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Tina gathered the freshly washed romaine lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers and other greens that she’d picked up at the Farmers Market earlier that day and moved from the kitchen sink to the center island with built-in drainer to start prepping the salad and home-made vinaigrette dressing. Kit stood on the other side expertly chopping bell peppers, and onions to complement the special ordered two-inch Porterhouse steaks that she’d placed in the fridge to marinate in Melvin’s own creation of an olive-oil based tenderizer seasoned with all the wonderful herbs and spices he’d picked from Tina’s garden.
It was just the two of them in the kitchen now, but earlier when all four had participated in the meal preparation Melvin had been impressed with the size and how well-appointed the design that allowed everyone to work at different stations simultaneously. They joked about Bette’s lack of cooking skills, but not to be outdone she picked the wines and prepped the sweet corn on the cob, asparagus, and potatoes that would go on the grill. It didn’t go unnoticed that this was the first time in Porter family history that Bette, Kit and Melvin prepared a meal together and having a pregnant Tina in the mix made for a momentous occasion.
Considering Melvin’s minimal engagement with his daughters when they were growing up, it wasn’t surprising that he hadn’t passed along any family traditions to speak of, but Kit recalled the stories he told of his boyhood summers with his grand-parents. Being 14 years older than Bette and spending many Sunday afternoons with Melvin on outings after church, Kit had the benefit of knowing another side of their father that Bette never experienced. Although estranged for decades, Kit was starting to see glimpses of the younger Melvin emerging. She coaxed him into retelling some of the more adventurous childhood anecdotes while he showed them how to make his grand-mothers home-made pie crust for the ultimate Granny Smith Apple Pie. While Bette listened intently to the stories, Tina took careful notes of the recipe and found that many of the tips and tricks that Melvin’s grandmother had used were also ones, she’d learned in her childhood home when the family would routinely gather in the kitchen to prepare meals. It was now up to Bette and Tina to start their own family traditions for their daughter and having two great recipes for Apple pie passed down from previous generations was a great place to start.