She came for a week of mother/daughter quality time while my husband was out of town. I've often told myself that I won't be like she was, I will let my kids help me in the kitchen instead of relegating them to setting the table. It took me years to learn how to cook on my own. For this week, I was in charge of our dinners. Mom asked what she could do to help. In my little kitchen, little girls underfoot, I sighed. "How about setting the table?"

Jean Greaves


"Now, add a half-cup of cognac and flame it," my son, Eric, read from "The Silver Palate Goodtimes" cookbook as I prepared Christmas Eve dinner for 12 guests. As the recipe was for six, I was doubling all the ingredients.

After the fireman had extinguished the fire, dismantled the stove hood and sloshed back out into the snow, my husband returned the saved pot of chicken to the stove.

"What do I do next?" I asked. Eric read the next line, "When the flames subside . . . "

Geri Olson

Chevy Chase

Find a way to give insight into your life in under 100 words. Authors of selected entries will be notified and paid $100. Send text (accompanied by a home phone number) via e-mail (, fax (202-334-5587) or mail (Style, Life Is Short, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.)