130 flight engineer and it required going to different schools. The places we lived the longest were in Alaska, Utah, Wisconsin, Texas, Maine, Tennessee, Indiana and Okinawa. I have been to every state except Hawaii. I loved it because I learned different ways to cook with many different foods. Living in Okinawa, I learned to love oriental food.

I taught school for eight years before becoming disabled. I especially love teaching children just about anything. I have taught teenagers to make dinners for groups of adults for special events. I have taught children in a home-based Head Start how to help their parents cook simple dishes. Cooking has great rewards and enjoyment. I enjoy cooking for anyone and everyone, but I hate the clean-up.

Here’s a recipe I taught my children to make using a microwave oven, a microwavable bowl with a lid and one large frying pan:

Put two cups of rice and two cups of water in a bowl and into the microwave, uncovered. Cook five minutes, then turn the oven off and put the lid on and leave in microwave until finished with everything else.

Fry together one small chopped onion and one pound of hamburger (can substitute with ground turkey, or ground pork). Break it up as you fry them together. Put the cooked meat and onions in a large bowl. Add the rice to it. Next, scramble three eggs on medium, then add them to the bowl. You can add other vegetables if you want. Next, measure three tablespoons of oil in a large pan, and when it is hot, pour in all the rice and mixture. Add one tablespoon of soy sauce. Fry and stir for five minutes, and it is ready to eat.

A bit of humor, my husband and I purchased our first microwave in 1980. He wanted to try it out. He used a can of store-bought biscuits and placed them on a plate in the oven. He read the can and it said cook for 10-12 minutes. They were meant to be cooked in a regular oven, not a microwave. Well, when the biscuits were finished they were so hard that even our dog could not bite into one. We even threw them at a wall and they didn’t even dent. Remember that not all those nuts on the trees are strangers; some of them are your family.