chef

I suppose that most of the time, when someone sets out to invent something, they have a specific plan in mind, but maybe not. A number of inventors were trying to invent something completely different from what they ended up inventing, or they weren’t trying to “invent” anything at all, but ended up making something very cool.

One day in 1853, a chef at the Carey Moon Lake House in Saratoga Springs, New York, named George Crum was at work, and making a meal for a customer. Apparently this customer was rather picky, which I can understand when it comes to certain things. The customer had ordered a plate of fried potatoes, and since my mom, Collene Spencer often made fried potatoes when I was a kid, I can attest to how great they tasted. Fried potatoes, however, must be correctly cooked to be really good, and I suppose that there are many differing views as to which way of cooking them is correct. Sometimes, its just a matter of personal preference.

Chef Crum fried the potatoes in the way he had always done so, but found that he was apparently unable to please this particular customer. Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant knows that it is really frowned upon to have food sent back to the kitchen. The chef is given a goal of almost reading the mind of the customer…and expected to get it right. I know that this can be difficult from my own experience. I love what I would call extra crispy bacon, but when I tell them extra crispy, I usually end up with bacon that is floppy and, in my opinion, disgusting. I have long since learned that if I want to get truly crispy bacon, I must tell them that I want it burned. Only then will the bacon come out “crispy” enough for me, which, by the way, never has any black parts that would indicate that it was burned.

On this particular day, Chef Crum was having a bad day, at least from the perspective of pleasing the customer, who sent the potatoes back many times, asking that the potatoes be thinner and crispier. Finally in a fit of temper, Chef Crum sliced the potatoes insanely thin and fried them until they were “as hard as a rock,” before sending them back out to the customer. To his astonishment, the customer absolutely loved the potatoes, and wanted more. Now, for anyone who likes potato chips, the request for seconds comes as no surprise, because it really is hard to eat just one potato chip, as the saying goes. Since that day, I’m sure that these new fangled potatoes were a menu favorite at the Carey Moon Lake House. They must have been, because as we all know, they are still available to this day, and they show no sign of losing their popularity now either.

For some time now, my niece, Andrea Spicer has been a chef. She has cooked at several restaurants. These days she is at the Best Western Hotel in Rawlins, and she has been for quite a while. All her hard work is paying off, because she is in line for a promotion to the position of Assistant Kitchen Supervisor. I know she will get the promotion, and I am so happy for her. This is the work she has dreamed of, and the only work she has ever wanted to do.

Of course, for Andrea, there is nothing more important than her son, Topher. They are truly best friends. Since his birth in 2005, Topher has been Andrea’s world. Andrea loves spending time with Topher, and says he couldn’t ask for a better kid. She feels very honored to be his mom. Topher has been her purpose in life for almost 14 years now, and he makes her more proud of him every day.

The biggest news for Andrea is that she has started a quest to a healthier life. She started her journey with the Keto eating plan, and in short order, she has lost over 30 pounds!!!! I think for any Chef, the hardest thing to do is to lose weight, because you are always around food. That makes Andrea’s success even better. Keto is an easy plan to follow though, and you never feel hungry or deprived. It is the plan I have been on for over a year and a half, so I know how Andrea feels about her new lifestyle. There is nothing quite like the rewards that come from perseverance and hard work. I am so proud of Andrea’s hard work, and so happy for her with her success. Keep it up Andrea!! You look great!! Today is Andrea’s birthday. Happy birthday Andrea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Much as changed for my oldest grandchild, Chris Petersen over the last year. He has grown up so much. Chris and his fiancé, Karen Cruickshank got engaged and they are expecting a baby girl the 1st of June. These are exciting times for the whole family. With this baby girl, my husband, Bob and I will become great grandparents for the first time; our daughter Corrie Petersen and her husband, Kevin will become grandparents for the first time; and of course, Chris and Karen will be first-time parents. It is such a big change for all of us, and one that we can hardly wait for. Changes like that are among the greatest blessings in life. We have looked a the ultrasound photos, repeatedly, trying to envision exactly what she will look like. The ultrasound can only tell you so much about what he baby looks like…even the 3D ultrasound. Of course, new technology brings with it an even better picture, but the 4D ultrasound is more expensive. One day it will be the way it is always done, but that day in not today, so we will have to wait a little bit longer to really find out what our little baby girl will look like.

With his growing family, Chris decided that the time had come to buy their home, so he found a cute little condo to buy, and he and Karen have been busily decorating it, and preparing the second bedroom for their new little addition. Buying a house is, as we all know, a really big step. Nevertheless, often the house payment is less than rent would have been. That is exactly what happened with Chris and Karen, so that has helped when it comes to the extra money to get things ready for their little girl. Buying a home is a big step, but it is also an exciting step, and Chris is no exception. Owning his own home as made him feel more like an adult, with a sense of pride in ownership.

A few months ago, Chris landed his dream job. It’s funny, as a chef Chris expected that his dream job would have been in a restaurant, but that was not the case for Chris. Chris found his calling in the health care industry…not as a CNA, nurse, or aid, but rather as a chef. Chris works at Mountain Plaza Assisted Living, and he really loves it. Being a chef in a assisted living facility allows him to not only cook, which was his chosen career, but it allows him to have a positive effect on the lives of a really great group of people. After serving the meals, Chris gets to go out and visit with the residents, and that has been a great opportunity for him an a great perk for the residents. I am very proud of all of Chris’ accomplishments, and I’m very proud of the impact he has on the lives of those around him. for Chris, it has been a really big year. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Andrea Beach loves to cook. She works at the Turnbuckle restaurant, located in the Best Western Hotel in Rawlins, Wyoming. There are just two chefs that cook there, the Head Chef and Andrea, so she is basically running her own show a lot. My sister, Caryl Reed, says the Turnbuckle is the best restaurant in Rawlins, so working there is an honor for Andrea. She loves to be creative with her cooking, and would love to go to Culinary School someday, but for now, she is happy being able to cook in a great restaurant, and share her creativity with the guest there.

While a person’s career is important, it is still…a job. A person’s life is their family. Andrea has a great son named, Topher, and he keeps her busy with his activities. This month Topher is playing soccer, so you guessed it…Andrea is a Soccer Mom. Over the past few years, that term has become almost a household word, since it was used during the McCain/Palin campaign for the presidency. Most of us hadn’t really heard much about that term, unless of course, they were soccer moms. Being a Soccer Mom means more than just showing up at the games for Andrea. Soccer Moms usually have to bring the treats after the game (I guess they still do that), but since Andrea is a single mom, she is Topher’s full time cheerleader and his home coach, as he practices his skills. Topher is Andrea’s whole world, and she really wouldn’t know what to do without him. She is a good mom, and she has raised a great kid. Topher is very blessed to have Andrea for a mom.

Andrea rents one of the apartments owned by my sister, Caryl Reed and her husband, Mike, who are Andrea’s mom and step-dad. It works out really well, because Caryl and Mike are living in one of their apartments too, while they build their retirement home here in Casper, Wyoming. For Andrea, this is ideal, because that means Topher’s grandma and grandpa are in the same building. When she has to work nights, Topher can just go to his grandparent’s apartment. And when she gets off work, it’s not far to go to pick him up and go home. Andrea also helps Caryl and Mike out, by acting a part-time apartment manager for them, when they are out of town. It’s a win-win situation for all. For Andrea, life stays pretty busy, but I think she likes it that way. Today is Andrea’s birthday. Happy birthday Andrea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Kevin, Josh, and Chris paintball fightingKevin 3For some time now, my daughter Corrie Petersen, her husband, Kevin and their boys, Chris and Josh have loved camping. They camped on Casper Mountain, where the boys used to play paintball, and at Alcova Lake, where they liked to fish. The boys all love fishing, and while Corrie would rather take pictures, they find the lake to be a very relaxing place. This year, however, has been a little bit different for them. While they are still camping at the lake, fishing, taking pictures, and just enjoying the three day Memorial Day weekend, they are one short, because Chris moved to Sheridan, and couldn’t get off work to go along. That is what happens when kids graduate from college, and start their adult life and their career. Their priorities are different now. They have their own plans and dreams. imageWhile they truly miss going camping with the family, that simply isn’t to be right now.

Corrie and Kevin are very proud of the accomplishments Chris has made, and of his job. Chris is a chef at the Open Range restaurant in the historic Sheridan Inn, in Sheridan, Wyoming. Chris loves his job, and he has made lots of friends in Sheridan. As graduation neared, he decided that for now at least, he wanted to stay in Sheridan, so the family is trying to reinvent their camping trips around the reality of being one short. They understand that Chris is not that far away really, because Sheridan is only about two hours from Casper, but when they are camping and he isn’t there, it might as well be a thousand miles away. Being one short is still being one short.

For Corrie and Kevin, this is the beginning of change. Before long, Josh will be through with college and on to his career too. The boys will marry and have families of their own, and the camping trips will again be reinvented to being two short. I hope they will still go out and do the things they love to do, and that on occasion one or both of the boys will join them and later, bring their families too, because the memories they will have of the whole family camping and fishing IMG_8300Jumping Joshtogether will be priceless later on in their lives. I know, because I remember them from my childhood. For me the chances to go camping…or anywhere else with my parents are in the past. I would love to be able to go back in time for a little bit, to roast marshmallows over the campfire and sing campfire songs with the whole family. The memories are sweet, but they make me lonely for my parents too. I hope Chris and Josh will try to get together with their parents once in a while at the campground. They will never be sorry they did, because the memories will be with them forever.

Christopher in clothes basketChris in bootsA little boy I once knew, who is no longer little, is graduating from college today. How can it be? The years have literally flown by. He was the child who first made me a grandmother. My little Christopher Todd Petersen, who arrived on his great grandmother, Joann Schulenberg’s birthday, changed my world…adding such a wonderful new dimension to it. My heart was filled with joy.

Chris had such a cute smile, and he made the cutest faces. He soon wowed us with his ability to make all the animal sounds on demand, and made us laugh as he emptied out any box or basket of its contents so he could climb in a sit a while. He was all boy…and the culture shock I had never experienced before, because I had daughters…well, believe me when I say, “Boys are very different from girls!!” I don’t mean just physically, but in every aspect of their being, from the physical…to their personalities. Nevertheless, having three grandsons and one granddaughter has been one of the most rewarding parts of my life, a blessing beyond words.
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Fast forward now, a little over twenty years, and suddenly that little boy is graduating from college. His dream is to own his own restaurant, and who knows, maybe even a chain of them. He is graduating as one of the top of his class from the Culinary School at Sheridan College. Even that seems like it flew by. Literally, it seems like yesterday that he headed off to college, calling home often to tell everyone just how homesick he was, and now he emerges…a man, with a degree. He is a chef…not a cook…a chef, with all the respect that goes along with that title. He has made good friends in Sheridan, and for now, has decided to stay there to live and work in a fine dining restaurant called Open Range which is located in the historic Sheridan Inn. Chris loves working there and tells us his coworkers are great.

He is living his dream. He has been very blessed to be able to work in such a restaurant before his degree work is even complete, and today Open Range becomes very blessed to have a chef working for them who has earned his degree, and brings with him the prestige that his degree carries with it. With his skill level imageimageand attention to detail, Chris will be bringing with him a level of recognition that Open Range can be proud of. It is a win-win situation for both of them. Chris has really taken to the style of creativity that is vital to fine dining, and he will be showing that great skill level to the people who live in and visit Sheridan in the future. Congratulations Chris!! Your hard work has paid off. We, your family and friends are so very proud of all your accomplishments. We wish you God’s very best in all your future endeavors!! We love you very much!!

Chris PetersenChristopher in clothes basketIt seems impossible that I have been a grandmother for twenty years now, but with this birthday, my first grandchild, Christopher Petersen turns twenty. We were so excited about his impending birth…and then he was here. Like his mother, he had arrived on his great grandmother’s birthday. There was excitement all around. As Christopher grew, we were treated to his smiling face, his cute little animal sounds, and his antics. He loved throwing all the clothes out of the clothes basket, and climbing in instead. Every time he did something new, he was so pleased with himself. Chris loved being the funny man. Still, as much as Chris liked the funny side of life, I can also tell you that Chris is a young man of deep feelings too. He is sensitive to the needs of other people, and he hates hurting anyone’s feelings.

Chris is very close to his parents, Corrie and Kevin Petersen, and his brother, Josh. Leaving home for college, while a great experience, has been hard of Chris too. He reminds me a lot of myself in that way, because I like living in the same place as my family. I know that doesn’t work out for everyone, but for me, and for Chris…we really wish it would. I can see Chris coming home after college, and opening his own restaurant. It has been a dream of his for some time now. College, for Chris, has been a means to an end. It remains to be seen, what kind of cuisine Chris will choose, but I think he has some ideas in mind, and he is a great chef!!

For Chris, there is no greater hobby than working on cars…especially hot cars. I think he gets that from his dad and both grandpas. Chris has a Camaro that he loves to work on, and whenever he is home from school, he, his brother, Josh, and their dad can be found out in the garage or in the front driveway working on their respective cars or trucks. It’s a great way for them to bond…and to have great cars too.

Kevin 2Grandma Schulenberg and ChristopherWith all that the guys do together, they still don’t forget about the one female in the family, my daughter, Corrie. I would love to say that they treat her like a princess, and really they do, but she has to be the most picked on princess ever, because they all love to tease her. That is something the boys learned from their dad, Kevin. They can tell you a story with a straight face, and make you believe it…or at least wonder. That is one of their best talents, and Chris is one of the best kidders. Today is Chris’ 20th birthday. I can’t believe it. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Chris PetersenThere is a time each year, when the kids are getting ready to head back to school. It is a different date for different places, and in most cases, the parents are pretty happy to have their kids back in the school routine. Some of the kids are happy about it too. I suppose it feels different when the kids are going to school in the town where they live, because they aren’t headed so far away that you won’t see them in the evening.

However, when they are off to college in another town, even if it is in the same state, there is a sense of lonliness that comes over parents, and grandparents who are used to seeing them often. That is how I am feeling today, because tomorrow, my oldest grandchild, Chris Petersen heads back to Sheridan to go to college for his second and final year. Yes, Sheridan isn’t that far from Casper, but this year, because he has a job and a Friday night class, he will only be home a few times, whereas last year, he came home most weekends, because he had a job here.

Just knowing that he will be staying in Sheridan most of the school year feels like he has moved as far away as my daughter Amy Royce, her husband Travis, and son, Caalab, who live in the Seattle area now. I have never been one to like change, and while I know that it is a part of life, I still find myself wishing that things would just stay the way they were. I know that for Chris’ parents, my daughter, Corrie Petersen, her husband, Kevin, and son Josh, tomorrow will be a very lonely day, as they drop Chris off at his dorm room, and head back home without him. They are such a close family, and this is just hard.

Nevertheless, as the new school year begins, they will have to face the facts that Chris is away again. It would be lovely we could all just teleport around the country. That way it wouldn’t matter where anyone lived, because we could see each other as often as we wanted. Since that is not to be, I guess we will all have to get used to the idea that for another school year, at least, Chris will be living in Sheridan and we will be here. I know that for his family…and for him it is going to feel like a long year. Sheridan College

Chris, I know this year will be a great one for you. It will be hard, but it is the culmination of all your hopes and dreams. You make us all so proud as you persue your dream of being the owner of a restaurant of your own someday. You are an amazing chef, and I know that you will be very successful in your future endeavours. So Chris, while we will miss you very much, I know that it is time for you to get back to work now. I know it will be an amazing year for you. Enjoy all of it, because before you know it, your college days will be over, and you will be in the working world like the rest of us. We love you very much.

Chris PetersenChris in bootsNineteen years ago today, I became a grandmother for the first time, when my daughter, Corrie, and her husband, Kevin Petersen gave me my first grandson, Chris Petersen. It was such an exciting time for me. It seemed like I had waited for this day for years. In reality, I was a young grandmother, not yet forty years old. Still, the wait for this little boy, and his cousin, seemed endless. Then suddenly, they were here and my world seemed so complete…until the rest of the grandbabies arrived anyway.

It seems impossible that so many years have passed so quickly and we are looking at a nineteen year old young man today. Chris is attending college in Sheridan, Wyoming studying the Culinary Arts, and plans to own his own restaurant someday. He is an excellent chef, who is the latest in a long line of chefs in his family. It is becoming quite a tradition, and one that Chris is proud to carry on into the next generation. College life takes Chris away from us for most of the school year, but thankfully he is still in Wyoming, and can come home on nice weekends. That doesn’t really make the rest of the time any easier on us, his family. We miss him very much. I am just thankful that his birthday fell on the weekend this year so he could come home to celebrate it on his day.

This birthday is even a little more special for Chris, since it was just two weeks ago that he had a car accident that could have been bad, but ended up good, in that all is well, and Chris is ok. We are beyond thankful that God’s angels had been given charge over Chris to keep him safe. While he was achy and bothered by recurring thoughts of the accident, he has no other ill side effects. The car was totaled, but it will be replaced. That is nothing really when compared to the life of my grandson. We will not dwell of the could have beens, because we know the reality of what was and is. Chris is still with us, and all is well. We rejoice in that fact. We praise God for His protection, and thank God for his life.

Chris is a young man with a healthy mix of responsibility and a fun sense of humor. He is a joy to be around. His Chris playing in the cupboardChristopher in clothes basketkindness runs deep, as do his feelings. He is sensitive to the feelings of others, almost to a fault, but that is a trait that blesses us deeply. He will continue to grow into a great man, who will live up to his full potential. His love of the Lord has increased exponentially this past year as he has stepped into the position of Spiritual Head of his own life. He takes that responsibility very seriously, making sure that his spirit is fed and continuously growing. I am so very proud of the young man he has become. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you very much!!

399974_2289421214007_1081992229_nAs my oldest grandson, Chris turns 17 years of age, I find myself wondering just where the years have gone. I was there when he was born, and I’m certain it was just last week. Now he has grown so tall and handsome. He has been driving by himself for a year now, and that has changed things for his whole family, as he picks up his brother, Josh from school and drives him to games and to school. Chris, having a driver’s license has changed a lot of things…but how could he already be 17 years old.

Recently, Chris has taken an interest in cooking, and is not only cooking at his job, but he likes to cook at home too. He likes to bake as well, and has brought cookies to those of us blessed enough to receive some of them. He has a natural talent for cooking, and I would have to say that he comes by it naturally. His dad, my son-in-law, Kevin is an excellent chef as well. It is a blessing for my daughter, Corrie, because she not only gets help in the kitchen sometimes, but she also gets some excellent food too.

Chris is planning to take some college classes in his senior year of high school, to get ahead of the game for college, where he plans to get a business degree. How in the world could that baby, who was born just a week ago, be talking about college already?? How could he be talking at all?? He should still be a baby, not almost a grown man. Nevertheless, here we are…at his 17th birthday, the baby is gone, and in his place stands a young man of whom I am very proud. And while I hate the fact that he is growing up so fast, I love the man he is becoming. He is a good man, who doesn’t get into trouble. He is a hard worker, who is determined to make something of himself. He is a good student, who works hard for his grades. He is a mechanic in training, under the watchful eye of his dad. And most of all, he is a good Christian man, who loves God, and that, is the most important thing of all.

Today my first grandchild turns 17 years old. I can hardly believe that day is here already, and I couldn’t possibly be more proud of him. Happy birthday Chris!! we are all so proud of all your accomplishments. Have a wonderful day!! We love you very much!!

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