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I am not a cook — never have been, never will be. But for the last 48 years of wedding bliss, I've done what I've need to and have always managed to get a meal on the table.

It has not always been pretty or appealing, but I get the job done. When the kids were still at home, it was more crucial to cook even though I worked full-time and often had other obligations, including church meetings, graduate classes and more. No excuses were ever acceptable — a meal had to be served to everyone in the household.

With all the work and other obligations, my time in the kitchen was limited, so I tried any shortcut when possible. I learned to throw a meal together in record time — chopping, mashing and doing whatever else was required.

Because I have no great love for cooking, I would get in and get out as quickly as possible, taking advantage of all shortcuts.

That is why I have been a fan of the toaster oven for decades. Quick, easy, and convenient, the counter appliance never failed me. I would look forward to the day I needed a new one when my old one died from constant use. There were many improvements as each decade progressed.

I learned to use the toaster oven for actually baking many items that were small enough to fit in the limited space. This would save turning on the big oven and waiting for it to preheat. Frozen products, biscuits, cookies and other products would turn out great in this small, hot device.

Of course, the microwave can be a godsend too. Baked potatoes come out in a flash, and other meals can be prepared so much quicker. Reheating is also easier with this device  of convenience.

The sad part is that I come from a long line of amazing cooks who took pride in every dish they lovingly placed on the table. What is even worse for me is I am 100 percent Italian, and you know what that means — a legacy of amazing food.

My grandmother and mother worked tirelessly to feed their large families, never complaining or taking shortcuts. What happened to me, I will never know!

But my children luckily have not inherited my lack of culinary passion. My daughter takes great pride in the meals she fixes her family and is always trying new things. My son has even turned his interest in cooking into a career in catering and selling barbecue from a food truck.

Even though cooking does not interest me, I do love to bake. My friends all expect my annual pizzelles at Christmas time. It is just the daily drudge of getting a meal on the table every day that becomes so tedious to me.

So what does that tell us? I have no idea, but no one in my family came close to starving or didn’t get enough to eat. My poor husband has weathered many disasters — such as the time he referred to my pasta as “crunchy” — but he has never complained!

Frances Lowe

Frances Lowe is a retired journalist and educator, most recently serving as lifestyles editor at a local newspaper.

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